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Record Breaking Gains in Solar Technology

college station roofing companies eye new solor efficiency gains. Photo credit by Arlington County, Flickr+

Recently the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and the Helmholtz Center Berlin announced a new solar structure that combined four solar sub-cells.  The new structure and design has created a new world record in the efficiency of solar technology with a recorded efficiency of 44.7%.  This indicates that 44.7% of the total light wave spectrum is being absorbed and converted by the solar cells in usable electricity. Roofers in areas like College Station, TX see this as huge market potential.

How the Cells Work

Originating from technology developed for space and NASA, the new solar cells are primarily used in concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV).  CPV technology is more than twice as efficient as traditional photovoltaic systems.  The added efficiency comes from the layered structure of the cells.

The four sub-cells are layered or stacked on top of each other using a technique called “water bonding”.  As visible light passes through the solar cell structure, each sub-cell absorbs a different part of light’s wavelength.

Results from Testing

As with all market technology claims, results need to be shown to prove the improved solar efficiency gain claims.  Testing showed that the current through the solar sub-cell unit was 192.1 mA and the voltage was 4.165v.  Each layer in the sub-cell unit achieved over 80% in external quantum efficiency (or efficiency of solar energy and charge collection).

Exciting Potential for New Technology

André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, CEO of Soitec, an international semiconductor manufacturer specializing in solar technologies, believes that the 1 point in efficiency of the CPV system in just under four months is confirmation of vast opportunities and growth in the solar sector.

Currently the technology is already deployed across 18 countries; Italy, France, South Africa, and the United States (California) have already begun trial testing and power generation.  Not surprisingly, the best performance of the solar collection technology has been seen in sunny areas with direct radiation such as College Station, TX.

Ramifications for College Station, TX and Beyond

The increase in efficiency lends to more available energy for consumption in the home and less on-grid consumption to be paid at the end of the month.  Additionally, with the advent of increasing technological gains, older solar technology is quickly dropping in price.  In concert with Moore’s Law and the 50% Efficiency Model of the solar market, the overall price of solar roofing system will have to drop further.

In fact recent trends reported by the Business Review, a US based business journal, state that solar prices have been dropping at an average rate of 7% each year, starting in 1998.  Overall lower costs and the potential to generate revenue should have homeowners contemplating on turning their investment asset into an income generating tool.

Homeowners also have additional options in the equipment and materials in their solar roofing system.  Many homeowners often shy away from rooftop solar collection because of the bulky appearance of the mounting systems.  However, those homeowners can find solar shingles which mimic the appearance of traditional shingles and even come in many color combinations.

For more information on solar roofing systems in College Station, TX or the surrounding areas, contact Schulte Roofing, “The Home of the Bulletproof Roof™ Guarantee”.