Jan 6, 2010

Breakthrough in Solar Power Technology: Price Falls to $1 per Watt

For a decade, we’ve been waiting for affordable solar panels to enter the market but the price never really went below $2 or $3 per watt and you’d be compromising on efficiency if you searched for cheap solutions.

You have to wait no longer because Prism Solar Technologies has invented a new solar panel that costs a mere $1 per watt without affecting the efficiency while improving a number of other features too. The new technology is a hybrid solar panel made of traditional photovoltaic cells and novel solar cells called ‘Holographic Planar Concentrator (HPC) thin-film strips’.

That’s quite a mouthful but the substance doesn’t end there because the prism panel offers a range of benefits according to their report:
  • Your wallet will hardly feel a dent because the use of silicon (an expensive semi-conductor used in solar cells) is reduced by 50%-72% in HPC’s panel and holographic thin-film strips are pretty cheap.
  • Don’t worry about cloudy days or sunsets and sunrise anymore because unlike other solar cells, HPC strips focus ‘diffused and reflected’ light onto the solar cells, apart from direct sunlight through a special feature called passive tracking.
  • Ever heard of 360 degree collection? These two-sided panels collect light from both ends, which means you’ll get upto 30% more kilowatts in a day. Plus, you won’t have to constantly shift the angle of your solar panels anymore because HPC panels will get you maximum light on tilted roofs, vertical walls or even window frames.
  • Normally, solar panels have an optimum temperature where they operate most efficiently so you needed to buy reflectors and trackers to regulate the light input and thus, the heat. This is no longer an issue because light that cannot be used simply passes through the prism solar panel.
  • Each solar panel is made of PV cells that are over-lapping and inter-connected which improves their efficiency by around 4% compared to conventional solar panels.
  • And to top it off, HPC solar panels are fit as a fiddle.
In short, HPC’s module produces the same amount of electricity (if not more) by using fewer solar cells and less money.

So if you live someplace the sun doesn’t shine much, or where buying electricity from the power station is difficult, HPC’s prism modules offer a very economical and efficient option for designing a home solar power system, despite their adaptability to commercial projects. This is simply a result of greater interest in this field, what with all the degrees and courses being offered in green technology.