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Differences Between Common and High Efficiency Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Skotty, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    With the announcement of Solar City acquiring Silevo in part to jump start production of high efficiency solar panels, I thought it would be nice to have a thread that discusses what the differences are between common solar panels today vs the high efficiency panels of tomorrow.

    There may be something on this already in the Solar City investors thread, but it's an extremely long thread so I wanted to pull this out as separate.

    I honestly don't know what the differences are at this point, but I would like to learn. Some questions that come to mind are:

    1) What is the actual output difference for same size panels?
    2) What are the noteworthy construction differences (if any)?
    3) What are the noteworthy installation differences (if any)?
    4) What are the appearance differences (if any)?
    5) Are high efficiency panels like would be produced by Solar City and Silevo already available on the market today? If so, what are the current cost differences and how much might costs of the high efficiency panels need to come down to make overall cost reduction a reality?

    Thank you to any and all contributors.
     
  2. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    This is a very interesting thread! I am very interested because I would like to instal Solar Panels on my apartment in the South of Italy. Think that I will learn a lot on this matter from this thread.

    Thank you Skotty for starting this thread.
     
  3. ZsoZso

    ZsoZso Member

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    I would also be very interested to see these facts as my current roof solar is limited by available south-facing surface area -- I could only put up a 3.3kW system and would be interetsed in upgrading to get more generation form the same surface area.
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I have only just started researching Silveo today but can tell you that typical PV panel efficiency is 15-16% and Silveo claims a minimum of 22% so that should result in around 30% more output for a given panel size.

    @Skotty, since you have so many questions I am sure you have also started your own research.
     
  5. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

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    only SunPower claims to have efficiency above 20%, but those are existent and you can buy them
     
  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    From the page at Efficiency | silevo

    "With above 22% cell efficiency demonstrated today on production scale materials and validated by Sandia National Labs"

    So Silveo is claiming that their high efficiency cells can be produced on a large scale. They do not appear to be saying they actually are in production. But clearly SolarCity believes they will be able to mass produce them at that efficiency level.
     
  7. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Both Sunpower and Silevo claim a maximum 24% efficiency.

    What is different about Silevo/Solar City is that with their new factory they claim to be cost competitive in a world without subsidies.

    "A combination of higher volume and increased efficiency will “have a dramatic impact on solar and in particular be able to have solar power compete on an unsubsidized basis with the fossilized grid,” said Musk."

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/vertical-integration-continues-solarcity-buys-silevo-for-200-million-plans-gw-factory-in-ny
     

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