Last week, we reported how a new study estimated that around a quarter of our world’s net energy will come from renewable sources by 2020. And among these renewable energy sources, solar power is expected to still remain the king, especially with the trend of cheaper pricing (utility-scale systems in China and India are predicted to be as low as $1.00 per watt). And now low-cost solar tech endeavors might take their progressive strides alongside high efficiency – as is evident from the recently unveiled photovoltaic panel design from Panasonic. Breaking the previous record held by SolarCity by 1.8 percent, the new solar panels will exhibit an impressive 22.5 percent conversion efficiency.
Now before we sing songs of Panasonic’s glory, the solar panel in question here is still in its prototype stage. However, we should also shoo away our skepticism about the high efficiency figure – since the enviable number has been confirmed by Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. And moreover, this 72-cell, 270-watt prototype was designed by using commercial sized solar cells, thus ultimately alluding to a mass production technology.
And, since we brought up the commercial side of affairs, Panasonic is about to commence with the launching of HIT® N330, the newest product in the company’s series of high-efficiency hetero-junction photovoltaic modules. Touted to be the most powerful photovoltaic module in the world, the contraption boasts 19.7 percent module-level efficiency and a substantial power output of 330 watts. When translated to comparable figures, the 96-cell module accounts for 27 percent more peak-power than conventional multi-crystalline modules.
On the other hand, the previous record-holder SolarCity will commercially unveil their high-efficiency solar panels by next year, with production about to begin in their Buffalo, New York plant. These panels are expected to flaunt their 22.1 percent efficiency, which is an impressive improvement over the regular 15 percent threshold. And in case you are obsessed with core efficiency figures, take a gander at the incredible Ripasso installation – which boasts more than 34 percent conversion rate of sun’s light into pure electricity; though the setup eschews photovoltaic cells in favor of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).