Solar panels cannot transform all the energy they receive from the sun into electrical energy. The satellite Deep Space 1 is equipped with solar panels which can convert approximately 22% of the available energy absorbed into electrical power. This is much more efficient than solar panels installed on roofs as they can transform up to 14% of the energy absorbed from the sun into electrical energy.
When a friend of mine was researching buying solar panels for his roof in southern California he decided to go with the ones that heat water rather than create electricity because he was much more impressed with their efficiency.
Solar energy also employs storage methods though, which is why energy form solar collection can still be used at night.
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