Photo by Zbynek Burival
Since the creation of the solar cell in the late 1800s, scientists and engineers have been fascinated with better harnessing the power of the sun. With so much potential, thousands of improvements have been made to solar technology. As we enter a new decade, solar proves to be the most affordable and accessible renewable energy source. With that in mind, let’s look into what’s new for solar panels and tech in 2020.
3 Major Improvements to Solar Panel Tech:
1. Better solar cells – The key component of any solar panel is the solar cell. Solar cells are found within the panels and convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Unfortunately, current solar cells perform at around 15% efficiency, meaning that 85% of the sun that hits the panels is not converted to energy. In order to boost cell performance in 2020, scientists are experimenting with new technology, including light sensitive nanoparticles and gallium arsenide.
2. Better and cheaper solar panels – As solar cells improve, manufacturers are looking for ways to increase solar panel life, while decreasing overall panel cost. Rather than using traditional silicon semiconductors, manufacturers are seeking to incorporate magnesium chloride, a more unstable compound element, into the solar cells. Because magnesium chloride is an abundant resource extracted from the sea, its cheap and non-toxic.
3. Better energy storage – With solar panels becoming more powerful and efficient than ever, scientists are looking for a better way to store unused electricity. While there are batteries on the market, they are expensive, inefficient, and have a short shelf life. In 2020, several projects are underway to discover better ways of storing extra power, like Molten Salt Storage Technology and solar panels with built-in batteries.
3 New Solar Tech Devices in 2020!
1. Solar Skin – Solar skin is a developing technology created by two MIT engineers that allows homeowners to customize the look of their panels. Rather than having aesthetically displeasing blue panels on their roof, or black panels on a roof that is not black, homeowners can now blend their panels with roof tiling, add patterns, and even incorporate art into their solar design!
2. Solar Fabric – For the first time, solar will become a part of our everyday clothing. With every fiber absorbing energy from the sun, solar fabric allows its wearer to produce electricity to charge a phone, keep warm, and have access to power on the go.
3. Portable Solar – Portable solar panels is not a new tech by any standards. However, these portable panels are becoming more powerful and affordable for the everyday consumer. Portable solar allows users to enjoy electricity off-the-grid, and while camping or recreating.
3 Solar Advances to Expect Over the Next Decade!
1. Solar Ocean Farms – We all are familiar with today’s massive desert solar farms, but much of the public is unaware that solar ocean farms are also in the works. These floating islands of solar panels will be able to produce massive amounts of energy and play a big role in the development of renewable energy around the globe.
2. Solar Noise Barriers – The US Department of Energy is seeking to adapt the 3,000 miles of highway noise barriers into a renewable energy source. The new structures will incorporate solar panels into the noise blocking walls that are projected to produce enough electricity to power up to 37,000 homes.
3. Solar at Night – As we all know, solar panels cannot generate electricity at night. Researchers from the University of California claim that they have discovered a new solar cell that is capable of generating electricity during the night. Although it only produces about a quarter of the energy a solar cell produces during the day, it brings industry changing capabilities to solar.
Going Solar in 2020
With so many advances in solar technology, there is no better time to go solar! Here at Blue Raven Solar, our customers are experiencing all the benefits of owning a solar system. If you’d like to know more about how solar can impact your electricity bill, the environment, and your home’s value, download our free eBook by clicking here.