New solar panels are evolving daily in design, making photovoltaic energy more and more viable for energy consumers. Solar cells were first created in the 1880s by Charles Fritts. Then, in the 1920s and 1930s, German doctor Bruno Lange made more progress in how to use silicon cells for energy. In 1954, Russell Ohl took the reins, conducting his own research and producing more progress in the field. And with the research Ohl released, Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Darryl Chapin were able to create the first silicon solar cell. This cell was able to produce six times more energy than Lange’s first cell.
That was quite a bit of progress in PV energy – but it was over a very long period of time.
Today’s speed of technological development means new solar panels are being developed all the time. Two new advances are driving the field now. The first concept is to take solar panels and line them with strips of silicon instead of plating them completely. This reduces the amount of precious product used during manufacture. Specifically, half as much silicon is used these new solar panels. And astonishingly enough, they produce 90 percent of the energy a silicon-coated panel does. This method cuts cost in half but only reduces productivity by 10 percent. Many people find that this is a price low enough to handle a PV systems. And of course, with cheaper costs, the systems are much easier to produce, sell and spread.
Another big scientific development reduces cost, increases productivity and makes PV systems more attainable. It’s called the silicon and spinach combination, and though it sounds like a funny pair it is a powerful duo, nonetheless. Spinach contains a photosynthetic protein which converts light into electrochemical energy. When this protein is combined with a silicon cell, it is called a biohybrid cell. The biohybrid cell creates 1,000 times more output than any other metal in combination with this photosynthetic protein. As a result, a panel two feet square can produce at least 100 milliamps with one volt. That is enough to power a variety of electrical devices at once. Not only does this method reduce the cost of production, because less silicon is used, but it also increases energy production with less effort.
In only a handful of years, scientists and developers have come up with numerous designs for new solar panels. And, one of the most alluring appeals of these ideas is that they last. These designs create PV systems that last a good 40 to 80 years. That is why PV installers are willing to attach a 25 year warranty on average. With that kind of reassurance, one only has to maintain the system and keep it in working order.
And how is that done? Simply wash it with warm water and dishwashing liquid as if it were a car windshield. Dust and debris reduce efficiency rates. However, with just a quick wash a PV system can be put back into excellent working order.
The rate at which new solar panels are being developed is rapid. They are becoming easy to build, cheaper to build and quicker to build. This makes them more attainable to the general public and, quite frankly, more alluring to purchase.