Solar Panel Efficiency Rate: Factors that Influence Efficiency


Are you impatient with the current output of your photovoltaic (PV) system? You’re not alone. Many homeowners these days love using their solar panels; however, they want to improve their performance. What they don’t realize is they are pining for more efficiency.

It’s not wrong to demand more efficiency, though. After all, solar panels or PV systems are their financial investments. So, why not get the best out of this intermittent power source, right?

So, what is solar panel efficiency and how do you boost it? This short article aims to answer those questions.

What is the solar panel efficiency?

Solar efficiency rate is the measurement of how much sunlight a single panel can convert into electricity. You can measure solar power efficiency by measuring the current caused by the interaction between sunshine with silicon inside a single panel.

If a single panel has a 20% efficiency rate, then it should convert the same percent of the sunlight that hits the cells into electricity. The highest known efficiency rate of solar panels can be 22–23%. Wait—that’s it? Can it go higher?

Factors that influence efficiency

To know how efficiency boosts, you have to know the factors that affect its rate. There are internal and external factors that change or reduce efficiency. If you want to optimize your PV system’s output, you have to know how these factors affect your panels.

Thermodynamic efficiency

This is the possible highest rate of efficiency your PV system can give. You can measure thermodynamic efficiency by identifying the height at which the sun’s power can be converted into electricity. Typically, a solar panel’s thermodynamic efficiency rate and limit is 86%. After that, instead of electricity, the solar panels will generate heat or thermal power.

Now, how can you improve thermodynamic efficiency? You can study and then consider buying tandem solar cells. Adding them can bring additional efficiency since they can divide the solar spectrum into narrower areas. This way, your panels can exceed the efficiency limit.

Reflectance efficiency

If a solar panel has a high light reflectance value, then it won’t be too efficient. This is because high light reflectance means a panel reflects more light and absorbs less. Your solar panels have to do the opposite of those.

Well, how do you reduce light reflectance? You can add an anti-reflective coating or AR coating or ask the solar panel provider to apply it. AR coating for solar cells will improve your PV module’s efficiency and light transmittance. With an AR coating, your solar panels can absorb more sunlight and convert it into electricity.

If your property heavily relies on solar power, then you should really consider adding an AR coating to your solar panels. You might be unknowingly wasting more sunlight because of high light reflectance.

Other environmental factors

Naturally, other environmental factors can hinder your solar panels’ efficiency. For example, cloudy days or shadows from nearby buildings — these can affect your solar panels’ efficiency rate. Also, if you’re lax about its maintenance, then its efficiency rate will also dwindle, too. Remember, even though solar panels do not demand frequent maintenance, you should still wipe off grime or dust every once in a while.

Having known these factors and tips, you are now set to discover more ways to improve your solar panels’ efficiency. If you need help regarding your system, make sure you rely on a knowledgeable provider.

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