Solar panels are as unquestionably efficient as their source, which is the sun and its rays. Solar energy, unlike traditional fossil fuel energy, is renewable. It occurs in nature, which cannot be depleted like fossil fuel. It is efficient also because it is dependable, affordable, easily distributed, and simple to connect to current grids. Long-term electricity rates can also be fixed, which enables the user to control it even if the prices of utilities go up.
Per construction design, PV modules can give out electricity according to the frequencies of light. In that case, solar modules waste energy from sunlight. But their efficiency can be much more elevated if they are illuminated with monochromatic light. As explained by the experts of Solar Panels Adelaide, splitting the light into various wavelength and by directing the beams to different cells, efficiency can be further enhanced by 50%! Scientists at Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing company, developed solar cells with an efficiency of more than 40%. This is considered a world record in the solar PV industry. These scientists also predicted that concentrator solar cells may even exceed 45 or 50% efficiency in the coming years.
It is also quite encouraging that the already high-level of efficiency of solar panels at 200-220 watts and between 20 and 30 percent and 1 KW at approximately 29 cents can be further increased. One way is by using gold nanoparticles. Another is by reconfiguring the connection of solar panels to their power converter from sending the electrical current through many solar panels to a single converter.
At present, the highest sunlight conversion rate or the highest solar module efficiency is placed at 21.5% as new commercial products, which is generally lower in efficiency when compared with their cells in isolation. The most efficient mass-produced solar modules to-date have a power density of only up to 175 watts per minute. A research conducted by the London Imperial College revealed that the efficiency of a solar panel may also be raised by filling its light-absorbing semiconductor surface with aluminum nanocylinders. This benefit of using nanocylinders was earlier mentioned. These nanocylinders are similar to the familiar ridges of Lego blocks. When scattered sunlight moves along a longer path in the semiconductor, more protons can be absorbed and converted into energy or electricity.
The research found that the scattering of light happened in the near infrared part and that visible light was more strongly absorbed. The researchers theorized that aluminum absorbed the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum and that the visible and near infrared parts of the spectrum were scattered by the aluminum surface. It concluded that the scientific phenomenon could significantly reduce energy cost as well as raise efficiency because aluminum occurs more abundantly in nature and is cheaper than either gold or silver. A further conclusion made by the research was that the increase in energy made thinner film solar panels more technically preferable. It does not adversely affect the efficiency level of power conversion and therefore also decreases material use.
To know more about the efficiency of solar cells, read here.