As we know, solar energy is a renewable energy source that produces clean energy because it doesn’t produce CO2 emissions or other harmful gases. The solar power system has improved leaps and bounds since the beginning. The latest development in solar technology has placed the industry for growth. Also worth mentioning is the recent development in solar photovoltaic technology, which has contributed to the industry’s success.
In Malaysia, the solar power system looks very bright as the Government has implemented a national power generation programme to boost solar energy capacity. The solar industry in Malaysia is used for solar thermal applications and PV technologies. Solar thermal applications are where heat from solar energy is used for heating purposes, while PV technologies are for electricity generation.
This post will give you a good idea on the advances in PV technology.
Advances in Solar Technology
Scientists are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar cells, which are responsible for converting sunlight to electricity. A solar PV array is made up of hundreds or even thousands of solar cells.
The downside of solar cells is that 85% of the sunlight that gets to them does not become electricity. As such, researchers are looking at how to boost the light capture and conversion.
Lately, a group of scientists at the University of Toronto developed a new type of light-sensitive nanoparticle called colloidal quantum dots. This new technology is believed to be less expensive and more flexible material for solar cells.
The good news is that these new materials use n-type and p-type semiconductors that can work outdoors, giving a practical application for the solar industry.
Solar panels that have used this new technology could convert 8% more sunlight.
At Imperial College, London, researchers have discovered a new material called gallium arsenide. This new material is believed to make solar PV systems three times more efficient.
The solar cells called “triple junction cells” can be chemically changed in a manner that optimizes sunlight capture, making them much more efficient. Because the model uses a sensor-driven window blind, it is capable of tracking sunlight along with light pipes, guiding the light into the system.
As solar power systems continue to develop, scientists are paying more attention to finding new ways to store energy produced by solar PV systems.
Today, electricity produced by a solar PV system must be used immediately or be lost.
Although there are several batteries on the market that can store this energy, they are not efficient, plus they are expensive and have a pretty short shelf life. Because of these issues, they are still not a good option for utility companies and consumers.
Novatec Solar is a company that has recently commissioned a promising energy storage solution for solar PV systems using a molten salt storage technology.
The molten salt storage technology uses inorganic salts to transfer energy produced by solar PV systems into solar thermal using heat transfer fluid rather than oils.
There will be many benefits to this new technology once it is finished. The most important one is that the cost to store solar energy will become cheaper and utility companies will be able to use solar power plants as baseload plants.
Researchers in the United States Department of Energy have created a battery that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than anything on the market today.
The difference between this battery and the ones on the market is that the rechargeable battery is built into the solar panel itself, as opposed to operating as two standalone systems.
Solar power systems are expensive compared to traditional fuel sources because of the manufacturing process. This is the reason why scientists are focusing on ways to improve the efficiency of how solar components are manufactured.
Today, 90% of solar panels are made of silicon semiconductors, the key ingredient to converting sunlight into electricity.
The next generation of solar panels will be made of a thin-film technology that uses narrow coatings of magnesium chloride in solar cells. This technology would be cheaper and more efficient to engage in the photovoltaic process.
The good news is, once it is accomplished, the solar companies in Malaysia will be able to use these new technologies to provide customers with clean energy at affordable prices.