There have been some really exciting improvements lately in the production of solar panels. The use of silicon ink to print thin solar cells rather than taking a solid chunk of silicon and cutting it into thin wafers uses less raw materials and boosts efficiency by 18%. There’s also been findings that a microscopic algae called diatoms might be used to achieve similar results to silicon solar cells but at a lower cost.
There is a theoretical limit to the efficiency of solar power because of the narrow band of solar radiation that can be absorbed and converted to electricity. For different technologies, this efficiency limit varies between 30% and 60%. This would still be an improvement over some photovoltaic cells that can only attain an efficiency of 20%.
In a perfect world we should be able to get 100% of the solar energy that the photo voltaic (PV) panels come in contact with. Currently our solar panels get about 20% efficiency. So, we can gain about 80% efficiency on the technology we have today.
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