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Why didn't anyone think of that before?Key points:
An Australian solar company has created the world's most efficient commercial-sized solar cell
The company uses copper instead of silver to manufacture their solar cells because it is cheaper and more abundant
Sundrive chief executive Vince Allen says the certified record puts Australia back at the forefront of solar cell manufacturing
Mr Allen and his company's co-founder David Hu are passionate about pursuing a method of building solar cells that do not use silver.
Currently, 15 per cent of the world's industrial silver consumption goes into making solar cells.
It is an expensive and finite resource and one Mr Allen has shunned in favour of copper.
"I think what's more significant than achieving the world record is we've been able to do it without silver," Mr Allen said.
"If you look at the commercial solar cells today and the last few world-record commercial-sized solar cells, there's a strong correlation between efficiency and silver consumption. We've effectively broken that trend using copper."
Copper is 100 times cheaper than silver, there is much more of it and it also requires lower processing temperatures, meaning less energy consumption.
Mr Allen says the practical efficiency limit of a commercial-sized solar cell is about 27 per cent, meaning the technology is getting close to its efficiency limit.
"We see ourselves as having a technology that will help the industry grow to its next stage with more efficient silicon solar cells and we see an opportunity to be at the forefront of the next solar adoption wave," he said.