25.54% Efficiency For Silicon Solar Cell

UNSW Graduates’ Founded Start-Up SunDrive Solar Achieves World’s Highest Power Conversion Efficiency For Commercial Size Silicon Solar Cell At 25.54%

25.54% Efficiency For Silicon Solar Cell

Germany’s ISFH has officially confirmed SunDrive having achieved 25.54% efficiency for commercial sized silicon solar cell, a feat that can lead to much cheaper solar modules. (Source: SunDrive Solar/Twitter)

  • SunDrive Solar has announced achieving 25.54% efficiency level for a commercial sized silicon solar cell
  • It uses copper instead of silver which makes it a potential candidate for cheaper solar modules of the future
  • Company said it also reduces solar cell thickness during the production process which helps save on material costs

What started as a ‘small PhD project in a garage’, a tech start-up from Australia has today grabbed the attention of the world at a time when efforts are being accelerated across the globe for the world to transition to a clean energy system, increasingly with help from low-cost solar PV technology.

Founders Vince Allen and David Hu have announced SunDrive Solar having achieved 25.54% power conversion efficiency for a commercial size silicon solar cell, the highest in the world today. The company announced this on its social media, but various media outlets were quick to make it a big story – that it is.

For comparison, Chinese integrated solar PV manufacturer LONGi Solar in June 2021 reported a record 25.26% efficiency for its commercial size monocrystalline heterojunction (HJT) solar cell (see LONGi Claims 3 New Cell Conversion Efficiency Records).

According to a Bloomberg report, SunDrive has received official word from the German Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH) for the record level efficiency. It has achieved the efficiency level using copper for the solar cell, replacing silver, which is found in abundance and at a much cheaper rate than silver.

Solar PV industry is said to be the world’s 20% total annual industrial silver consumer, and silver is an expensive metal.

SunDrive’s production process also reduces solar cell thickness to save on material costs while claiming to save on manufacturing costs and reduce environmental impact. What this high efficiency also means is that it would need less number of solar modules per installation, eventually lowering installation costs.

Finding the research work of SunDrive promising, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in October 2020 announced AUD 3 million in funding for the company to advance the commercial development of the low cost, high efficiency solar manufacturing process. Back then ARENA said SunDrive would be moving to Kirrawee in South Sydney to scale its operations and develop a small scale automated production line prototype.

Software billionaire from Australia Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie led Grok Ventures is also one of the investors in SunDrive. However, it remains to be seen how SunDrive plans to capitalize this opportunity to really start producing such solar modules on a mass scale. Allen and Hu shared with Bloomberg that they might form a partnership with one or more large manufacturers, and purchase partially complete solar cells, finishing them with the copper process.

Recently, TaiyangNews concluded Reliable PV Module Design Conference wherein speakers stressed on ensuring reliability for solar modules while the race to produce most efficient and cheap modules continues (see TaiyangNews Reliable PV Module Design Conference).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.Before joining our team, Anu worked in various positions at publications of the Times Group in New Delhi. As a Principal Correspondent, she conceptualized special features and supplements for both The Times of India and The Economic Times. While Anu delved deep into solar at TaiyangNews, environment topics have been close to her heart before. As Assistant Editor, she was responsible for launching Planet Earth for The Economic Times, a special series on environment. Before joining the Times Group, Anu was a Copy Editor at the Hindustan Times.Anu holds a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Rajasthan. She also studied at the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi on E-Outreach: New Media Technologies for Advocacy and Strategic Communication, Social Media

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