With increase in consumption of electricity, the sources for generation of electricity have also increased. Solar energy is an inexhaustible source and can be harnessed to generate electricity. Solar cell is the main device that captures the solar energy and converts it into electric energy by the mechanism of photovoltaics. Solar cells are assembled to make different solar devices like solar panels, solar modules and photo voltaic cells that are widely used today for generation of electricity. The efficiency of the device is an important concern for the experts because if its efficiency is low, its output will also decrease. Thus, we must know the efficiency of solar cells before using it for different purposes where generation of electricity is required.
Solar Panel Efficiency for Household Uses
Use of solar panels at households is becoming common. They are used in cooking, heating, boiling and are incorporated in a large number of electrical devices. Solar panels are installed to generate energy for microwaves, refrigerator, electric gas, iron, water heater, air conditioner, inverter, room heater and many other devices at home. This is because solar energy is abundant, renewable and cheap.
First an average estimate of the total energy consumed by the electrical device is made and then the efficiency is calculated. Scientists have found out that from the total solar energy striking the solar panels, only 20% is converted to electrical energy. This means that when solar energy is converted to electricity, average efficiency of solar panel at home is 20%. When it comes to lighting bulbs or tube lights, then the efficiency diminishes further. For example, if the solar cell efficiency is 20 %, the remaining energy is utilized in converting direct current to alternating current which consumes 15 % extra energy. The energy that is left is finally used to light bulbs and the output is only 5% of the total efficiency. Due to the low output, solar panels are usually not used to light up homes.
Solar Panel Efficiency for Flexible Sources
Flexible solar panels are used for devices which require low output and generate less energy. Flexible devices include solar hot water heaters, solar landscape lights, like garden lights, security lights and flood lights. Solar fountains, pumps, battery chargers, photovoltaic solar cells, etc are also some examples of flexible solar panels. These flexible devices also require low consumption of solar energy, therefore a low efficiency solar panel can be used to meet these necessities. The output should be between 5% to 20%.
Solar Panels Based on Latest Technology
Since consumption of solar energy has gained a rapid momentum, latest technologies are applied to increase the output and the efficiency of solar panels. Thin film solar cells coated with light absorbing materials are recently used to increase its efficiency to about 40%. Silicon wafer cells are the most widely used solar panels as they have a high efficiency amounting to 40%. Modern technologies like magnetic solar modules and nano particles are used to increase the efficiency value. With the advent of nanotechnology, efficiency up to 80% can be achieved. Such solar cells are made up of nano particles, which are capable of harnessing the infra-red radiation from the sun in abundance, even at night. Foldable solar panels are used which give a good output with efficiency of 80%. These are not only highly efficient but are also cost-effective.
From the aforementioned information, we can infer that although solar energy is the most abundant source of energy, its efficiency is a little less. But with upcoming inventions, tremendous effort is being made to increase its efficiency. The biggest advantage of solar panels is that it is pollution free. Those having efficiency up to 20% can easily be used for running various devices at home, while highly efficient panels are used to run machines consuming high energy.
If you are planning to run your house with solar power, equip it with the best quality of panels that are available with maximum output.