The number of homeowners and business owners who are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint is pretty astounding and are beginning to use solar panels. Our clients help those property owners meet their energy saving goals, so we’re always looking for innovations in solar technology that we can share with our readers. We’ve found several incredible innovations to share with you today, so let’s cut to the chase.
Improvements in Photovoltaic Panels
It’s no secret that solar energy isn’t as efficient as we would like to see. In fact only about 23% of the sunlight that they receive is converted into usable electricity; this is, however a massive increase over the 10% achieved in the earliest photovoltaic (PV) panels. All improvements toward solar energy should be considered great successes toward the path to a more energy efficient future.
Industry leading companies are always looking at ways to improve the percentage of solar energy turned to electricity. Recent reports indicate a successful conversion of 34% of solar energy turned to usable electricity. The most recent innovations in solar power show a conversion rate of 40.8% in a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Types of Solar Panels
Electrical Professionals currently have access to a variety of solar panels to choose from, and more are being invented and tested on a regular basis. Some of these innovative ideas are brought into being because of the aesthetic value they provide. Many homeowners and commercial property owners tend to veer away from the clunky appearance of traditional solar panels. Here are a few impressive alternatives to the traditional solar panel:
- Solar Shingles: Every habitable structural build requires a sturdy roof with some type of roofing material to protect against elemental damage. Solar shingles are simply solar cells integrated into roofing shingles to provide protection and energy production in one. Solar shingles are installed just like regular roofing shingles.
- Wall Systems: Also referred to as building integrated photovoltaics, these wall systems are designed to collect solar energy and look good while doing it. They may be implemented as part of a pattern, integrated as part of the company logo, or even used as an entire wall system.
- Solar Balloons: Everyone is game for smaller, more effective, and more attractive solar panels. Solar balloons are proving to be a likely candidate for all three requirements. They’re roughly 400 times less expensive to create than traditional solar panels, and they’re nearly as efficient. We’ll be keeping our eye on these.
- Film: Film solar panels, while not quite as efficient as their larger silicon-based counterparts yet, are gaining popularity for a variety of reasons. They’re lightweight and may be used in areas where a traditional solar panel isn’t feasible.
- Mobile Solar Collectors: Hikers, bikers, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts are implementing solar power into their daily life and adventures with mobile solar collectors. The Aervoe power bank is a shining example of mobile solar collectors.
Improved Tax Incentives for Choosing Solar
Tax incentives for choosing solar alternatives have improved dramatically over the years. We have seen increasing tax incentives for the last ten years, and we anticipate that they will only get better over time. That doesn’t mean you should wait, however, to install a new solar panel system or to discuss these options with your clients.
More than 60 Years of Development
These impressive innovations in solar power are the result of more than 60 years of development. This isn’t some passing fad that will go away any time in the near future. We’re expecting to see some pretty amazing improvements to the types of solar panels available in the coming years, but traditional panels continue to be a big seller as well. They’re an excellent way for property owners to become familiar with solar power and the nuances involved in maintaining a solar power system.