With more and more businesses and households shifting to solar-powered systems, the competition in the solar energy market competition is as stiff as ever. Even the biggest polluters in the world, China and India, are leading the charge in solar power development. As such, there has been significant progress in developing solar energy, and the recent news of achieving a 39.7% solar cell efficiency is considered a game-changer. But what exactly does this value mean for households and businesses using solar power?
What is Solar Cell Efficiency?
When comparing the performance of one solar cell to another, people use efficiency as the critical parameter. Efficiency is calculated by determining the ratio of energy output from the solar cell to the total energy input coming from the sun. Aside from being a good indicator of the solar cell’s performance, the efficiency values can also provide information regarding the solar cell’s temperature and the sunlight’s intensity.
To effectively compare solar cell efficiency, it’s essential to control the conditions under which the solar cells operate. For instance, terrestrial solar cells should be measured under AM1.5 conditions and at a temperature of 25°C, while solar cells intended for space use should be measured under AM0 conditions.
Why are Solar Cells Important?
Solar cells are important in determining the efficiency and effectiveness of a solar-powered system. In order to convert sunlight into energy, solar panels are installed on the roof of the building. These panels are devices that absorb and convert light before turning it into electricity. While the light source doesn’t exclusively have to be the sun, solar panels were named as such because the sun is usually the most powerful light source present.
A solar panel is made up of a collection of solar cells. A single solar cell can only produce minimal power, so a solar panel fixes that disadvantage by putting many solar cells together. The solar cells are spread over a large surface so that they can work together to generate enough energy that can power up an entire household or business.
Solar cells and panels are also utilized in space. Since the more light that hits a cell, the greater power it can produce, spacecraft are generally equipped with solar panels that stay directed at the sun regardless of the ship’s position. This strategy ensures that the panels always receive sunlight to keep as stock energy and use if ever necessary.
Is an Efficiency Rating of 39.7% Good?
Solar panel effectiveness strongly depends on solar cell efficiency. Say you have two solar panels installed on the same roof with the same amount of sunlight to absorb. If one of them has an efficiency rating of 21% while the other only has a 14% rating, the more efficient panel will end up generating up to 50% more kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity given the same working conditions. This shows just how important solar cell efficiency is in maximizing the power that can be produced, not to mention lowering energy bills.
Scientists have been trying to find ways to increase solar cell efficiency through the years, and the 39.7% efficiency rating is the highest they’ve achieved so far. To put things into perspective, the most efficient solar panels available in the market right now boast a 22.8% rating. The difference between efficiency is undoubtedly a huge factor towards better energy generation, faster power conversion rates, and lower operational costs.
A Final Word for Homeowners Looking to Go Solar
It certainly is an exciting time for solar energy now that scientists are achieving breakthroughs in maximizing solar technology. However, it is important to note that solar cell efficiency isn’t all you should think about when going solar.
There are several other factors that play a key part in solar panel effectiveness. First, the panels have to be made of top-tier material to make sure most of the light absorbed can be converted to electricity. Next, the organization of wires on a solar panel can prove to be crucial in the conversion process, as incorrect installation can lead to lost transfers. Finally, positioning the solar panels is of utmost importance, as any obstructions can reflect light away and considerably lower efficiency.
To avoid any of the issues previously mentioned, it is highly recommended to hire professional services for solar installations. Yorkshire Roofing is one of the most trusted contractors in northern California, and can definitely provide you with quality solar products and services including installations and repairs. It’s important to hire a contractor that specializes in solar roofing to ensure that they really know what they’re doing, and Yorkshire Roofing is a known expert in solar technology.