SunDrive in funding overdrive on way to making solar cells

Technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has joined the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in backing solar cell manufacturing start-up SunDrive Solar which is aiming to make a new breed of cheaper, more efficient solar cells.

Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures and Blackbird Ventures have invested $5 million into Wollongong, NSW based SunDrive which was founded by UNSW graduates Vince Allen and David Hu (pictured) in 2015.

This joins ARENA’s $3 million in funding which will also scale the pair’s technology up from an industrial sized cell to a commercial size module that could be used on household rooftops.

In 2019, SunDrive successfully fabricated such a solar cell and in doing so made the most efficient industrial-size solar cell ever created in Australia.

According to ARENA SunDrive is also moving to Kirrawee in South Sydney to scale its operations, and intends to expand its team to include 10 additional staff.

SunDrive CEO Vince Allen said: “With this project we have an opportunity in Australia to lead the world in creating the best version of next generation solar cells.

“Our goal is to use the learnings from this project to bring to life a superior solar technology, creating new local industries which can compete on the global stage.

“With only 3 per cent of world electricity coming from solar today, there is still so much innovation that must occur.”

SunDrive initially aims to use its technology to focus on the rooftop solar sector, where space is at a premium and higher efficiency cells can produce greater amounts of energy for a given footprint.

Picture: Vince Allen and David Hu

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