The Latest Technology Used in Solar Panels

In the past few decades, the solar technology industry has made significant progress. Some of the latest developments include solar cells that can be printed onto flexible materials, longer-lasting solar cells, and even solar panels designed to track the sun’s position in the sky throughout the day. 

This is only the beginning, and solar technology is set to get better with time. According to, significant research and development is being put into solar technology all around the world to improve the overall efficiency and performance of solar panels. Other areas of development around solar include better energy storage solutions along with driving down the cost of installing solar power. 

In this post, you will learn about the latest technologies used in solar panels, why they are important, and how they will impact the world. 

Tandem Solar Cells and Silicon Heterojunction

Heterojunction cell technology is not really a new thing, it was actually invented in the 1970s and has been in use for decades in solar panels. However, understanding how it works is important to get a glimpse of how solar voltaics may improve in the near future. 

Heterojunction cells simply refer to the sandwiching of several layers of semiconductor materials to form a single cell. The cells have a base silicon layer coated in several thin amorphous silicon layers. Every layer can generate electricity at various wavelengths of light, which makes the cell a lot more efficient compared to traditional solar cells, which come with one layer of semiconductor material. 

Traditionally, heterojunction cells have generally been difficult to make, but new developments in materials science will make them more economically viable for manufacturers to embrace the process. One of these new developments is tandem solar cells, which essentially stack extra super-thin layers together, forming a more efficient cell. 

Perovskite Solar Cells

Perovskite is a material first discovered in 1839 in Russia. Perovskites have a distinctive crystalline structure that forms when several elements combine to form molecules, and most of these are semiconductors. This makes them quite interesting to solar researchers, especially considering that:

They can easily be applied onto surfaces through vapour or liquid.

They are easy to make and don’t need heat-intensive processes.

They can produce electricity at different wavelengths, essentially capturing photons that silicon cells just can’t. 

The only major problem with Perovskites is that it can be difficult to keep them working for decades since they tend to break down when exposed to moisture and oxygen. However, new advancements have greatly improved the performance and stability of Perovskite solar cells. Manufacturers are getting close to bringing commercial Perovskite solar products to the market. 

Perhaps the first uses of Perovskites will be in tandem and heterojunction solar cells, where thin layers of Perovskite will help to absorb photons of certain wavelengths, while silicon layers will be used to absorb other wavelengths of light. 

The combined capabilities of both technologies will see the resulting cells exceed the possible efficiency of using silicon alone. In a more distant future, Perovskite may provide huge reductions in the cost of producing solar cells, since the material is easy to make and can be used in thin layers and flexible surfaces. 

Thin-film Solar Technology

Thin-film solar panels have traditionally been less efficient compared to the standard panels. However, new developments in technology are changing this. The most commonly used material in thin-film solar is amorphous silicon, however, other materials such as Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, Cadmium Telluride, and Gallium Arsenide are now being tested to develop highly efficient thin-film panels. 

This has led to the development of less expensive and more flexible solar fabrics, which can be used in nearly any structural shape. The cells can be rolled and even folded to make them effective in a variety of scenarios. The resulting fabric is also a lot more durable and can respond well to great variations in temperatures. 

The cells are also effective in low-light conditions. Plus, they are easy to install, and their manufacturing typically involves much lower levels of emissions. 

Capturing Solar at Night

If you think that solar energy can only be generated at night, you’d be wrong. The latest technology has enabled the development of panels that can still generate power at night. These are designed to capture heat radiated from the earth in the form of infrared radiation at night. 

The process will obviously generate significantly less power compared to the daytime. However, even at 25% capacity of the traditional solar panels could contribute significant power. Moreover, their efficiency will only increase as the technology improves in the coming years. 

In Conclusion

Researchers from all over the world are still studying solar technologies and new breakthroughs will still come up in the coming years. Still, the technology that exists today is enough to provide fully renewable energy to homes and businesses.

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