Solar power rapidly becomes the go-to choice for clean, renewable energy worldwide. The reason is simple: it’s a reliable and sustainable way to generate electricity. And as technology has improved, so too has the efficiency and productivity of solar panels. This blog post will explore how solar panels have become more effective and productive.
Improved Cell Efficiency
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The efficiency of these cells has improved dramatically over the past decade. In 2010, the average efficiency of solar panels was around 15%. Today, the most efficient solar panels can reach efficiencies of up to 23%. This means they can generate more electricity from the same amount of sunlight, making them more productive.
The key to this improvement in efficiency is the development of new materials and manufacturing techniques. For example, manufacturers use thinner silicon wafers, which allow more sunlight to be absorbed, and passivated emitter rear cells (PERC), which reduce the energy lost to heat. They also use materials like perovskite, which can be printed onto a substrate and offer even higher efficiencies than traditional silicon cells.
Solar panels must be durable to withstand the elements for years. Previously, the materials used to make solar panels weren’t always up to the task. However, improvements in materials science have made solar panels more durable than ever.
One of the key developments has been the use of tempered glass, which is much stronger than the traditional glass used in solar panels. This makes the panels more resistant to hail, wind, and other extreme weather conditions. Manufacturers also use new adhesives and encapsulants to protect the cells from moisture and other environmental factors, increasing their lifespan.
Not every roof or installation site is the same, so solar panels must be flexible. This has been a challenge in the past, as solar panels were typically rigid and had to be installed at a fixed angle. However, newer solar panels are more flexible, so they can be installed on a broader range of locations and angles.
For example, some manufacturers make panels that can be bent up to 30 degrees without affecting their performance. This makes them ideal for installation on curved roofs or other non-standard locations. Other manufacturers are making panels that can be installed directly onto roofing material, eliminating the need for mounting hardware altogether.
The cost is one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread adoption of solar power. However, over the past decade, the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically. The cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 80% since 2010, making it more cost-competitive with traditional energy sources.
The reasons for this drop in cost are many. For one, the manufacturing process has become more streamlined, reducing the cost of production. Additionally, there’s been increased competition among manufacturers, which has driven prices down. Finally, government subsidies and tax credits have helped make solar power more affordable for homeowners and businesses.
Solar panels have come a long way over the past decade, becoming more effective and productive. Solar power is now a viable option for many applications with improved cell efficiency, increased durability, greater flexibility, and lower cost. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect even greater advances in the years to come.