The Latest Solar Technology and How It Impacts Contractors
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The Latest Solar Technology and How It Impacts Contractors

Solar energy is becoming a more common option for many homes and businesses. This is due to technological advancements and government programs like the solar investment tax credit.

The solar industry has seen ups and downs over the last few years. However, there are signs of stability in the sector.


Heterojunction technology

Heterojunction solar technology is a relatively new solar energy innovation. It combines two technologies in a single cell, allowing for higher efficiency than other solar panel types. The crystalline n-type monocrystalline silicon cell core is sandwiched between layers of thin-film amorphous silicon. This allows low irradiance and soft light to be absorbed on both sides, increasing power production. It also helps to reduce power losses and prevent PID and LID.

The amorphous silicon layer catches extra photons that would be lost in the middle crystalline wafer, resulting in high efficiencies of over 21%. Heterojunction cells can also be produced with fewer steps during manufacturing and require lower cell processing temperatures than other solar technologies like PERC. This translates into lower costs for contractors. It is a promising option for future solar energy applications.

Solar panels paired with battery storage

Photovoltaic solar panels transform sunlight into electricity that powers homes and businesses. Individual solar cells are arranged into modules assembled into PV arrays that can be several meters on a side. The cells are typically coated in glass or another laminate to protect them from damage.

These solar power plants rely on photons, tiny particles of energy that flow through space, and have captured the attention of great minds such as Newton and Einstein. Photovoltaic technology is used in satellites, including the International Space Station, where its vast, reflective wing arrays generate all of its electricity.

Solar contractors who install PV systems often offer battery storage as a way for homeowners to limit their utility bills. Batteries are used to decrease energy consumption during periods of peak demand and, in some states, can earn system owners rebates or credits from their utility. The batteries most commonly used with solar are lithium-ion, with the more common type being NMC, nickel-manganese-cobalt, and the less common LFP, or lithium-iron-phosphate.!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3070.4999820053376!2d-104.938412!3d39.683461!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x0%3A0x8237212f88e30f53!2sPeak%20To%20Peak%20Roofing%20%26%20Exteriors%2C%20LLC!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1657648287966!5m2!1sen!2sus

Perovskite technology

Unlike silicon solar panels, perovskite technology is thinner and can be applied to textured or curved surfaces. It also requires less energy and is more environmentally friendly to produce the same power.

Perovskite solar cells (PSC) are gaining momentum thanks to their low initial cost, rapid manufacturing processes, and flexible designs. But issues with thermodynamic and hygroscopic stability remain barriers to widespread deployment.

A team led by UToledo’s Yan has progressed on the stability issue. Their findings could lead to tandem silicon-perovskite solar cells that can improve power conversion efficiency. The cells combine a silicon solar cell optimized for the infrared range with one highly efficient in the blue and ultraviolet spectrum

Bifocal solar panels

Bifacial solar panels from siding contractors in Colorado have been around for a decade but have gained popularity in recent years thanks to their increased efficiency and lower production costs. They have solar cells on both sides and are often frameless, making them ideal for rooftops and shade structures like carports and pergolas.

The top solar cells on a bifacial panel face the sun directly, functioning similarly to monofacial solar panels. However, the bottom solar cells are designed to absorb reflected sunlight off surfaces like roofs or ground.

This reflects sunlight onto the front-facing solar cells, increasing overall efficiency by up to 11%. This allows a bifacial system to produce up to 35% more energy than a monofacial system. This translates to significant savings for customers and contractors.

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