What Is Solar Panel Efficiency and Why Is It Important?

What Is Solar Panel Efficiency and Why Is It Important

A solar panel’s efficiency is a measurement of its ability to convert sunlight into electricity. If the same amount of sunlight shines for the same amount of time on two different panels, the panel that consistently produces more electricity is considered to be more efficient.

In other words, if you take two panels of the same size, the panel with 21% efficiency will produce 50% more kWh (kilowatt-hours) than the panel with 14% efficiency. Needless to say, higher efficiency significantly increases the amount of electricity the solar panels at your Temecula, CA, property can produce over time.

In previous articles, we explained how proper cleaning affects solar panel efficiency and why spring is a great time to install new solar panels. Now we’ll help you find the right solar panels for you by answering some common questions about solar panel efficiency. Keep reading to learn more.

Can solar panels be 100% efficient?

As of this writing, there’s no such thing as a 100% efficient solar panel. Going by the laws of physics alone, a 100% conversion rate via photovoltaic cells would be impossible simply because the spectrum of radiation the sun puts out consists of more than just light.

This was discovered in 1961 by physicists Hans Queisser and William Shockley. According to their findings, the maximum amount of solar energy that could be captured by photovoltaic cells couldn’t exceed 33.7%.

Needless to say, just because we don’t currently have a way to harvest more than 33.7% of the sun’s energy doesn’t mean that new discoveries and technological advancements aren’t going to find a way to get around that limitation in the future.

Some technologies that can do that already exist, such as:

  • Concentrated PV (CPV) is an as-of-yet unpopular technology that uses a large number of tiny mirrors in each solar cell to “bounce” the sunlight around and maximize efficiency
  • Solar heating technologies such as solar hot water heaters and solar thermal electricity plants use the sun’s heat to produce energy

Is solar panel efficiency improving?

Since 2010, solar panel efficiency has been consistently increasing by about 0.5% per year. Many solar panels these days have an efficiency of over 20%. If you live in a sunny area like Temecula Valley, these efficiency levels should be more than enough to power a typical American house.

Should I invest in high-efficiency solar panels?

Although standard solar panels are powerful enough to meet the needs of most homes, premium panels still have some advantages, including:

  • They pay for themselves faster. The greater efficiency translates into increased savings every month, which in turn means your solar panels will recoup their price sooner.
  • Solar panels lose efficiency as they age. By purchasing higher quality panels now, your solar panels will be able to provide you with enough energy even when they’re nearing the end of their service life.
  • More efficient solar panels are physically smaller. This allows you to further increase your efficiency by fitting more solar panels on the same roof. This is especially useful for homeowners who have limited space.

s-solar-panel-efficiency-improvingWhere can I get the most efficient solar panels in Temecula, CA?

Whether you’re looking to buy new solar panels, clean your current ones, or learn more about solar panel efficiency at different temperatures, you can count on Action Solar to answer your questions and provide you with the full range of solar panel installation, repair, and maintenance services.

We’re a long-standing solar company that has been serving both residential and commercial clients in Temecula since 1975. Our highly skilled team of friendly and diligent technicians is well-versed in the most modern solar panel technologies and equipment. Contact us today.