Solar Start-Up SunDrive, Founded in Maroubra, Sets New World Record

SunDrive, the solar company established by two innovative UNSW graduates at a Maroubra garage, has set a new world record for efficiency which was previously held for years by Longi Green Energy Technology Co, a solar power giant from China. 

In a post on Twitter, SunDrive announced a new world record of 25.54 percent efficiency for a commercial-size silicon solar cell. Its claim was tested by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamlin, Germany and acknowledged by China’s PV-Tech

Cannon-Brookes also confirmed SunDrive’s big news on Twitter.

“This little Aussie startup just set the world record for panel efficiency,” he wrote. “This is a big deal on the world stage – and it came from some super smart people in a small Sydney garage. Copper is the way.” 

The next move for SunDrive is to prove that their invention could be mass-produced affordably whilst retaining reliability and efficiency.

Formed by Vince Allen and David Hu in 2015, SunDrive has developed as a more cost-efficient solar cell, using copper instead of silver. The company has since received support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes to upgrade its operations.  

“It’s fantastic to see an Australian solar startup at the forefront of producing the next generation of high-efficiency solar cells,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said after announcing its support for SunDrive.

“Through technological innovations from startups like SunDrive, Australia will remain at the forefront of solar innovation and research and development for years to come.” 

“With ARENA’s support, we feel incredibly proud to be in a position to contribute to Australia’s rich heritage of advancing solar cell technology. With this project we have an opportunity in Australia to lead the world in creating the best version of next-generation solar cells,” Allen said. 

“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.”