Solar panels more efficient and effective than ever
The company SunDrive Solar has managed to outperform China in solar power after seven years of work. The Australian startup has created the world’s most efficient photovoltaic cells using copper.
Replace silver with copper
Vince Allen, founder of SunDrive Solar, has broken the world record for photovoltaic cell efficiency. Allen has done what every other lab and major company has tried and failed: replace silicon and silver with copper. Tested at the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Germany, the cells showed an efficiency of 25.54%.The last record was held by a Chinese company, Longi Green Energy Technology, with an efficiency of 25.26%, according to Numerama.
Silver is a rare and very expensive material, approaching $960,000 per ton. Copper, on the other hand, is more abundant and is sold at much lower prices on the market, at about $11,800 per ton.
“The thing about copper is that it’s very abundant and usually about 100 times cheaper than silver,” Allen says.
Also, if the company succeeds in producing this technology in larger quantities, it would reduce the cost of solar panels and make the solar energy industry much less dependent on scarce materials like silver.
“We are only at the very early stage of what the industry can be, with only 3% of the world’s electricity coming from solar. […] If we want to get to 50,60,70% and beyond, we’ll need a lot more photovoltaic cells and that’s a huge challenge.” – Vince Allen, PV Magazine.
From a garage company to a world-renowned company
In 2015, Vince Allen and David Hu created the company SunDrive Solar as part of their PhD. For much of the work, the two students used their garage as a development workshop for their project.
Therefore, the aim of their project is essentially to accelerate the development of photovoltaic cells in Australia. Vince Allen sees this project as a major challenge.
“Today, the industry is at a point where land and labor costs are becoming less and less important in the total cost of manufacturing. Obviously, that means we need to achieve a similar level of automation and throughput, but we see the opportunity to do it in Australia.” – Vince Allen, PV Magazine.
Now all that remains to be seen is whether the company, the new world record holder, will be able to take this project to an industrial scale.
Credits : SunDrive, andreas160578 from Pixabay.
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