Since 1829, the moment when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered that electricity could be generated from sunlight, the solar industry has come a long way. 5kW solar systems can provide the equivalent of $500 of quarterly energy bills of electricity in good conditions. All while reducing the use of fossil fuels.
More residences in Australia than ever before have installed solar power, as this technology is more affordable and trusted.
Still, like all technology, solar panels do have limitations. But these limitations have inspired almost every manufacturer in the industry to invest in searching for more ways to create more efficient solar panels. So that more people can enjoy the benefit of clean renewable solar energy.
So where are we in the race for the most efficient solar panels? And how much do we currently understand?
The Current State of Research
We’ve secured a clear spot in the race in the research as a country.
A team of 14 Australian researchers from the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales have found a potential game-changer for solar panels in the creation of a more resistant highly-efficient solar cell. Which they did in partnership with the British research team at Oxford PV.
Perovskite, a material that has undergone a lot of research for future solar panels, was found to be more resistant to degradation with just the addition of a glass and rubber coating. This finding in May 2020 was a world first in passing three of the degradation tests that solar panels undergo; thermal cycling, damp-heat, and humidity freeze. All with relatively in-expensive materials.
It’s not the only research for more efficient solar panels that has come to light, with labs in the UK, US, and India also focussing on the development of perovskite-based solar cells. Therefore, it’s a topic that holds a lot of attention for a glance of what solar panels may look like in the future.
The Next Generation of Solar Panels Will Likely Be Perovskite
Solar systems today are made with PV cells made from silicon, but one day that will all change.
The most efficient solar cells in the future will be made with the mineral perovskite. A semi-conductive material that can be used as thinner and more flexible crystals in solar modules.
Much of the research into more efficient solar cells has been focused on the mineral perovskite as it offers a lot of promise. It currently has been proven to be able to produce 25% solar efficiency, something that took many decades of research for silicon to do the same. However, the problem is that material as it stands at the moment is not as resistant as silicon to the harsh weather elements.
There also has not yet been enough research to prove that it can stand up to 25 long years on a rooftop.
Perovskite – When Will It Become Commercial?
Unfortunately, not for a long time. With all the stages that new technology takes, we can’t give an accurate benchmark either.
Dr Klaus Weber, an expert in developing solar technology, told The Guardian in May last year, that while the discovery was ‘an important step’ towards commercialisation that it by no means meant it was time to hold your breath for it to hit the market soon.
Dr Klaus Weber is an associate professor at the Australian National University, who was not a part of the studies.
“…the commercialisation of a new technology is a long and complicated process, and that it requires many years before such a new technology becomes widely available. So, don’t hold off installing solar panel in the belief that something better will be available tomorrow,” he said.
With that being said, the best time to invest into solar energy and all the benefits it offers over time, is now.
The Most Efficient Solar Panels on the Market Today
When looking for the most efficient solar panels on the market, there are several comparison sites that you can use. At Solar System Australia, we have decided to trust in a consistent top performer against many different testing and criteria, that is LONGi solar panels.
As a solar retailer, we also want to explain our reasons for putting our faith in this technology.
Monocrystalline Solar Cells
LONGi solar panels are exclusively made from monocrystalline silicon solar cells: the PV cells with the highest power capacity and efficiency currently. On average, they meet a 15-20% range of solar cell efficiency. LONGi solar panels have reached solar cell efficiencies of 21-22%.
Split Cell Technology –
Splitting solar cells in half and connecting them in parallel circuits, has helped created solar panels with reduced heat, circuit, and shade resistance. Which has led to higher gains in efficiency. All LONGi solar panels also avail of this half cell technology, for panels that are not as affected by shade.
Weather Resistant –
LONGi solar panels have emerged with consistent top performance in the independent testing PV Evolution Labs and DNV GL have conducted together. In these tests, solar panels are tested against a matrix of harsh weather conditions such as damp heat, light-induced degradation, and more.
Experts in Solar Energy
Solar Systems Australia is dedicated to assisting home and business owners across NSW in gaining the best solution for solar. We want to help everyone reap the benefits of energy savings and a cleaner electricity footprint.
If you have enjoyed reading, stay tuned for more of the latest insights from our blog!
You can also find an answer to any of your common questions by reaching us on 1800 975 270 or arrange a free solar assessment to find out more about how a solar system can benefit your property.