How Efficient Solar Panels Have Become In 2022

There is massive competition in the solar power market. 

New solar panel brands are competing with the solar panels best brands to leave their marks on the market and retain a new range of customers.

As much as we appreciate this competition between solar panel brands, it can confuse us to an even bigger extent when we look for the best solar panels for our homes and office spaces.

The affordability and efficiency of solar panels have improved dramatically over the past few years. However, while some brands boast about their type of solar cells, some brag about their panels’ longer shelf lives.

If you want to know how efficient the solar panels have become in 2022, you must keep scrolling down this post. 

So, let’s start: 

What Is A Solar Panel’s Efficiency?

A solar panel’s efficiency relates to its ability to convert sunlight into electrical energy. When sunlight interacts with the solar panels and transfers it via bus bars and wires to turn it into the alternative current, the efficiency of a solar panel is decided.

Most solar panel products are not efficient enough. It’s because most of these devices are made of semiconductors that can convert heat into energy in a lower amount.

Since these panels can consume a small amount of energy, they convert an even smaller part of them into electricity. The properties of the semiconductor decide the solar cell’s efficiency based on the absorbed sunlight. 

A typical solar panel can convert 6% of sunlight into direct energy, but it was the prevailing factor in 1950. Since then, technology has progressed, and solar panel efficiency has also become better.

The maximum solar panel efficiency is 15%-20%, according to 2021 reports. However, the conversion amount varies according to weather, location, panel orientation, and so on. 

Most Efficient Types Of Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels have rounded edges and come in darker color options, which make them easily distinguishable. They have the highest efficiency in terms of photovoltaic solar panels. They have one silicon screen and are pricey due to their high heat concentration. However, they can convert 22%-27% of heat into electricity, which makes them the most efficient solar panels.

Polycrystalline solar panels come next on the list. They are square-shaped and blue-colored, which also makes them easily distinguishable from the rest. These panels can convert photovoltaic solar radiation into electrical energy. Their efficiency levels vary from 15%-22%, making them the second-best choice in choosing an efficient solar panel.

Thin-film solar-cell panels employ cutting-edge photovoltaic technology, and they have one or two layers of photovoltaic cell sheets to convert heat into electrical energy. They are not as efficient (12%-22%) as the monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels, as they are made of glass, metal, and plastic. But, they are more adaptable and lightweight, which is a plus. 

Integrated photovoltaic panels are also giving solar panel brands tough competition nowadays. Their efficiency ranges from 10%-22%, which is not a better choice than the other three options mentioned above. They look aesthetically pleasing, making them more expensive, but these panels don’t work well under extreme weather changes. 

How To Determine The Efficiency Of Solar Panels Under Extreme Conditions?

Depending on where you stay, your choice of solar panel will also vary. If you want to guarantee the durability of the solar panel, you must determine the weather conditions beforehand. Let’s find them out here:

1: Snow

If the solar panel has more than 5 cm of snow accumulated on the surface, its efficiency reduces by 100%. However, if the snowy weather is bearable, it does not harm the solar panels as much. You can simply tilt the panels, and the snow will come off, or you can remove them manually from the surface.

2: Hail

You can fire artificial hail at a speed of 20 to 30 m/s and check if the solar panels are damaged or not in this process. According to a 2009-2013 research report, only 0.1% of solar panels have underperformed during hail. 

3: Wind

Solar panel manufacturers conduct extreme wind tunnel testing to see if the solar panels can withhold the wind’s force. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most predictable causes of solar panel damage. However, wind can also reduce the heat of the panel and increase its efficiency by 0.05%, which is a plus.

4: UV Rays

If the solar panel faces too much UV ray exposure, it can reduce its efficiency and cause it to discolor. The panel surface can also form a layer of boron oxide, which reduces the efficiency by 1%-3% in the initial 1000 hours.

5: Thermal Cycling

Thermal cycling can cause many solar panel components to malfunction, including solar bonds, solar cells, module connections, cell interconnections, and so on. You could consider all of these factors to maximize or minimize the solar panels’ outputs.

6: Chemical Residue

Chemical residue can develop on the surface of solar panels, and it requires a minimum of 20 mm of rain to clean the solar panel surface off the chemical residues. Studies have shown that solar panels covered in chemical residues can have a reduction of 0.2% in their efficiency level.

7: Insulation Resistance

It depends upon the solar panel’s material and how much insulation it can resist. If the solar panel does not have a strong enough material, it can cause current leakage. On the other hand, if the material is strong enough, the current can pass without any obstruction.

8: Damp-Heat

You can test the durability of a solar panel with damp heat testing under extremely humid conditions. However, humidity can cause corrosion, and corrosion can cause module connection failure, which will reduce the overall efficiency of the solar panels. 

How To Choose The Most Efficient Solar Panel?

If you choose the most efficient solar panel, you can produce the cleanest electricity. However, choosing the right solar panel is not an easy task. There are some factors to look forward to here, such as:

1: Cost

This is probably the first factor that comes to mind before choosing a solar panel. The cost of a panel depends upon various factors such as size, types of solar cells, durability, etc. Choosing the least expensive solar panel may not be the best option because it may not have a longer lifespan or other necessary certifications. 

2: Durability

Usually, solar panels come with a warranty period of 25 years. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer a warranty period, you may suspect that the product isn’t good enough to last longer. How you maintain the panels also decide their lifespan, but you’re lucky that these panels don’t need much time and effort to be looked after.

3: Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency is determined by how much light is received by the panel and how much of it is converted into electrical energy. It’s not a thumb rule that the bigger a solar panel, the more energy-efficient it is. You should assess your requirements first and choose the solar panel accordingly. 

4: Size

Your solar panel must power all your electrical appliances, and it must fit into the required space you have. The physical size of the panel will help you find the space required to install it. An average household will need a watt output of the panel, which is directly related to the price of the panel, so you must keep that in mind too. 

5: Types Of Cells

Monocrystalline cells have good heat tolerance and high efficiency with a small carbon footprint. On the other hand, polycrystalline cells are pretty popular when it comes to residential solar panel installation. There are also amorphous silicon cells that are not so efficient when it comes to saving energy. Crystalline cells are similar to amorphous cells. 

6: Temperature Coefficient

The sun’s heat is likely to have a direct impact on the solar panel’s surface after installation. If the panel is overheated, it will not last much longer. Hence, the lower the heating percentage will be per degree celsius, the better it will be for the panel to handle the heat directly. 

7: Quality

How you build a solar panel and how you manufacture one decide the quality of the solar panels. Different manufacturers use different materials to produce solar panel that differs in price, quality, and efficiency. Choose the manufacturer wisely and check their customer reviews online before choosing. 

Final Thoughts

Solar panels’ efficiency has improved dynamically over the past few years. 

You may need a solar panel for residential usage or commercial usage, but once you select the panels, you can think of how efficient they will be in serving your needs.

Now that we have elaborated on the different types of solar panels and how you can choose the most efficient one, it will be easier for you to find the best solar panel according to your preferences.

You could also compare different panels from different manufacturers to see which one of them is more effective for your use. 

For further queries, let us know in the comment box below.