Panasonic Has Just Invented The World’s Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panel

Panasonic’s claim of a 22.5% sunlight to electricity conversion rate was confirmed by the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Another day, another milestone passed in the never-ending pursuit of excellence in solar energy. Panasonic’s historic achievement came barely a week after their main competitor, SolarCity, announced that they had developed their own take on the world’s most efficient solar panel. Business rivalry aside, the trend is clear and it is good news for everyone — solar panel technology is continuing to improve with every passing day.

Playing the solar panel percentages

Increasing the efficiency of solar panels by even half a percentage point can result in massive gains over a solar panel’s lifetime. This is because a solar cell works every hour of every day for twenty-five years, so a little percentage point plus adds up to a big difference in the total amount of electricity generated for your home.

Panasonic’s new prototype is a 72-cell, 270-watt model that is built using crystalline silicon solar cells. These crystalline silicon cells are excellent for domestic rooftops because they are much more affordable to manufacture than other technologies. Silicon crystalline cells are currently the best technology available when it comes to the cost per watt ratio, which is why this announcement is big news for homeowners.

So what is the best solar panel on the market?

Panasonic’s record-breaking solar panel is a prototype, and not yet available for consumers. But it is ready for mass-production and able to generate electricity straight off the production line, which sets it apart from the 40% effective solar panels that scientists are already able to build, but are not yet able to mass produce.

We think that this solar panel will be a genuine contender for best solar panel on the market, but only if they are able to keep the price point down. We used to install plenty of Panasonic HIT-N240 hybrid solar panels, which operated at a cool 19% efficiency for the 230-watt model, but they’ve become expensive when compared to their rivals, particularly LG, so it’s been awhile since we last installed one. That said, Panasonic are a great manufacturer and we would be keen continue installing their products if the opportunity ever arose.

What impact will Panasonic’s new solar panel have on the market?

We currently install mainly LG solar panels, such as the MonoX, because their excellent efficiency, industry-leading warranties and affordable price all add up to give our customers the best possible deal. The new Panasonic panel will beat LG on efficiency, but price and durability are equally important factors. We can’t wait to get our first look at this new panel in the flesh so that we can come to a final decision on whether Panasonic’s new panel will truly be a gamechanger.

If you are looking to have a Panasonic solar panel installed, an LG solar panel installed, would like to have some solar hot water maintenance or are even interested in finding an underfloor heating supplier in Essex, get in touch with us over at info@completerenewables.co.uk.

Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?

There are a lot of confused individuals out there who want to know whether solar panels can work despite the sometimes dreary English weather. Rest assured: a huge amount of sunlight hits the UK every day – and solar panels can use this sunlight to generate electricity.

It might not feel like it on a cold November morning, but solar energy is hurtling through unimaginable distances of space and bombarding little old England every moment of every day. Those that say England isn’t sunny enough for solar energy are missing the evidence that is all around them – all life on the planet comes from the sun, and if England gets enough sunlight to grow vast forests and extensive ecosystems then it certainly gets enough sunlight to power your home!

How do solar panels work?

In the simplest possible terms, solar panels work by allowing photons (particles of light) to knock electrons free from atoms, which generates electricity. Then an electric field, some conductive materials and a couple of other components which make up a photovoltaic (PV) cell allow the newly generated electricity to flow like any other electrical source.

A rooftop solar panel is made up of many PV cells, which is why you’ll sometimes hear solar panels referred to as solar PV. This newly generated electricity can then be used to power your home, and excess electricity can be exported to the national grid.

You might have noticed that heat is not an inherent part of this process. In fact, solar panels actually work better in cooler climates because extreme heat can interfere with a solar panel’s efficiency. So the UK’s cool temperature is, if anything, an advantage to solar panel efficiency.

So how effective are solar panels on cloudy days?

Clouds do magnify, scatter, absorb and reflect photons. Less photons hit the solar panels on cloudy days, which usually means that less electricity is generated, though there is an exception which we’ll discuss later on. Clouds don’t block out all photons — otherwise we would be in pitch darkness every time a cloud passed overhead — so solar panels do continue to generate some electricity even on cloudy days. The amount of electricity generated will depend on several factors such as the density of the cloud and the model and positioning of the solar panel.

Rather than looking at the amount of electricity that a solar panel will generate on a single cloudy day, it is more useful to estimate how much electricity a solar panel will generate during an average year. The South West and South East of England get more sunlight on average than the rest of the UK, making counties like Somerset, Kent and Essex excellent places to get solar panels installed. Talk to a solar panel installer in Essex or your local area to get an accurate estimate on the amount of sunlight that your home will get in a year — also known as your ‘insolation rating.’

Every cloud has a magnifying lining…

As we mentioned above, clouds do sometimes reflect photons, but sometimes they can magnify them too. When sunlight passes through the edge of a cloud, this can magnify the sunlight and boost to your solar panel output. These temporary boosts can help to compensate for the times when there is total cloud cover. This phenomenon is called the edge of cloud effect, and it truly demonstrates that every cloud has a silver lining.

Complete Renewables are the #1 renewable energy developers and PV solar panel installers in Essex. Send us over an email at info@completerenewables.co.uk and we’ll answer any questions that you might have about commercial or domestic solar panels, solar energy or anything else!