April 03, 2024

Advances in Solar Panels

As pioneers in renewable energy powered water treatment, Moerk Water are always on the lookout for advances in renewable energy technology – particularly in solar, wind or hydroelectric power generation. Currently Moerk Water are keenly following the development of a range of improvements to traditional solar panel technology:


Solar Cell Materials – Perovskite

Current generation silicon-based, solar panels generally have an efficiency around 20%, meaning of the total solar irradiation that is collected by the panel, only 20% of that is converted into electricity. Perovskite solar panels, manufactured through the addition of layers of metal halide perovskites (such as phenylethylammonium tin iodide and methylammonium lead iodide), have increased efficiencies compared to traditional crystalline silicon panels. The best form is the combination of perovskite and silcon which has achieved 30% efficiency – meaning that 50% more energy can be captured with the same footprint when compared with standard silicon-based panels.


Printed Solar Panels

Solar panels are commonly 1 m wide x 2 m long glass panels. Solar arrays consisting of large numbers of these panels take up a lot of space and require sturdy support structures to orient them to the sun due to the weight of the panels. The advent of printed solar panels allows for more flexibility in the design of solar arrays and allows for the manufacturing process to be sped up as the panels are printed roll-to-roll. CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency, following a decade of research have produced a printed solar panel with the same efficiency as traditional solar panels.


Image Credit: CSIRO



Standard solar panels use inverters to convert the DC power generated by the panel into AC power for use in standard electrical equipment. Typically, there will be a single inverter for an array or string of solar panels. Microinverters are inverters that attach directly to solar panels converting each panel into an AC power generating device. Traditional inverters limit energy production to the lowest producing panel in a given string – meaning hard shading or panel damage can limit the effectiveness of the solar array. Microinverters, although more expensive than traditional inverters, offer more flexibility in panel placement and better generation of electrical power for most arrays.


Bifacial solar panels

Bifacial solar panels are solar panels that can collect solar energy from both sides of the panel. Instead of the standard polymer backing sheet, bifacial panels have a glass sheet at the front and rear of the panel. The ability to collect solar energy from the front and back of the panel is a big advantage when the panels are installed over highly reflective surfaces (such as white concrete). Bifacial panels also allow for the installation of “solar fencing” – where instead of laying the panels down and angling them towards the sun, the panels are installed perpendicular to the ground. This changes the time of day in which energy is collected from the middle of the day to the early morning and late afternoon. In some locations this can deliver up to 10% more power. The current issues with bifacial panels/solar fencing is that the reflectiveness of the surface over which they are installed, the surrounding environment, the angle of tilt and even the distance between the rear surface and the ground all determine the energy efficiency of these panels, making designs much more complicated.

Image Credit: Lumos Solar

Combining the latest, reliable technological innovations with location specific design allows Moerk Water’s renewable energy systems to be robust and fit for purpose. Contact Moerk Water to find out more about what renewable energy system would be the best for your location.