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Old 10-25-2014, 10:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Good, better, best solar cells?

Found this chronology chart of solar cell developers & development:

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Old 10-25-2014, 10:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Delighted to see that basic research continues along with materials technology.
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Theres a lot more to solar cells than meets the eye.

In addition to the efficiency you got different classes of cells. Then you have panels of different voltages. Some panels are made for 12 volt batteries, others are made for grid tie inverters and are a higher voltage.

You really need to make a chart of what you want to accomplish, then work it out. Find the most limiting factor rathers its size of the solar array, say your roof or part of a yard or budget. Then work backwards.

Lets say you are going off grid or want to knock 50 bucks off your power bill or add power to a garage or basement.
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Old 10-25-2014, 05:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cobb View Post
Some panels are made for 12 volt batteries, others are made for grid tie inverters and are a higher voltage.
There are charge controllers and such that give the designer flexibility to choose the panels they want. The days of the "panels made for 12 volt batteries" are long past....

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Old 10-25-2014, 05:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In general, monocrystaline is more efficient, and longer lasting than amorphous.

The cheaper ones are often amorphous.

Amorphous may be slightly better under a partially cloudy sky.

Efficiency is sort of irrelevant. What does it cost, per delivered watt? The exception being a small roof that needs panels that are high watt per square foot.

The big companies that have been at it for a while are less likely to go out of business and stiff you on a warranty.

Wholesale solar is often very illuminating on the good deals to be had on panels.

Solar Panels from Wholesale Solar

If I could get amorphous panels for half the cost of mono-crystaline, I'd just put up twice as much, assuming both from a name brand company with similar warranties.

Ten years from now, I think it will look uneconomic to make electricity out of coal, with the possible exception of base load at night.

There's talk of .36 a watt solar panels on the horizon. If that happens, it's going to be a disruptive game changer. Hey, we can all hope.

I'd hate to see the big fossil energy companies suffer. I knew there was a fundamental sea change when traditional energy companies started buying pv manufacturers.
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Efficiency is also a function of cell temperature and other conditions!

The "temperature" of the radiation coming from the sun is what, 5700K? So the highest possible efficiency of a solar cell is about 95%.
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Are angle of incidence and reflective collectors considerations?
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have some mono and poly cells and the polys kick butt except in direct sun light. In those situations the monos take over, but its with the sun a perfect 90 degrees or directly over head. In indirect sun light or over cast days the polys rock.
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Old 10-26-2014, 07:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by solarguy View Post
There's talk of .36 a watt solar panels on the horizon.
Looks like about $1/ Watt right now.
Astronergy CHSM 6610P 255-watt solar panel
I am in zone 5.
4 hours of solar energy / day average. 2 hours in the winter.
Solar Insolation Map
I would need $12,000 in panels to charge 80 miles into a car during the winter. Versus $7 in gas. Or $3.80 from the grid. 250 round trips per year would be 12.5 years for pay back. Might be able to reduce my electric bill from surplus production on the better days and in the peak of summer. $200 per year? 10 year payback.
Youch! A top of the line grid tie charge controller brings the 12.7kWh system to $20,000 with no batteries.

Last edited by sendler; 10-26-2014 at 07:37 AM..
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