Saudi Arabia's Superpowered Sunshine Dream

2.34 c/kwh really shows how far solar costs have fallen.

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Now that you mention costs, how has efficiency increased while they've fallen?

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2 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

Now that you mention costs, how has efficiency increased while they've fallen?

A number of factors at play

Economy of scale in production

The efficiency of conversion (sunlight to electricity) has improved by  45% on standard mono-crystalline panels. Its gone from 11% in 2008 to 19-20% in 2018.

Output per m2 has improved reducing the cost of aluminium and glass needed to build the panel frames and labour and materials needed per KW of installation

 

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I think I even saw 30% somewhere. What bugs me is that 30% is, well, a lot less than 100% or even 70%. Would, say, 50% ever be possible? because I think that really would change the energy game.

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1 minute ago, Marina Schwarz said:

I think I even saw 30% somewhere. What bugs me is that 30% is, well, a lot less than 100% or even 70%. Would, say, 50% ever be possible? because I think that really would change the energy game.

There are super efficient panels but the best bang for your buck in stationary situations where land / roof space isn't at a premium is in the 18-20% range.

I haven't heard of the equivalent for solar of the Betz limit which in the case of wind turbines limits the maximum conversion efficiency to 59%. Modern turbines achieve 70-80% of that.

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(edited)

Nick, I believe the equivalent you're looking for is the Shockley-Queisser limit. (33.7% efficiency for a single solar cell)

This can be improved by adding multiple layers, as is going on right now with adding Perovskite sells on top of normal silicon, or many cells destined for space (or solar concentrators) which have multiple layers, but even as this trends to infinity, the efficiency limit is 68.7% (assuming a point source the size of our sun).

Edited by Otis11
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