Solar Technology Continues to Evolve

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One of the newer developments is the use of bifacial panels.

The solar industry is anything but stagnant.  Most folks not focused on this sector will find the technology decisions surrounding a solar installation today are much more complex than just a year or two ago. Along with ongoing developments in solar cell makeup, there are now more options with tracking devices and panel configuration. One of the newer developments is the use of bifacial panels.This trend raises a conundrum: When is being two-faced a good thing?

Let’s get our geek on and briefly review some of the developments in the solar sector. Anyone who has followed solar technology for awhile is aware that chemical structure and configuration of solar cells are key determinants of solar efficiency.  A very high percentage of solar panels in use today are crystalline silicon (c-Si). The efficiency of the solar cell is increased as the purity of the silicon is increased. Over time, purification methods have improved and cost has declined, so that more pure monocrystalline silicon is becoming more competitive with the traditional polycrystalline silicon solar cells. Average efficiencies for mono- and polycrystalline solar panels are 17% and 14%, respectively.