In what ways solar panels are becoming more efficient?
- Both sides of the solar cell are used
- Cells are more tightly packed on the panels
- Improved textures, materials, and antireflective coatings
You have probably heard or read about how solar panels are not at all effective at converting the energy of the sun to electricity. This statement has always been used by those who are critical of solar technology, saying how installing solar panels here in the Philippines does not live up to its potential.
All of these are simply untrue. There is a reason why solar is one of the fastest-growing new sources of energy. In fact, millions of homeowners all around the world have already installed solar panels in their homes. Today, solar energy is mature and ready enough to power the grid and our homes.
This is not to say that there is no longer room for improvement, however. While it’s true that the most efficient solar panels that are commercially available can reliably convert about 24% of the energy of the sun, it is also true that traditional solar cells that are silicon-based only have a maximum theoretical efficiency of 30%.
New technologies are being developed to take the efficiency of these panels up to 50% and more; some of them are only a few years away from being commercially available. To provide more explanation, here are 3 ways solar panels are becoming more efficient:
Both sides of the solar cell are used
Most standard solar panels use a black or white ‘backsheet’ to provide a sturdy backing layer to attach the solar cells. But recently, panels that are being manufactured are clear on both sides—allowing them to absorb light from both sides.
This new technology is sometimes called “Bifacial,” which means that both sides of the solar cell can absorb light.
Cells are packed more tightly packed on the panels
Have you ever noticed white, empty spaces between the cells and along the edges of a solar panel? These white spaces you see are actually wasted solar panel area.
The corners of the solar cells are cut off which leaves empty spaces. Today, solar cell manufacturers are finding new ways to reduce the gaps or eliminate it altogether. Essentially, this would allow the cells to produce more power.
Improved textures, materials, and antireflective coatings
The next time you come across a solar panel, take note of its coloration. If the color of one of the cells in a solar panel is slightly off, this might indicate poor quality.
One of the few indicators of a solar panel’s quality and the ability to produce power is the consistency of the color of the cells. Solar engineers are now developing more consistent manufacturing processes to improve the efficiency of a solar panel.
While the technology for solar panels has been around for over 150 years, it is still being developed—albeit faster than before. Solar panels are becoming more efficient, smarter, and cheaper. For homeowners, the choices for solar energy solutions have never been more diverse.
Solar technology has continued to improve at a breakneck pace. Mass production and swift solar panel installation here in the Philippines have made it more appealing as a financial investment, paving the way for the next great leap in technology!