P-Type And N-Type Solar Cells’ Excellent Electron Adventure

p-type and n-type

Do you know the difference between a P-Type and N-Type solar cell, duuuuuude?

When it comes to material for making solar cells, silicon is the most bodacious of all the elements.  Its market share is an excellent circa 97%1.  If you want solar PV, there is next to no choice other than silicon.  However, there is more than one type of silicon cell, which is fortunate for people who enjoy faffing about when deciding what to buy. [Read more…]

Footnotes

  1. Back in 1995, cadmium telluride thin film solar was 30% of the market, but apparently its makers didn’t get the message only the cells were supposed to be thin and not sales, margins, market share, and chances of staying in business.

China’s Plan For Solar World Domination: The ‘Top Runner’ Program

Chinese dude holding a solar cell

China’s Solar Top Runner Program – What The Hell Is It?

China is the world leader when it comes to manufacturing and installing solar panels.  [Read more…]

Phono Introduces MWT Panels:  A Dotty Idea For Improving Efficiency

robin and a phono MWT solar panel

Phono Solar have only gone and drilled holes in their new solar panels…

If you want a solar cell to produce electricity then it’s important to let the sunshine in.  Specifically, into the solar cell.  Not letting the sunshine in is a bad idea.  Despite how very important this is, most solar cell manufacturers place a fine metal wire grid on top of their cells that blocks around 5% to 6% of sunlight falling on them, for no other reason than they don’t work without it.  It appears the metal grid is necessary to make electrical contacts required for current to flow. [Read more…]

Trina Solar’s Honey Plus Polycrystalline Panel Sets A Sweet Record With 19.86% Efficiency

trina honey panel

Trina have set a record 19.86% aperture efficiency for polycrystalline.

Trina Solar announced a new world record for solar panel efficiency on Tuesday. The announcement was made via a press release that was mostly comprised of words.

But that wasn’t all it contained.  Oh no, this press release was far too important to get by just using them. It also contained numbers, punctuation, and percentage signs.

Exactly what the particular arrangement of all these ingredients they poured into their press release actually means is a little tricky to work out. But, for your elucidation, I shall now attempt reading comprehension and I am not even going to use a net. [Read more…]

Why NASA Chose Solar Power Over Nuclear For The Juno Space Probe

juno solar panel

One of Juno’s 3 solar panels. This section will produce about 5kW in earth orbit, and 185W in Jupiter Orbit. Image: NASA/JPL

Juno, the first solar powered space probe to be sent to Jupiter, entered orbit around the gas giant planet yesterday. Its mission is to probe Jupiter in ways it has never been probed before to discover clues about its formation, internal structure, water content, and weather. Part of its mission is the investigate the Great Red Spot.  However, because it is currently only around half the size it was 100 years ago, it is now really just an Okay Red Spot. [Read more…]

SunPower X-Series Panels Set New Efficiency Record Of 24.1%

sunpower panel efficiency

Sunpower X series panels have breached 24% efficiency.

I have previously mentioned SunPower makes excellent solar panels. This definitely includes their uncanny X-Series, which are a high efficiency, high reliability, line of monocrystalline panels. In January they broke the record for most efficient solar panel with a figure of 22.8%. And now, less than six months later, they have increased that by an impressive 1.3 percentage points to 24.1%.

I can only marvel at the improvements in PV efficiency that have occurred so far in 2016. Just six months ago I would have said the chance of any panel exceeding 24% efficiency this year would have been a long shot, but lately improving efficiency has been smashing records like an unstoppable juggernaut. [Read more…]

Hanwha Q Cells Q.ANTUM Solar Panels Smash Record For Polysilicon Efficiency

q-cells solar panel efficiency

Q-Cells clever Q.ANTUM design of solar cell promises better efficiency for cheaper, multi crystalline panels.

Hanwha Q Cells has smashed the record for polysilicon solar panel efficiency like a robot driving a steel fist through a fragile silicon wafer. They have achieved an efficiency of 19.5% with a standard sized panel, 1.67m by 1m in size. The module is 301 watts and Hanwha claims it was produced using standard processes on industrial scale production equipment, which means it should be ready to go into production. [Read more…]

SunPower Solar Panels: One of the best panels lots of money can buy

sunpower solar panels

SunPower make very good, very expensive panels.

SunPower make some of the best solar panels in existence. Or at least some of the best on this planet. Perhaps Spectrolab regularly shoots better ones into space to mars or somewhere, I don’t know. But if you want to buy something that is meant to go on a roof and not a space probe, then SunPower solar panels are hard to beat.

Now note that I did say some of the best and not some of the cheapest. If you haven’t worked out that the words cheap and best don’t normally go together, then I have a really low quality laptop held together with superglue and wooden rulers that I’d like to sell to you at a really high price. [Read more…]

The race is on as Panasonic snatches lead as most efficient solar panel

panasonic most efficient panel

Panasonic snatch the title for most efficient panel from Sunpower.

Well that didn’t take long! No sooner had we published our article on SunPower grabbing the unofficial prize of most efficient solar panel for commercial use, than Japanese manufacturer Panasonic surprises with a late sprint to the line.

The Japanese manufacturer has now jumped into the lead in the solar conversion Premier League with not one but two records. The new record, which was verified by the Japanese government-funded National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, is an eye-catching photovoltaic module conversion efficiency of 23.8 percent. This leaves SunPower’s previous record in the dust by a full percentage point. [Read more…]

Sunpower grabs lead in bid for most efficient solar panel

sunpower solar panels efficiency

Sunpower – the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of solar panels regain the ‘Most Efficient Panel’ Trophy.

It’s on for young and old in the battle for the prestigious title of the most efficient solar panel. For a number of weeks we’ve brought you commentaries on the remarkable breakthroughs achieved by Trina (here and here). Now Sunpower — the French-owned, US-based solar panel manufacturer — has stepped up to the plate with an announcement they have achieved a module efficiency rating of 22.8 percent for its X-Series solar panel. Another world record. [Read more…]