Since the debut of solar power in 1960, the solar Photovoltaics were seen as the future, but technology advancement today has positioned the solar industry for huge growth. There are a few developments the industry is experiencing. Scientists have been experimenting with solar technology in a bid to improve efficiency and lower costs.
By succeeding, solar panels would not only become accessible which would reduce the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere. In the meantime, the best way to reduce the amount of money you spend on power is to use Simply Switch to find the lowest power rates in your locality.
Solar cell technology advancement
Solar cells are the blood life of solar systems, and for the longest time, researches have worked to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. A single PV array is comprised of hundreds, sometimes thousands of solar cells. Each of these cells individually converts sun rays into electric current. But there has been a problem.
On average, the solar cells are approximately 15% efficient, which means they only convert 15% of the sun’s rays that hit their surface. 85% is lost! Scientists have been experimenting with this to boost light capture and conversion. The result has been light-sensitive nanoparticles that were discovered by scientists in Toronto.
The colloidal quantum dot is believed to offer less expensive but more flexible material for solar cells that can work outdoor. This is impressive, considering the previous designs could not work outdoor. Panels that use this new technology were found to be at least eight percent more efficient at light conversion.
However, researches in London, believe they have discovered a new solar material that could make solar systems almost three times more efficient. The cells are called “triple junction cells”. They can be chemically altered in a way that makes them capture more sunlight making them more efficient.
Energy storage advancement
Scientists are also working to find a new way to store the electric current produced by the solar panels. Currently, you either use all the power you generate, or you lose it. The alternative has been to send the unused power to the grid and earn credit points. Even after being sent to the grid, the power must be used immediately, or it will be lost.
The sun does not shine 24 hours, which means the solar panels are only meeting a portion of the day. Majority of the power produced is, thus, lost. There are batteries in the market that store power, but even the most high-tech are not efficient enough, and they are expensive to acquire. Their shelf life is short, but utility companies and consumers have had no option but to use them.
Molten salt storage technology uses organic salts to transfer energy into solar thermal using liquid rather than oil. This means that operate temperature of 500 degrees Celsius can be supported, which in turn supports higher power output.
Solar panel with built-in battery technology by the US department of energy in Ohio State University announced that the technology was 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper. The secret is in having a reachable battery in the solar panel itself as opposed to operating as two separate entities.
Solar technology is not where it used to be, and as scientists continue to experiment, things can only get better as solar cell manufacturing technology advances.