Among the few (actually working) “free” or “cheap” energy devices, solar panels are fascinating devices. Prices have been dropping steadily for several years now, and for many people they are a really – also financially – viable alternative. And although efficiency and quality has improved over the years, a solarpanel is not a solarpanel is not a solarpanel. In other words, not all panels are created equal, and not all panels last equally well. And that’s not just mechanically, but also electrically. Panel efficiency can vary a lot – depending on many factors – but also the longevity can vary quite a bit.
Ten times less degradation
Some panels have been measured – tested, by real researchers – and proven to be degrading through exposure to the Sun much less than other panels. In more concrete numbers, that’s a difference between 0,1% efficiency degradation from solar exposure up to 1% per year – the latter is no less than ten times as much. Kind of worrying when one just has invested a small fortune into an extensive solar installation.
I think the below video – although rather commercial in nature – shows some interesting stuff when it comes to panel quality. It is good to see that not all production and innovation these days comes from the Orient: these are US designed and manufactured panels of very high quality and efficiency: up to 22%. Protected by reams of patents, and of innovative design. They even look different from standard panels: the cells seem all deep black, much like mono-crystalline cell panels, but darker, which I find interesting.
If you’re contemplating a solar installation it is worth having a look at this (professionally made) YouTube video.
Another, more in-depth video also worth watching is this one:
The latter one is showing some interesting stuff about manufacturing, efficiency, temperature considerations and more.
Maritime Solar – why not yet?
Finally, we have a little clip with certified electro-nut Robert Llewellyn with a nice electric boat – something that I know would be quite interesting here in the Philippines as well, albeit of a completely different design of course. It’s a really nice ship – but what I don’t understand is the lack of solar panels on that boat’s roof. Considering the type of boats predominantly locally used here, which is a type of Polynesian-inspired design with outriggers, much like a catamaran, I would say that there’s plenty of room for a number of panels on the roof and perhaps even on the left and right outriggers.