Solar Keeps Getting Cheaper - Independent Green Technologies

Solar Keeps Getting Cheaper

Published on October 3rd, 2014

In a recent post, we discussed the future possibility of everyone being able to print solar panels at home using 3D printers. Scientists in Australia were able to do this recently because of the fact that solar keeps getting cheaper.

In this post, lets dig in with some informative charts to see just how much cheaper solar is becoming.

Solar IRENA PV Costs

In the chart above, we can see that the price of a turnkey photovoltaic (PV) system is expected to drop by roughly another fifth from this year until 2020.

While all aspects of the system deployment costs are decreasing, the module itself is seeing the greatest reduction in price.

From 2010 to 2012, the cost of solar panels has reduced by a staggering 60%! The cost of installing an array overall fell by some 40% from 2010 to 2012. While the cost of solar panels are decreasing, the efficiency is moving in the other direction.

Scientists and professors who are focusing on the solar industry, are finding ways to improve the efficiency of affordable solar cells.

Ali Javey from UC Berkeley

Credit: Gizmag.com

Ali Javey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, has found a far cheaper way to manufacture high performing solar cells, potentially making them as cheap as conventional ones.

Javey says the new process could be a “game changer” for solar cells.

The most efficient solar cells available today are made from materials called III-V semiconductors, a group that includes gallium arsenide and indium phosphide. Making solar cells from these materials normally means starting with expensive crystals of the semiconductor material, then exposing the crystals to vapors that produce the thin films need for a solar cell.

Early tests suggest solar cells made from the materials Ali Javey is working on would have an efficiency of about 25 percent, far better than conventional silicon solar cells, which are less than 18 percent efficient.

The increasing synergy between the solar industry, university based research scientists and big utilities will result in increasing efficiency and affordability of solar cells in the immediate future.

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