The Real Story About Solar Panel Efficiency

All too often, news stories about solar power deal with some major solar panel efficiency breakthrough that will completely change everything about this abundant energy source.

The truth of the matter is that improvements in solar cell and solar module efficiency do not need to occur for the solar power movement to continue growing as quickly as it is. The primary reasons for this are twofold; one concerns price and the other deals with installation space.
solar panel efficiency breakthrough
Let’s consider price for starters. Public sentiment appears to be that if there is some miraculous breakthrough in efficiency percentage that solar power will finally be cheap and widely available. The main reason why this doesn’t matter is the fact that the price of solar panels only represents about 25 percent of the total cost of going solar. So if some new technology is taken to market tomorrow which doubles the efficiency levels and you only need half as many solar panels, the cost of solar power does not change too dramatically. In this example in which the efficiency level takes a considerable leap and doubles, total savings are only a bit more than 10 percent.

The other consideration, available space, is not an issue either. On a national scale, a very small percentage of the total land mass in America would be needed to supply the whole country with electricity from solar energy. On a scale that matters more to most of us, in a high majority of cases, a homeowner’s rooftop allows for enough space for a solar panel system to supply that home with all of the energy it requires.

There are easily many thousands of scientists and engineers that have been working to improve solar efficiency for many years now. All of this time and expertise has only resulted in incremental improvements. This is not to say that there will not eventually be some major breakthrough in the near future. The point should be that solar power savings are possible right now. Why wait any longer to start saving on electricity bills?

While it is understood that the many news organizations that exist need a constant supply of stories to stay current and relevant, solar panel efficiency breakthrough stories do a disservice to us all by making it seem like the time for solar power is not quite here yet. Homeowners that dig a little deeper will see that now is a great time to invest in solar power as the savings over the long term are massive.

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