Solar module efficiency is a fundamental metric that elucidates the module’s ability to convert incident irradiance into usable electrical power at STC. To put it in mathematical terms:
It is clear here that the solar module efficiency is subject to the area of the module glass surface. So lesser the glass surface area of the module more will be the efficiency per Wp.
What determines solar module efficiency?
Though cell technology defines the efficiency of solar panels, there are also other factors that can influence the efficiency of solar panels like:
Busing and Wiring:
This is the organization of busbars on the module and impacts the transfer of electricity in the solar module.
The greater the reflective property of the glass top covering the cell array, the lesser will be the efficiency.
Surface Temperature of Solar Module:
The conversion capability of solar cells decreases with the increase in the surface temperature and thereby directly effects the efficiency of the solar modules.
When does solar module efficiency matter and not matter?
When it matter:
- If you want to extract more energy per Sq. Mtr of solar system. Suppose, you have limited roof space and want to decrease the amount electricity from utility, then higher efficiency panels are a good fit.
- Higher efficiency solar modules tend to be costlier, on a comparative index and hence can increase the initial capital outlay in installing a solar system.
When it doesn’t matter:
As solar module efficiency determines the power generated per square meter, it means that a more efficient panel will technically take lesser space. Thus if decision making is not constrained by requirements of space,it may not be very wise to shell out extra bucks to purchase solar modules rating highly on the efficiency spectrum.
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