There are already lots of different types of solar panels to choose from, and finding the right system is an investment you want to get right. We recently discussed the main three types of solar PV panel cells that are currently most widely used; polycrystalline, mono-crystalline, and thin-film. Polycrystalline was formerly the cheaper option but mono-crystalline has, in recent times outstripped it and its popularity has dwindled. There are, however, more options coming down the line…
What Are Some of the Other Types of Solar Panels?
So-called “third-generation” solar cells are those that are potentially able to surpass the theoretical 31-41 percent limit of traditional technology’s power efficiency. Below are some of the most talked-about emerging technologies currently being researched.
Perovskite solar cells
One of the most promising third-generation cells is the Perovskite solar cell (PSC), which are relatively easy to manufacture and produce. Back in June of this year, Princeton Engineering researchers developed the very first PSC with a “commercially viable lifetime,” marking a huge leap towards this emerging class of renewables becoming available.
Biohybrid solar cells
Biohybrid solar cells are currently firmly in the research and development phase, but represent an exciting breakthrough for solar conversion and renewable energy in general. These are cells that combine inorganic matter with organic to recreate the natural process of photosynthesis, which many believe could be the key to harnessing solar power’s potential.
First discovered by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, these cells could potentially be up to 1000 times more efficient than first-generation types of solar panels such as Mono-Si and Poly-Si.
High-concentration PV cells
Systems which use high-concentration PV cells (HCPV) currently possess the highest efficiency of all existing solar technology. Thanks to this efficiency, they also result in less wasted energy and materials, as well as land use.
However, the technology is highly dependent on location, and best suited to the U.S.’s “sun belt” and the densely populated Mediterranean coast in Europe. (As noted in our previous post on solar panel types, monocrystalline silicon cell technology is best suited for climates such as the UK. It remains the single most popular variety in Ireland.)
Cadmium telluride solar cells
Cadmium telluride is a stable crystalline compound used to produce cadmium telluride solar cells (CdTe). This technology has extremely high absorption, with a low manufacturing cost, and minimal use of water during the production process.
This means that it is cost-effective, extremely efficient, and environmentally friendly. While cadmium telluride is toxic if ingested, when encapsulated for manufacturing the compound is rendered harmless.
New solar technology: concluding thoughts
Solar energy is changing all the time, with increasing domestic and commercial uptake worldwide. As efficiency improves, the industry will likely continue to grow. At Caldor we only work with existing systems that are widely recognised as industry leaders, such as Sunpower, Jinko, Longi, Q-Cell, JA Solar, Canadian Solar, and many others. But we’re also excited by emerging solar technologies and the future of renewable innovation.
Caldor are dedicated to making the search for solar technology as easy and transparent as possible. Check out our useful glossary of common solar power-related terms here.
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