According to the Energy Sage website “the most efficient commercially available solar panels on the market today have efficiency ratings as high as 22.5%, whereas the majority of panels range from 15% to 19% efficiency rating.” However, only one U.S. based company has surpassed those numbers, raising the bar to a stunning 33%.
Even experts are astounded at the meteoric growth rate of solar consumption worldwide. With confidence, they can forecast that by 2050, the share in global energy consumption will be at least 27%, bypassing all other types of methods of energy generation. Today, about $100 billion a year is invested in this area with Europe, China, and the United States in the lead.
These investors agree: the energy of the sun is the most natural and orderly solution to meet our escalating energy needs. The sun’s rays give the planet an abundant energy potential – according to the U.S. government estimates, the Earth receives over 173,000 terawatts of energy annually, which exceeds the required amount by 10,000.
The challenge is to accumulate this energy. For many years, the low efficiency of solar cells, together with their high cost pushed consumers away from acquisition of solar installations. However, the situation is radically improving. Between 2008 and 2013, the price of solar panels fell by more than 50%. According to experts, the trend continued until 2017 when the cost fell by another 40%. According to research done in the UK, the financial availability of solar panels will lead to the fact that by 2027 the sun’s energy will provide 20% of the world’s energy consumption. This was unimaginable a few years ago.
While technologies are gradually becoming more and more accessible, the question arises about their mass acceptance. At present, efficiency is the greatest obstacle to the development of solar energy. Currently, more than 80% of all solar cells have an energy efficiency of 17-19%. Most of these panels are stationary, resulting in their compromised efficiency, as a substantial amount of sunlight is missed. Improved design, composition and use of nanoparticles absorbing sunlight can potentially increase efficiency.
U.S. based SolSuntech, Inc is evolving significantly faster than the entire market in advancing the efficiency of solar panels. An impressive technological breakthrough was achieved in partnership with South Korean researchers. Its CEO Lou Kraft shared with us some insights about his company.
Mr. Kraft, can you explain how your solar panels function and why it is considered a breakthrough?
In general, manufacturers of solar cells produce flat plane solar panels. Their disadvantage is that their energy efficiency is limited to approximately 19%. There is a higher grade, we call them Tier 1, a high-efficiency panel. Those produce 21- 22%. Our panel produces 33%. A 50% higher output than Tier 1 and 100% higher than any common panel.
Impressive numbers, but how is this possible?
We do this through new technology in the cell’s corrugated design, that’s when reflected photons hit the panel, instead of being reflected away. With our 3D cell design, it’s recaptured again and those photons are added to the output of the panel. This allows us to achieve a 33% efficiency.
Why did no one come up with such technology before SolSuntech?
Everything is always about efficiency. If you look at the automotive industry it’s about getting more miles per gallon. So, in panels, it’s about getting higher efficiency— getting the most energy you can generate from the panel. In cities, you are also limited in space where you can place a solar panel, so if it can come up with 50-100% more output, obviously it will be generating more electricity from the same sunshine as is reaching those panels. Obviously, many companies have tried to build similar panels. The 3D technology we work with is not new, but we were the first to make it work using a special 3D cut technology that has allowed us to slice silicon in a specific way without fracturing it, so the integrity of a 3D cell is not damaged and remains solid. We cut with a specially invented diamond wire. We believe that our product is the only one that exists today which is solid enough to endure the manufacturing process and achieve 33% efficiency.
Solar energy is our future. At present, mankind has only made the first steps in uncovering the true potential of the Sun. This star gives us much more energy than the world consumes annually. Global researchers are working to bring the most efficient way to accumulate and convert sunlight into energy: however, SolSuntech, Inc has already invented such a method.
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