Manufacturing News

SunDrive to scale up low-cost solar cell production

Manufacturing News

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $11 million in funding to innovative Australian solar technology company SunDrive Solar to expand its novel solar cell metallisation capabilities.

The company’s solar cell production capacity will rise from prototype scale of 1.5 MW/yr to commercial capacity of greater than 100 MW/yr.

SunDrive has previously received $3 million in ARENA funding to demonstrate its technology to the prototype scale.

SunDrive has developed a cell metallisation technology that uses copper which is 100x cheaper and 1,000x more abundant than commonly used silver.

Currently, silver accounts for approximately half the cost of converting a bare silicon wafer into a finished solar cell and solar manufacturing accounts for approximately 25 per cent of the world’s annual industrial silver consumption.

SunDrive has also pushed the performance of its technology beyond that achievable with silver by creating the world’s most efficient commercial-sized solar cell. The technology also has environmental benefits as copper is easier to recycle and is less carbon intensive in the manufacturing process.

SunDrive Solar has already produced a solar cell with an efficiency at turning sunlight into electricity for a commercial-size silicon solar cell of 25.54 per cent – a world record efficiency. It has also fabricated its first full size solar panels.

SunDrive Co-founder and CEO Vince Allen said: “To achieve net zero by 2050, we are going to need more advanced solar technologies.

“Today only one per cent of the world’s energy comes from solar and current technology is already at its limit in terms of cost efficiency and material scalability, and the use of silver is behind all three of these.

“With SunDrive’s breakthrough copper technology, these roadblocks can be overcome unlocking a new generation of solar technology.”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said it was crucial that scientists and researchers keep innovating and improving solar cells and module design.

Miller said: “SunDrive’s technology that replaces silver with copper is a potential game changer and highlights why now is the time to invest in technologies for our future economic success.”

Further reading:
SunDrive Solar produces world-record solar PV cell
SunDrive fabricates first ever full-size solar panel
Browse @AuManufacturing’s coverage of SunDrive Solar here.

Picture: ARENA

Share this Story
Manufacturing News

Stay Informed

Go to Top