Solar energy is the most abundant, yet underused, renewable resource readily available on Earth. On average, the Earth receives roughly 173 trillion watts of power every second. That is around 10,000 times larger the entire Earth’s energy consumption. However, this wholly renewable and highly accessible resource is not efficiently harnessed. Though there are companies that provide solar and government incentives, people are still reluctant to shift. It is due to the high cost of conversion and the level of energy conversion efficiency of many solar panels.
Why is solar panel efficiency important?
Solar panel efficiency has long been a challenge for manufacturers of photovoltaic panels. According to statistics, commercial solar panels are only 11-15% efficient in converting solar energy into electricity. Sunpower has managed to develop photovoltaic panels that 25.2% efficiency, which is an industry record. So, why is efficiency in solar panels important? Here are some of the reasons why.
Cost-efficient – Solar panels are not cheap things to buy. It’s for this reason that many people are still reluctant to start the shift to renewable energy. People are afraid they won’t get a return on their investment, especially with the current efficiency rate of commercial solar panels sold in the markets today.
Space efficient – When solar panels are inefficient, you need a lot of panels to get the desired energy output. However, when efficient solar panels are used, you don’t need the same area size to generate a target output. As a result, you save space and also give you the chance to add more panels to your solar energy system.
Sustainable production – High efficiency means fewer materials needed for solar panel production. It means less environmental impact in the manufacturing of these panels as fewer materials are required. If people started to use solar energy by using highly-efficient energy converting panels, then it is the start of a paradigm shift in energy consumption.
What are the factors that may affect the efficiency of solar cells?
A host of factors determines solar cell efficiency. Though the materials used to make the solar cells is a significant factor, there are environmental aspects that may affect the efficiency of energy conversion in your solar panel installation. Here are the significant factors that determined the efficiency of solar power systems.
Materials used – The primary factor that determines solar cell efficiency are the materials used to produce the panels. As of today, the most efficient solar cells use monocrystalline, pure silicon. Though this is much more expensive than other photovoltaic cells, this kind of solar panels is now available in the market.
Environmental factors – Shade and other factors that limit or lessen the intensity of sunlight will affect the performance and efficiency of solar cells. It is why when installing solar panels, they must be placed in an open area, preferably without trees or neighbouring buildings. Climate is another factor that affects the efficiency of solar cells.
Aside from climate, the sun’s position in the sky is importance as well. In areas above or below the equator, like in Australia, the sun is not directly overhead, so adjustments must be made. Solar cells are installed so that they are oriented towards the sun.
Deterioration rate – As with all metal compounds, solar panels will deteriorate. In time, the cells will suffer the impact of the elements and will degrade. Compromised photovoltaic cells gradually lose its efficiency and therefore experience a reduced capability of generating energy. The deterioration rate depends mainly on the materials used and the manufacturing quality of the solar company that produced the solar cell.
Level of maintenance – Another major factor that affects the energy conversion efficiency of solar panels is the maintenance it receives. Solar companies will regularly provide maintenance services for its customers. However, there are cases where solar panels are not maintained well enough.
Benefits of using high-efficiency solar panels
It can be argued that solar energy is the next big thing in the energy world. With the continued developments in solar power technology, it is just a matter of time before people finally make the change to renewable energy. However, as of today, it is essential to underline the benefits for people using solar energy.
Freedom from the grid – The main benefit of using solar energy aside from its eco-friendly properties, is that you’ll be free from your dependence to the grid. If you opt to shift to solar energy, you’ll generate electricity on your own and in time could be entirely independent of the grid.
More significant savings – Because you’re depending on sunlight, you’ll won’t run out of it any time soon. Instead of paying bills for energy consumption, solar panels will allow you to save money for other purposes. Savings will also come from the tax cuts and incentives provided by many governments all over the world, including Australia. You need to ask your solar panel provider on what incentives you can get when shifting to solar energy.
Increased home value – Solar panels are almost all permanent features in your home once installed. So, the home value will increase considerably with a solar energy system. You’ll find it a pleasant surprise how much value is added to your home, once you’ve installed solar energy. So, if you’re planning to increase the value of your home in hopes to sell it big, then instead of adding aesthetics, why not install a solar unit instead.