Solar power can help you reduce your electric bill by supplying safe, sustainable, and free electricity. However, a solar power system is only as good as its solar panels’ power generation efficiency. If you are making the switch to solar power you should know about solar power generation efficiency and how it affects solar power generation.
What is Solar Efficiency?
The solar energy efficiency or the conversion efficiency of a photovoltaic cell is the percentage of energy from the sun it can convert into usable electricity. The higher the efficiency of a solar cell, the higher will be its electric output. Moreover, producing the same amount of electricity will take less surface area.
What is the Standard Efficiency of Solar Panels?
In recent years there has been a growing interest in solar power. This has led to massive investments in research for more commercially viable solar power solutions. These developments have contributed to a marked increase in the efficiency of solar panels.
There was a time when solar energy efficiency of 15% was considered impressive. In contrast, today’s best solar panels easily clock in energy efficiency of 20%. More sophisticated and higher quality solar panels are reaching energy efficiencies of 23%.
Factors Driving Solar Energy Efficiency
The solar energy efficiency for solar cells is dependent on two factors – system design and solar panel technology.
Monocrystalline cells are made out of a single crystal of silicon. The high purity of the crystal leads to a higher efficiency of the photovoltaic cell made out of it. Polycrystalline cells are made of multiple silicon crystals with lower energy efficiency. It does not mean that polycrystalline crystals are of lower quality than monocrystalline crystals. Their energy efficiency is a function of the material they are made of.
It is worth noting that high-grade solar power systems can be made from both materials.
If you can manipulate both these factors for a solar power system, you will certainly improve the solar energy efficiency of the entire system.