Australian start-up collections 25.54% performance record for silicon cell

Sep 10, 2021 01:34 PM ET
  • Australian start-up SunDrive has actually created the most effective commercial-sized silicon solar cell in the world, achieving an effectiveness number of 25.54% in screening accomplished by the Institute for Solar Energy Research Study in Germany.
Australian start-up collections 25.54% performance record for silicon cell
Image: SunDrive

Sydney-based solar innovation start-up SunDrive has actually shaken the status quo, creating a silver-free solar PV cell and also at the same time boosting the globe performance record for a commercial-size silicon solar cell to 25.54%.

SunDrive introduced on Thursday evening it had obtained official word from Germany's Institute for Solar power Research Study (ISFH) confirming it had actually set a world record for the effectiveness at which its solar cells convert sunshine to electricity.

" SunDrive has actually formally established a new globe record for a business size silicon solar cell," the company posted on social networks.

" A honored turning point for the group that functioned incredibly hard to attain this."

The result is a major shake-up for the sector with China-based solar cell makers topping the performance records over the last few years. Production gigantic Longi Solar held the previous leading mark for a commercial-size monocrystalline hetero-junction (HJT) solar cell, attaining 25.26% throughout screening at ISFH previously this year.

While SunDrive commemorated the world record, the firm's technology-- which changes the expensive silver used in traditional solar cells with the less expensive and a lot more abundant copper-- could have better ramifications, possibly lowering the production cost of solar PV panels.

Silver is a core component in today's solar panels. It is approximated solar panel production represent around 20% of the world's annual usage of the rare-earth element, with the quantity anticipated to increase considerably as the future generation of high-efficiency cells presently being created require approximately 3 times much more silver than their antecedents.

SunDrive's option, created by chief executive Vince Allen during his PhD at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, has actually been to replace the precious metal with copper.

Copper does not have the same very conductive buildings as silver and also does not stick well to the surface of the solar cell however Allen, who along with former flatmate David Hu started SunDrive in 2015, has actually discovered an option. As well as a lot more inexpensive one.

" Things about copper is that it's really bountiful as well as usually concerning 100 times cheaper than silver," Allen stated.

Allen claimed searching for extra budget friendly and also a lot more plentiful products forms as a stumbling block for the solar industry if it is to expand as anticipated.

" We're only at the really early stages of where the industry can be with only 3% of the globe's electricity presently originating from solar," he said.

" If we wish to get to 50, 60, 70% as well as past, we're mosting likely to require a great deal more solar cells and that's a substantial difficulty."

Allen has formerly said SunDrive's purpose is to create the cells locally, positive that they can take on big solar makers in Asia while safeguarding their copyright.

"The industry today is at a point where the land and work expenses are coming to be less and also less substantial in the total price of production ... clearly it does imply that we require to a minimum of match that similar level of automation and throughput, yet we do see opportunity to do it in Australia," he stated.

Hu has said the company's initial focus would certainly be the rooftop field, proclaiming it the ideal place for SunDrive's technology to participate in the market due to the fact that the limited space enables the most effective solar cells to radiate the brightest, producing more power for each square foot.

The firm has actually already drawn in assistance from the sector, with the Australian Renewable Resource Firm (ARENA) giving $3 million in moneying to help scale its manufacturing process.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, among Australia's wealthiest people, has backed the startup via his Grok Ventures, investor funds Blackbird has actually likewise provided backing while previous Suntech principal Shi Zhengrong was SunDrive's first angel investor.