Sponsored by surfsharkvpn click on the link in the description and enter promo code undecided for 85 off and three extra months for free. Not all solar panels are created equal. There are different materials and technologies that can have a profound impact on the amount of energy generated and the cost, and the past year has had some really interesting advancements that will have a big impact.
So let’s, go over those plus. What, if i told you it might be possible to harvest power from shadows? I’m matt farrell welcome to decided . The cost of solar power has been dropping dramatically over the past decade, while at the same time, solar panel efficiency has been rising.
If you look back to 1977, the cost per watt of solar energy was around 77, but today it’s around 13 cents and is continuing to drop it’s worth taking a quick look at how solar evolved to give some of The latest developments some context there’s a much longer history than you might have realized.
The photoelectric effect was first observed in 1839, and the first patent was awarded to william coblance in 1913, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that solar power started to become a real thing. In 1954, bell labs invented the first practical silicon solar cell, which had an efficiency around six percent.
Solar cell efficiency is how much of the collected sunlight the cell is able to convert into electricity in 1957. Hoffman electronics was able to increase that efficiency to eight percent and then to ten percent by 1959.
. By the time we get into the early 1960s solar cells had achieved about a 14 efficiency. Today, most solar panels are somewhere between 15 and 20 efficient, with some of the higher efficiency models that you can buy being in the low 20 range.
The lg panels i had installed on my roof are 21.1 percent efficient and sunpower has a panel that’s almost 23 efficient, so commercially available. Solar cells have gone from about 10 efficiency in 1959 to 23 efficiency.
Today, that’s. 60 years to more than double the efficiency beyond efficiency of solar panels, it’s, also important to understand the materials used to create them. The primary material used in solar panels today is silicon which can be formed in three ways: monocrystalline polycrystalline and thin.
Film panels, monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency with current ratings between 15 and 23 percent, and a life span around 25 to 30 years to make a monocrystalline or single crystal solar cell silicon is formed into bars and then cut into wafers.
The single crystal structure gives the electrons more room to move and creates a better flow of electricity. Polycrystalline solar panels have average efficiencies between 12 and 18 percent with a 23 to 27 year.
Life span they’re, also made from silicon, but instead of cutting bars of single crystal wafers manufacturers melt many fragments of silicon together to form the wafers. The mixture of many kinds of crystals gives the electrons less room to move, so they’re, not quite as efficient, but the benefit is the price because they’re cheaper to produce.
And finally, there’s, thin film, which is the least efficient, which is between 9 and 14, and a life span closer to 20 years instead of forming thicker rigid wafers. This is a very thin layer that can be applied to a plastic to create flexible solar panels.
These are typically only seen in large scale installations where space isn’t a premium or you need to mold a cell to the shape of something like an rv or a boat. So are we stuck at 23 efficient solar panels? No, but it’s not far off from the theoretical maximum efficiency of a single material.
It’s referred to as the shockley quasar limit and for silicon panels. That’s around 30 percent. But the good news is we aren’t limited to silicon there’s, been growing research around perovskite, which is a class of man-made compounds that share the same crystalline structure as the calcium, titanium oxide mineral, with the same name.
What makes perovskite an enticing silicon alternative is that the structure makes them highly effective at converting light photons into usable electricity. They’re capable of beating traditional mono and polycrystalline silicon solar cell efficiency, and since they’re made from a man-made compound manufacturing costs should be a lot lower.
Perovskite cells can be made through a process called solution, processing which is very similar to printing of newspapers. You can use inkjet printers to deposit materials on plastic sheets, so perovskite solar cells are another form of thin film solar, but with a much higher efficiency.
And, unlike silicon, you don’t have to heat it to thousands of degrees to form it, but there are challenges around perovskite, which includes shorter lifespan, durability and toxicity. Perovskites are more sensitive to air and moisture which can dramatically shorten their life span.
But this may not be a show stopper, since solar cells are already sealed inside of plastic and glass for protection. However, if these are going to catch on, they’ Ll need to match the 20 to 25 year, warranties that you see on most solar cells today.
As for toxicity, many of the formulations include lead, which could become problematic if not handled and recycled properly. All challenges that can be dealt with, including different formulations, that don’t use lead, but it’s worth making a note of in the time that scientists have been researching perovskite solar cells.
