If you will pardon the pun, the race to advance solar energy technology and reduce costs is heating up. In fact, the solar energy production cost dropped 82% over ten recent years. It’s amazing to think how much closer we are to switching to solar in 2021.
The driving force behind this news lies with the latest solar panel technology. Scientists continue discovering new applications for solar panels in daily use.
So, what are these advances, and what do they mean for us, the consumer? Keep reading to learn more about the leaps occurring in solar panel technology.
The Material World of Solar
The early stages of solar panel technology relied on a single material. Polysilicon is the raw material for making wafer-shaped solar cells.
But, solar energy technology is not immune to post-pandemic issues with supply chains. Like most industries, the transport of production materials has seen massive delays.
The good news is, there is new solar panel technology emerging as the better solution. First, scientists have developed “thin-film” solar cells called cadmium telluride. Second, the process of blending copper and zinc ore to form cells is far less costly than polysilicon.
Unfortunately, the efficiency rate of the material is much lower. But, there are distinct advantages to thin film. First, it takes fewer materials to manufacture.
Second, the pliable product has more applicable uses to a wide range of surfaces. One other advantage is it doesn’t overheat as fast or as much as silicon.
Changes in solar panel technology do not end there either. A crystal construct called Perovskite is a thin-film cell that coats other materials. Working like paint, the possibilities for this type of solar energy are limitless. Perovskite also has a higher efficiency reading like silicon cells.
Besides increasing efficiency, researchers are also working to improve the look of solar panel technology. By reducing cells to particles, scientists can make solar energy applicable almost anywhere.
The New Aesthetic in Solar Energy
One of the drawbacks of solar energy has been the way it affects the landscape. Giant solar fields and traditional rooftop panels are less pleasing to the eye. However, the latest solar panel technology is addressing those concerns.
Reservoirs and dams are now locations for floating solar farms. This not only saves valuable landmass usage. The cooling effect of water also helps the solar panels maintain peak efficiency.
Another development in solar panel technology is BIPV. Building-integrated photovoltaics allow solar panels to become part of the architecture. Panels become roofs, facades, and even canopies to blend with structures.
Solar energy is also integrated into infrastructure such as barrier walls on highways. Serving two functions, the walls act as noise barriers and energy sources for light the road.
But, the possibilities don’t end there. Innovative ideas are emerging for solar skins and solar fabric. The solar skins are like the technology for vehicle wraps. Soon, solar panel technology will offer the customer options for images.
For example, solar roofs can then project pictures made from absorbent solar material. This is an exciting development that solar companies are watching closely.
Keep Your Eye on the Latest Solar Panel Technology
The evolution of solar panel technology is getting more exciting every day. But, beyond that, scientists are also developing solar fabric. Imagine having solar energy sewn into your clothing. You could have enough power to charge your cellphone while you walk.
Switching to solar power is becoming more of a reality. But, the latest solar energy technology advances are only the tip of the iceberg. So, keep your eye on solar energy. And, if you enjoyed reading this article, keep coming back for more informative pieces.