• Advertise Locally with Borderstan in 2013!


Categorized | Business


  • One Photo A Day - Luis Gomez



What Is New Under the Sun? New Solar Panels

"Solar"

Amonix has a 34.5% peak efficiency solar module record; verified by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, May, 2012. (Courtsey of Amonix)

From John Shannon who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com

"John Shannon"

John Shannon writes a biweekly column for Borderstan.com.

Most installed solar panels (also known as solar modules) in North America and Europe have an 11% efficiency-rating. That is, of the sunlight falling on them approximately 11% of that sunlight is converted into direct current electricity.

These are the panels with which we are most familiar and for the countries mentioned, they provide a tiny percentage of total electrical production there.

For example, Germany has over one-million solar panels installed with more installed every day. Even so, all of Germany’s solar panels combined supply less than 3% of German electricity needs.

Thanks to our computer-controlled electrical grids,¬†utility companies¬†can switch to the lowest cost¬†minute-by-minute¬†electricity during the day due to something called ‚ÄėMerit Order‚Äô ranking.

When the Sun is shining, every kilowatt of solar energy is spoken-for as it is by far the lowest-priced electricity available to utility companies during the daylight hours. In Germany,¬†electrical rates drop by 15 to 40%¬†during the daytime ‚ÄĒ¬†due to the lower¬†Merit Order price¬†of solar power.

Solar provides lower cost electricity than the electricity produced by feeding a coal-fired burner with expensive coal ($70 Р$155 per ton, plus transportation) with the required small army of personnel to unload coal from rail cars, oversee safety in the power plant, load the coal and otherwise maintain a billion dollar coal-fired power plant for example.

What¬†is¬†new under the Sun, is that many of those old 11% efficiency solar panels are soon to be replaced with 22% to 24% efficiency solar panels. That‚Äôs right, technology marches along and not just in regards to video games! The latest production solar panels are a ‚Äėdrop in‚Äô replacement for the older panels.

Yes, a 100 megawatt¬†solar power plant¬†can become a 200 megawatt power plant ‚ÄĒ¬†just by replacing the panels with more efficient ones.

And, unlike doubling the capacity of a coal-fired, natural gas or nuclear power plant, this won’t cost another billion dollars, nor entail yet another lengthy political fight to obtain approval. No, the old, low-efficiency panels will simply be unbolted from their brackets and the new higher-efficiency ones will be bolted into place. All of which should take a few weeks while the rest of the solar power plant continues to operate normally.

It turns out that due to mass production and a competitive marketplace, the per panel price of the new efficient panels is lower than the originally-installed panels.

To oversimplify this equation, Germany will jump from 3% solar¬†electrical power production¬†to 6% — just by replacing their panels with more efficient ones.

Where will it end you ask? Earlier this year, a new solar panel was announced which surpasses the 24% panel by a significant margin.

In only ten years, we have come from panels with an 11% efficiency-rating typically costing around $100. per panel, to 24% efficiency-rating panels costing $20. per panel at utility-scale volumes. Within 24-months, Amonix 33% efficiency (CPV) solar panels will go into full production. At this rate, I can’t wait for 2030!

To watch a YouTube video about the Amonix 33% CPV solar program, click here.

This post was written by:

- who has written 24 posts on Borderstan.

Shannon writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. My blogs appear in the Arabian Gazette, EcoPoint, EnergyBoom, Huffington Post, United Nations Development Programme, WACSI. It is important to assist all levels of government and the business community to find sustainable ways forward for industry and consumers. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

Contact the author

All posts written by this author are copyrighted. Please see our User & Privacy Policies page for more information.

  • One Photo A Day - Luis Gomez


Comments are closed.