Solar panel efficiency is the holy grail of the solar power world, and SunPower just propelled the industry further with the “most efficient rooftop solar panel” in the world. They held the previous record, an efficiency of 22.8 percent, but the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) just confirmed their module, made from silicon, has an efficiency of 24.1 percent.
According to NREL Principal Scientist Keith Emery, the module tested had an aperture area of 11310.1 cm2 (aperture area), with “a power of 272.5 watts.” The module utilizes solar cells that have a mean efficiency of 25 percent, and improves on the design of SunPower’s X-Series, which held the prior record.
Related: New solar panel coating could improve efficiency by more than 30 percent
SunPower built the winning photovoltaic module in their laboratory; the solar panels they currently sell have an efficiency of 22.8 percent. But according to the company, “efficiency measured in laboratory conditions has benefits in real world conditions.” Advanced efficiency means users could glean more energy and need fewer panels in the future.
Sustainability is another benefit, and that doesn’t just refer to the clean energy provided. If each panel provides more watts, SunPower won’t have to use as many materials like silicon and glass to construct the panels required to power a home. Therefore, there’s a smaller carbon footprint involved in panel construction.
SunPower Vice President of Research, Development, and Deployment Peter Cousins said in a press release, “With greater efficiency, we can fit more watts on the roof with the outstanding reliability of the SunPower X-Series solar panel. SunPower’s world record efficiency panels offer customers the best value for energy and superior aesthetics due to our unique architecture.”
The company said they want to keep pushing for efficiency higher than 26 percent as they work to “power our clean energy future.”
Via Greentech Media
Images via SunPower Facebook and Wikimedia Commons