Is the conversion rate of solar panels high?? | Demuda

March 12, 2024

Solar panel conversion efficiency is determined by factors such as light exposure and photon efficacy, with different materials resulting in varying efficiencies.

Currently, solar panels are predominantly categorized into two types: multi-crystalline silicon and mono-crystalline silicon. The production process for silicon starts from silica ore, proceeds through industrial-grade silicon, then to multi-crystalline silicon, and finally to mono-crystalline silicon which is typically grown using a crystal pulling method in a single-crystal furnace. Although zone melting can also produce mono-crystalline silicon, it often results in higher dislocation densities, making pulled mono-crystalline silicon more suitable for semiconductor device fabrication. Mono-crystalline solar cells boast high conversion efficiency and stability but come at a higher cost compared to multi-crystalline solar cells. Multi-crystalline solar cells, on the other hand, have lower costs but marginally lower conversion efficiency than mono-crystalline solar panels.

Under ample sunlight conditions:

Multi-crystalline silicon has a light conversion efficiency ranging from 6%-10%.

Mono-crystalline silicon exhibits a light conversion efficiency exceeding 15%.

To measure a solar panel's performance accurately:

1.Standard light intensity refers to AM1.5 (1000W/m²), with the module temperature maintained at 25°C; ideally, a professional solar photovoltaic tester should be used.

2.Parameters to be measured include Pw, Vop, Iop, Voc, and Isc.

3.Calculate the efficiency by dividing the power output of the tested solar panel by its area, then dividing that result by 1000. For instance, if a solar panel produces 5 watts of power and has an area of 0.03 square meters, its efficiency would be calculated as follows: 5 / 0.03 / 1000 = 0.167 or 16.7%. This means the panel converts 16.7% of the energy from 1000 watts per square meter of sunlight into electrical energy.

Whether the efficiency is considered high depends on the perspective and reference point. Compared to a decade ago, current efficiencies have indeed improved significantly. Some research areas are nearing their theoretical limits, so from that standpoint, today's efficiencies seem relatively high. However, from the viewpoint of human exploration spirit and technological potential, or considering market demands, current conversion rates may appear low.

Material science advancements promise significant breakthroughs, and it's anticipated that next-generation solar cells—such as third-generation thin-film and fourth-generation strongly correlated electronic material solar cells—will eventually double the conversion efficiency compared to the first-generation silicon-based and second-generation thin-film silicon solar cells. There might even be more groundbreaking technologies on the horizon, offering not only increased efficiency but also better value for money. For those interested, there exists comprehensive data on the historical and current conversion efficiency records of all global R&D teams across various research directions.

In simple terms, currently, the conversion efficiency of solar panels is not very high—covering half a roof with solar panels may barely sustain household lighting or small appliances. However, efficiencies around 35% are achievable.

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