Soaking up the Sun (part 1)
Posted on 5th February 2020 at 15:35
Soaking up the Sun: Solar Panels for Your Home (part 1)
The energy that the sun delivers to the surface of the Earth is sufficient to meet our global energy needs many times over, so why not embrace that? Many people are still unaware of the effectiveness of solar energy or how it works. The main benefits of domestic solar panels can make a huge contribution not only to the environment, but your pocket too.
When they were first developed and introduced to the commercial market, solar panels came in for a lot of criticism based on their relatively low efficiency, high cost, and less than appealing looks. Large lumps of dark-blue glass affixed to your roof did little for your property’s aesthetics, even if they did lower your bills somewhat. But times change and with it, technology advances and the current range of solar panels aim to address those issues.
1) Transparent Solar Panels. Ever since the principle of completely see-through solar panels were demonstrated by researchers at Michigan State University in 2014, the chase has been on to make these commercially viable. Obviously, these aren’t the same technology as traditional panels (since the photovoltaic effect wouldn’t work if the sunlight just went straight through), so these use a different approach; transparent luminescent solar concentration (TLSC).
This type of solar cell uses chemical salts within the transparent body to collect light of specific wavelengths and to then redirect it to the edges of the glass as another wavelength which is then collected by specialist photo-voltaic gatherers and converted to electricity. Always transparent, and always gathering. These are now proven and are being commercialised, so expect to see houses being fitted with these in the very near future.
2) Solar Roof Tiles. The brainchild of revered tech engineer Elon Musk, solar roof tiles have been developed with Panasonic, and are likely to go into production at Musk’s Gigafactory 2 in the U.S. The tiles are photo-voltaic in nature but blend in with normal roof tiles and give all the benefits of solar but without the bulky aesthetic.
3) Split-Cell Solar Modules. Many people have been working to upgrade the current designs of solar panel to increase their efficiency while reducing their footprint. This has led to a new concept of smaller panel, which increases output. Further technological advancements have introduced the specialist Maxim Cell Optimisation which identifies obstructions to sunlight gathering (such as leaves) and reroutes ray harvesting to an unobstructed section, thereby always giving the best performance. A newly developed type of silicon chip architecture that is designed to support solar thermal cycling, while improving module longevity, and the efficiency of the entire cell across the board means that modules of this nature are not only performing better but are also becoming more cost effective.
To discuss how solar energy could work for your project, get in touch with Kent Building Developments today!
E:mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01944 759259
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