The efficiency has gone from 3.8 in 2009 to 25.2 percent this year in single junction or single-layer architectures. If you compare that to silicon’s, efficiency increase since the 1970s, when the national renewable energy laboratory started tracking this data, it’s.
A dramatic achievement today’s. Most efficient panels, like my lg panels, are where researchers were in the lab almost 20 to 30 years ago. The fact that perovskite has advanced so far so quickly is very promising, but doesn’t.
Stop there. There’s, been a lot of work around layering, multiple solar technologies to do more together than they can on their own. This is called multi-junction solar. Each layer is designed to absorb a different wavelength of the incoming sunlight, so collectively they can capture more energy.
There are a couple of companies combining silicon and perovskite in tandem layers to do just that. A san francisco, startup, swift, solar and oxford pv are both using a thin layer of perovskite film, along with a more standard silicon, solar cell with promising results.
The silicon absorbs the red band of the visible light spectrum and the perovskite absorbs the blue spectrum. Oxford pv has reached a 28 efficiency and thinks they’ll, be able to break that 30 milestone.
They aren’t available in the market yet, but they are actively setting up a mass production line with help from meyer burger, which is one of the largest suppliers of photovoltaic manufacturing equipment, and they’re expecting to have that complete by The end of this year at launch they’re, expecting to have a 400 watt 60 cell module available with a 500 watt version down the line for comparison.
My solar panels are 365 watts, but the biggest breakthrough is from the national renewable energy laboratory. They’ve fabricated, a solar cell in the lab, with an efficiency of 47.1 percent, which set a record this year.
Now this was in a lab and it used concentrated illumination, but even under one sun illumination, which simulates more real-world conditions, it achieved a 39.2 efficiency how they did. It is pretty clever.
This is another multijunction cell, but instead of two tandem layers, it’s, a six junction solar cell, which basically means they’re layering, six different solar technology layers. In total, there are 140 layers of the six different solar materials and all combined are still less than one-third.
The thickness of a human hair as amazing as that is it’s still in the lab, and it’s, not ready for mass manufacturing. This is helping to establish what’s possible on the high end and shows a path forward for companies and other researchers, and it proves that we should be able to get past that 30 efficiency limit of a single material.
But before i get to the craziest research breakthrough and you’re going to want to see it, i’d like to thank surfshark for sponsoring this video. I always use a vpn when traveling and using free wi-fi in airports and hotels, but that’s, not the only reason to use one surfshark encrypts, all of the data that you send over the internet.
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No risk tried out for yourself link in the description below and thanks to surfshark and to all of you for supporting the channel and finally, a little bit of crazy science fiction level. Technology and one that i wouldn’
T expect to see anytime soon. But if researchers can build on this, it’s kind of crazy. What if you could generate power from shadows and not just light? Researchers from the national university of singapore have developed a prototype of device called the shadow effect energy generator, which generates power from you guessed.
It shadows the way the technology works is by generating and harvesting a small amount of electricity from the difference. In contrast between the shadow and the illuminated sections of the device, if the device is in full shadow or full light, it’s, not generating voltage, but the closer you get to 50 coverage.
The more voltage it produces. The working prototype generates about 1.2 volts, which is enough energy to power, a digital watch in their demonstration. This type of technology could take advantage of passing shadows like trees or clouds on a solar panel.
Today, if a solar panel gets partially obstructed, it stops producing energy. A solar panel equipped with this could turn a tree or a cloud’s, shadow into power. It could also be put to use as a collector inside of a house which are full of passing shadows all the time they can also double.
As a sensor and log shadows and movement passing over it, which could be used in applications with smart home devices again, this one is a long way off from anything practical. It’s still very much in the lab, but it’s.
A very unique concept: we’re thinking about now jump into the comments, and let me know what you think and if you’ve been holding off on solar until something like these breakthroughs comes to market and, as always, a special.
Thank you to all my patrons if you like, this video, be sure to check out one of the ones i have linked to right here be sure to subscribe. If you think i’ve earned it, and as always thanks so much for watching.
I’ll, see you in the next one