The latest generation of highly efficient solar cell technology developed at the University of New South Wales is now reportedly closer to being produced at scale across Australia after it received a grant of over $3 million from ARENA.

SunDrive Solar, an Australian solar cell developing startup, would reportedly be awarded the new funding of $3 million by ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency). The award would greatly help the company in its mission to raise $9 million for manufacturing a commercial-size PV module, using the new solar cells, to be used on household rooftops.

The firm, which is shifting its operations from Wollongong to Kirrawee, South Sydney to scale up, is also developing an automated small-scale production line prototype, with its eventual aim being the production of the technology in Australia.

The startup’s technology essentially replaces the increasing utilization of silver in the solar cells, which is a major obstacle that is limiting the wider adoption of next-generation technologies. The new technology uses copper instead of silver, which is comparatively cheaper and can be more readily sourced.

SunDrive CEO, Vince Allen originally developed this technology while pursuing a Ph.D. at the UNSW. In 2015, Vince Allen founded SunDrive together with David Hu, his roommate during his undergraduate studies.

The company, through this funding, will now add 10 more employees to its team. The startup also aims to enhance its manufacturing efficiencies with an simpler production process as well as solar cells that are much more thinner and need less silicon to produce.

Allen stated that, under the project, the company has a tremendous opportunity to effectively lead the globe in producing the best version of new generation solar cells in Australia.

Allen further added that the company’s primary aim is to leverage the experience from this project to develop a superior solar technology, creating novel local industries that can compete on a global level.