Solar skins are a new technology designed and integrated into the solar panels. Designed by MIT engineers, ‘Sistine Solar’ from The United States have manufactured the skin covered panels. These are currently available for purchase within America.
Don’t like the aesthetic of traditional panels? This new technology allows a chance to customise the look of your panels whilst maintaining the efficiency of the cells. They can be made to blend in with your roof’s tiles or even your grassy lawns.Perhaps you’re a business. You can customise them to include business logos, advertisements and so on.
Essentially Solar Skins provide an aesthetically pleasing alternative while allegedly maintaining a high solar output. Of course all things come at a cost and the price tag is generally going to be 10% more than that of traditional panels.
Advances in Solar cell technology
Solar cell efficiency is an ever-evolving factor when it comes to solar technology advancements. Currently the average efficiency of a cell is around 15%. This means that around 85% of the sunlight that hits the cell does not get converted to energy. This provides a lot of wiggle room for improvement. The higher the efficiency of your panels the more energy output they produce. Thus you get more bang for your back without having to sacrifice precious roof space.
One company has raised the bar. Haitai Solar, forming under Haitai New Energy Technology Co.Ltd, they have created a 345W residential panel for your home with a cell efficiency of more than 20%. With the use of new patent pending technology, the appropriately named ‘Tarzan Series’ uses ⅓ cut cell and plate coupling to achieve the increase in efficiency.
Up until now the panels have not been available to Australian households. However, in the coming months this will change. A select few retailers will be importing the first proprietary technology to our shores. If you’re in the market for solar panels, It’s worth keeping an ear out for when these arrive.
Floating Solar Farms
Floating solar farms or what many refer to as ‘Floatovoltaics’ are becoming more and more of a common reality. The pro’s of the innovation seem to be increasingly evident. Floatovoltaics have the potential to create huge amounts of energy without taking up valuable real estate. As well as this, the installation costs of floating solar panels are actually less than land based panels. This is due largely to the fact that there’s no need to clear or treat land.
Other sighted benefits include the natural cooling the water provides the panels, improving energy production. Also the panels provide natural water management. This limits the amount of water loss caused by evaporation and deters algae growth. In turn preventing animals and humans from getting sick due to the toxins.
The first Floatovoltaic system was installed in 2008 at a Californian winery, making this a young technology. This does bring up some unknowns. For example, it is not known how the installations could affect wildlife. Also the kind of performance lifespan the panels would have is yet to be determined. Bearing these factors in mind, it is still a great new innovation for the renewable energy world and brings with it some exciting possibilities.
The Future of Solar
It’s no secret that in recent years the solar industry has been a booming one and for good reason. As a vital form of renewable energy it’s crucial that it continues to grow the way it has been. whilst also becoming more affordable for households and businesses alike.
The recent Coronavirus saga has temporarily slowed things down. However, thanks to the advancements listed above and many more that are in the works, we can be confident that solar technology will continue to improve. It is safe to say, The future of the solar world looks bright.