SaveOnEnergy Infographic: How Solar Panels Work

Easy to understand description of solar panels.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Five-junction photovoltaic cell has 44.5% efficiency

    Scientists at George Washington University and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (both in Washington, DC), Sotera Defense Solutions (Annapolis Junction, MD), Semprius (Durham, NC), and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have designed and constructed a prototype for a new solar cell that has five semiconductor junctions — three in a gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based section and two in a gallium antimonide (GaSb) section.1

    The two overlapping types of photovoltaic cell each capture a different portion of the solar spectrum, allowing conversion of direct sunlight to electricity with 44.5% efficiency, giving it the potential to become the most efficient solar cell in the world. By comparison, the ubiquitous silicon solar cell converts only a quarter of the available energy into electricity.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Dawn of Solar Windows

    “What are they doing with these green surfaces?” he asks. “Nothing. Would you ever put a conventional solar panel there? Never.”

    Papakonstantinou is one of many who have dreamed of turning glass panels into photovoltaic modules that can be integrated directly into buildings, both for decoration and to look through. His lab is among many groups and companies developing widely differing approaches to solar windows; some are already installing them in buildings.

    The appeal is, well, clear. Such windows would unobtrusively generate power for the building while allowing its occupants to peer out onto the street, enjoy natural light, or watch clouds pass overhead.

    By 2020, 8.3 billion square meters of flat glass will be installed annually in new buildings worldwide, according to the Freedonia Group. That area, covered in standard solar panels in the ideal orientation, could produce more than a terawatt at peak output, and over one year it could generate some 2,190 terawatt-hours. That’s 9 percent of what the world’s annual electricity consumption was in 2016. Substituting this source of energy for coal in 2017 would have saved about 1.6 percent of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in forestry and land use.

    Solar windows will never be as efficient as conventional solar panels, because windows must of course remain at least partially transparent. But they can create an enormous network of small photovoltaic sources. And developers maintain that the money that the windows save on energy will repay the cost of installing them.

    Already, the cost difference is pretty small, says Thomas Brown from the University of Rome, in Italy, who used to develop solar windows.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Electrical Arcing & Water Conductivity

    A common misconception is that solar panels no longer work when damaged or broken. In this video we dispel this myth and also show how water applied to a damaged solar panel system can radically increase the danger of electrocution. Please note that whether wet or dry, damaged solar panels can present unanticipated risks. A MUST VIEW FOR ALL EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONDERS!


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