"Australian solar innovator SunDrive is a step closer to realising its vision
of producing 5GW of modules a year, after securing an $11 million grant to
scale up its solar cell production line to a commercial level.
Federal Labor announced on Wednesday that it was making an $11 million
investment in the Sydney-based SunDrive through the Australian Renewable Energy
Agency as part of its mission to drive production of ultra low-cost solar.
SunDrive, established by CEO Vince Allen during his PhD at UNSW and backed by
high profile investors including Mike Cannon-Brookes, is developing a
technology that uses copper for PV cell metallisation, instead of silver.
This novel approach aims to further cut the costs of making solar panels, given
that copper is around one hundred times cheaper and one thousand times more
abundant than silver.
The company says the metals swap will result in an installed cost of solar that
is 20-30% cheaper than other high-efficiency cells.
Arena says the funding announced this week will go towards the expansion of
SunDrive’s technology from prototype scale, or 1.5MW a year, to commercial
capacity of more than 100MW a year.
The $33.6 million scale-up will mean SunDrive can make enough copper metallised
PV cells for around 15,000 household solar systems each year. It will also see
the company boost its staff numbers to around 100 people by the end of the year
at their manufacturing facility in Sydney’s south."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics