Solar power has indeed become a household name in many homes and organizations. The power generated by the sun is clean, renewable, and readily available. As a result of these, many are attracted to this energy source.
Although this energy source has been in existence since the dawn of time, it wasn’t until recently that human technology became advanced to the point of harnessing this energy. Initially, harnessing the energy was somewhat inefficient and very expensive. You can check out solargraf to learn more about the process involved in converting sunlight energy into electrical energy.
Hence, the popularity of solar power in homes and organizations wasn’t common. However, from the end of the 20th century down to the present time, the energy harnessed from the sun worldwide has increased 300 times. This shows that the reliance and usage of this energy source are growing with each passing day.
This growing reliance and usage can be attributed to several factors but primarily the advancement of technology which has led to an increase in the efficiency of the solar panels and also a decrease in overall costs.
While the current development in this field is amazing, there are still further possibilities especially when it comes to the development of the cells within the solar panels. These possibilities can lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs.
Solar Cells and the Future
To ensure that the current standards and efficiency of the solar cells are improved and outpaced, there is a need for a better and improved design. The design will ensure that more sunlight is captured which will then be converted to electricity. Such a design will not only have to be more efficient, but it will also have to be cheaper to manufacture compared to the current designs.
Consumers, as well as producers, will tilt towards this energy source if it is less expensive compared to other non-renewable electricity sources. Therefore, for solar energy to become more widespread than it already is, the overall costs must be reduced a great deal.
One of the ways to do this is to add hardware with the ability to harness more sunlight. This option will not require the abandonment of current designs; instead, it requires a simple modification.
For instance, certain electronic devices can be added to the panel that enables the cell to track the movement of the sun across the sky. With this tracking, the cells can then be facing the sun directly at all times. This, in turn, will ensure that the amount of sunlight captured is increased.
Sadly, this instance has its challenges in terms of cost. The amount required to design electronics with the ability to track the sun’s position consistently and accurately is expensive.
Some have suggested the use of mirrors as an alternative. The mirrors will be used to focus sunlight thereby reducing the overall cost of the cell.
Another option instead of adding hardware is to improve the solar cells’ performance. That will in turn make them better as far as energy conversion is concerned.
It has been observed and proven that more photons will be captured by a solar panel that has two layers compared to a panel that has just one layer. It has been proven in a lab test that panels with 4 layers could capture about 46 percent of the sunlight they received.
While this might look like the breakthrough we need, the cost of such panels is still very expensive. Hence, not everyone will be able to purchase such products. Furthermore, making such panels readily available to be used in homes and offices is difficult.
Nevertheless, there is still hope for the future as the results of ongoing research could lead to a time whereby these cells are easy to manufacture and implement.
The decrease in the cost of solar panels is an alternative that can be employed to improve efficiency. Although silicon processing has reduced in its overall cost compared to some decades back, its effect on the overall cost of a solar power system is still significant.
Hence, thin-film cells can be used; this is guaranteed to reduce costs as far as product material is concerned. The challenge with this alternative is that they can be somewhat complex to manufacture. As such, their application is also limited. However, there is still ongoing research from different organizations that might yield positive results in the future.
Solar energy has come a long way compared to when this energy source was first harnessed. While the progress is evident, there is still a long way to go. The primary challenges that plague this technology are efficiency and overall cost.
Hence, in the article above, we have looked at some future predictions of how these challenges can be overcome based on ongoing research.