Stanford team develops coating to boost solar cell efficiency

 mono and poly crystalline solar cells

When solar cells get hot they lose efficiency. Researchers have developed a coating that keeps cells cooler.

Contrary to popular thought, heat reduces solar cell efficiency. As the cells heat up from the direct glare of the sun, their efficiency in converting light into electricity drops markedly. Depending on the system used and the location, losses can reduce output up to 10 to 25 percent.

This conundrum has vexed the industry for many years. After all, solar cells need the sun to work and this generates heat. So how to solve this problem and increase the light-to-electricity efficiency of solar cells?

Enter a team of researchers from Stanford University who have developed a transparent coating for the cells. The film keeps the cells cool as they heat up under the sun. Made of patterned silicon, the secret to this remarkable film is that, while it allows visible light to pass, it also absorbs and even emits the infrared rays, the source of thermal radiation. [Read more…]

Trina Solar Panel Review Shows Great Performance in Hot Aussie Conditions

trina solar logo and checksheet

The latest Trina solar panel review ticks a lot of boxes

Thinking of putting Trina solar panels on your roof? Then finding a review that you can trust is critical. After all, unless you are an uber solar geek like me you probably have never heard of the Trina brand before (they are one of the biggest solar panel manufacturers on the planet by the way).

Reliable, honest solar panel reviews are very hard to come by. Why? Firstly because properly testing a solar panel takes at least a year – so that you get all the seasons. Secondly it takes a big investment in carefully calibrated measurement hardware. [Read more…]

Be Careful When Calculating Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar Panels

Crunching the numbers on your solar panels’ performance is fun!

One from the mailbag today that is bound to please fellow solar nerds:

[Read more…]

How Does Temperature Affect Your Solar Inverter Power?

Inverter positioned badly

Don’t mount your inverter where the sun can cook it!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you are probably already aware of how high ambient temperatures negatively affect solar panel performance.

But did you know that when it gets hot outside, those scorching Aussie temperatures can also cause the efficiency of your solar inverter to drop? [Read more…]

Understanding Solar Panel Specifications Part #2: Power, Tolerance & Efficiency

In Part #1 I went into great detail about why the “Max Power” quoted on your solar panel specification sheet and the real max power you will actually get from that panel are very different numbers. I showed you how to calculate a more accurate max power by using some little known temperature specs.

In this post I’ll go through the other important numbers that you should look at when comparing solar panels.

[Read more…]

How To Read A Solar Panel Specification: Part #1 Power & Temperature Specs

Magnifying the NOCT on a solar panel specification

Discover how to read a solar panel specification

Does a solar panel specification with “Max Power” rated at, say 190W, really produce a maximum power of 190W when it is on your roof in the blazing sun?

Short Answer: Not on your nellie!

The max power rating (in Watts) that your solar panels are rated at is the figure that everyone quotes when talking about “panel size”. If the installer or salesperson talks aout a “190W or 250W panel” they are talking about the “max power” rating of the panels. This rating is based on the power output measured from that panel under “Standard Test Conditions” (STC) that, unfortunately, are a long way from “Real World Operating Conditions”.

[Read more…]

Tassie comes in from the cold

Vast solar arrays in the middle of our hot baking deserts or mainland cities awash with solar panels are generally considered the most efficient way to soak up the abundant sun for energy in our country. In terms of suitability for solar farms in this wide, brown land of ours, the mind definitely points to swelteringly hot parts of the mainland, rather than the cool, fresh, green island of Tasmania.

Not so according to a recent study by the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology which says the cooler regions of the world are, contrary to general belief, an excellent area to generate massive amounts of solar energy. The report says that cool climates, particularly those at a higher altitude, have massive potential to generate solar-powered electricity.

[Read more…]

Are you getting the best Solar Panels? The Top 10 Things To Check

the best solar panels

How do you know if they are going to perform on your roof?

There are a bewildering array of solar panel brands out there. How do you sort the wheat from the solar chaff and be sure you are getting the best solar panels for your roof?

My advice is go thru the spec sheet for each panel and judge them on the following criteria.

If you haven’t got a spec sheet, then get another quote!

If the spec sheet combined with the quote doesn’t have the answers, call up the solar supplier and ask. If they don’t know the answers, that’s a bad sign.

The Top 10 Criteria [Read more…]

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