How efficient are solar panels?
What factors affect solar panel efficiency?
- The amount of light reflected away from the cell's surface.
- The intensity of the sun
- The amount of cloud cover
- Heat build-up, which affects the conductivity of the semiconductors in the PV cells.
Solar panel design affects efficiency mainly by the way the cells are laid out and configured along the panel.
The color of the protective backsheet also plays a role, because high temperatures actually reduce efficiency. So colors like blue or green are more effective than black.
Solar panel inclination
Solar panel materials
There are three main types of solar panels:
- Monocrystalline: made of high-purity silicon, are generally seen as the most efficient. These are more expensive and take up less space.
- Polycrystalline: slightly less efficient, cost less, and may be a good option for facilities that have more space.
- Thin-film: the least efficient, but their lighter weight makes them more adaptable to a variety of uses including transportation. Thin-film solar panels are.
Most people would assume the hotter the sun, the greater the solar panel efficiency. Actually that’s not true.
The semiconductors in solar panels are sensitive to high temperatures.
According to manufacturing standards, 25 °C or 77 °F temperature is the optimum temperature of photovoltaic solar panels.