Solar Conversion Efficiency

Solar Conversion Efficiency

The solar conversion efficiency of a solar cell or a photovoltaic cell is determined by how much of the sunlight the cell is able to convert into electrical energy. In other words, the proportion of the total light energy that a photovoltaic cell is able to convert into usable electricity is the solar conversion efficiency of that particular type of PV cell. It is on the basis of the solar conversion efficiency of a cell and the cost of its production that a PV cell is judged and ranked. The reason why it is so important that the solar conversion efficiency is significantly higher than previous generations is due to the fact that it is an alternative source of power that was invented mainly to reduce the pressure off from non-renewable sources of energy. In order to successfully do that, the solar cells need to provide a high solar conversion ratio, so that energy can at times replace the use of oil and coal. There are four main types of photovoltaic cells that are usually used in households and below are the names with a little detail and info about each of them.

Amorphous Silicon PV Cells — These cells are not constructed with crystalline silicon, but they have a thin silicon film on the top of the metallic semiconductor (copper mainly). The one advantage that the amorphous silicon panels have over some of the others is that their cheaper production costs make them more affordable. However, since their solar conversion efficiency is as low as 5% or 6%, they may not be ideal if you are looking for benefit in the long run.

Polycrystalline Silicon PV Cells — Also known as multi-crystalline silicon PV cells, these PV cells have metal conductors attached to their sides to stay in contact with the other cells in a panel and also to facilitate electron movement. The Polycrystalline panels have a solar efficiency rate that can be anything in between 12% to 14% and also, they can be the cheapest solar panels that one can buy. Apart from being cheap, it is also easier to replace an individual cell in a panel that consists of many PV cells, thus making the polycrystalline solar panels one of the best panels to install.

Strong Ribbon Silicon PV Cells — These solar cells are quite similar when compared to the polycrystalline panels as far as the energy efficiency rates are concerned; in fact, they are even similar in the way that they are manufactured. They are however, even cheaper than the polycrystalline panels because these cells are constructed out of strips of silicon and metal connectors instead of being constructed purely out of silicon.

Monocrystalline Silicon PV Cells
— The monocrystalline panel consists of one single sheet of silicon with metals attached to the sides of the sheet only in order to further facilitate electron movement. With solar conversion efficiency rates as high as 18%, monocrystalline silicon solar cells or panels are the most effective in doing the job, but are also the most expensive among the four. However, if one manages to look past the initial setup costs, it can save a lot of money in the long run.

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