Solar panels promise us a lot – a cleaner, cheaper source of renewable energy generated by the sun’s abundant rays. But current technology is not as efficient as it should be to be dominant in the market. It is rare that the day we do not hear from Elon Musk, the latest presentation of the new Tesla Model X, we see today that the world’s most efficient solar panels now belong to Elon Musk.
SolarCity, the company founded by cousins of Elon Musk Lyndon and Peter Rive, announced that it has created the most efficient solar panel in the world, with an efficiency of 22.04%. Rival SunPower has panels that are 21.5% efficient.
A Y Combinator startup that installs solar panels in Mexico says that if SolarCity’s new panel is indeed producing 22% efficiency, they would be the most efficient panels in the world. At least on the surface.
He tells us that the efficiency can be as high as 40%, but using very expensive materials which would not be cost effective. There are alternative means, such as the robot dedicated to cleaning solar panels to increase their efficiency, but these are still very complicated methods to automate.
SolarCity created its new panel using a proprietary process that Not only increases efficiency, but also lowers manufacturing costs compared to other high efficiency technologies the same size as other solar panels, adding 30-40% more power per solar panel.
We will not get lost in the technical details. The main thing is that these new panels promise higher production at lower cost – and SolarCity claims it is the most efficient solar panel today.
SolarCity plans to produce a small batch of these new modules at its 100 MW pilot plant in Fremont, California. It then plans to move production to its new factory in Buffalo, New York. The company plans to produce 9,000 to 10,000 solar panels per day when production is in full swing.
The company recently announced an initiative to lower the cost of solar power for low-income families in California.