Solar Developments That Will Make Your Wallet Even Happier
As the U.S. government provides generous funding to renewable energy research and development, solar photovoltaic (solar PV) developers work hard on breakthroughs that will make the price of solar power truly competitive. How so? By using electricity derived from coal without any incentives or tax credits that currently help make solar such an appealing choice.
As the price of panels drop, your solar PV installation will “pay for itself” even faster, as your monthly payments (still much lower than your current electric bill) for your solar installation drop or the length of the loan decreases.
Thin-film solar panels seem to be the most promising of highly efficient solar technology, and several companies are in the thin-film race. But there are other new technologies worth talking about, as well. Let’s look a quick look at some of the new developments that are already here or on their way in the world of solar PV panel manufacturing:
SCHOTT Thin-Film Solar Panels
SCHOTT Solar’s Thin-Film solar panels lower costs for solar PV arrays in a number of ways:
- The multicrystalline solar PV cells can be manufactured on a large-scale basis, reducing production costs.
- The cells have an efficiency of 17.6%, almost twice the efficiency of conventional panels.
- Because the cells are thinner and lighter than conventional solar PV panels, installation is faster, easier and less expensive.
Moser Baer India, Ltd. MIST
On January 23rd, New Delhi, India-based solar PV panel manufacturer Moser Baer announced Metal and Intrinsic layer Semiconductor Technology (MIST), which could increase thin-film solar PV cell efficiencies by as much as 21 percent. Don’t expect lower prices on this technology, however. In a release published at SolarServer.com, the company revealed it would charge “premium pricing” for the technology to permit higher profit margins. Customers will still come out ahead, since more efficient technology means fewer panels to do the same job and lower electric bills.
Santa Barbara, Calif. solar PV manufacturer HyperSolar is taking a different approach to improved efficiency, using low-cost manufacturing processes to create a solar concentrator that sits on top of current solar PV cells. This concentrator improves the efficiency of the cell by increasing how much usable irradiance (the sun’s rays) hits each cell. A “photonics thermal management system” will, simultaneously, keep unusable parts of the solar spectrum from heating the cell to the point of efficiency loss. The thin acrylic sheets will be available to magnify the sun’s rays by two, three, or four times. This technology may be especially desireable for solar early adopters who wish to improve the efficiency of older solar PV arrays, or for anyone interested in getting the most bang for their solar buck.