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Advancements in solar technology: Enhanced efficiency, durability, reliability, and scalability

A few decades ago, solar panels might have constituted a niche technology that only the most dedicated environmentalists invested in. But solar technology has developed in key ways that make this renewable energy source more practical than ever. Technological advances in solar panels have made them more efficient and durable, as well as more reliable and easier to scale, than previous versions. For this reason, adoption of solar solutions has accelerated, and this renewable energy source has even started to take over the whole power industry. Indeed, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects it will become the world’s leading source of energy by 2027, which is only four years away.




Improved efficiency


Believe it or not, solar technology was originally invented in the 19th century. At that time, they only managed to convert one percent of the sun’s energy into power for human use. Research led to advancements, and by 1954, solar panels returned six percent of the potential power they took in.


Fast forward to today — solar panels can now successfully convert 20 percent of the sun’s power into electricity. This increased efficiency is largely due to better photovoltaic (PV) cells. Recent advances have shown that a material called perovskite effectively captures blue light, while silicon can harvest red and infrared light. Using both materials in a single solar panel therefore boosts the amount of spectrum that can be converted into energy.


Researchers still aren’t satisfied, however, and haven’t stopped in their quest to harvest more and more of the sun’s energy. Some of the most exciting new technologies have reaped crops of over 47 percent.


Improved reliability


That’s not the only way solar panels have improved, though. For a long time, solar panels only produced electricity if the sun was out and shining. Due to this unreliability, solar energy was impractical for organizations that depend on a consistent stream of electricity and can suffer high stakes during outages — like hospitals and other medical facilities.


Batteries for storing solar energy have gradually been developed, and today’s options can hold solar power for up to five days. Current generation lithium-ion solar batteries also don’t need to be recharged as often as conventional lead-acid batteries. They have longer lifespans, too. While warranties for lead-acid batteries usually last five years, those for lithium-ion solar batteries can easily last for 10. Meanwhile, they are smaller than lead-acid batteries, which means they take up less room, and require less maintenance. Batteries like these make solar energy more reliable, which opens up the possibility of more organizations converting to solar.


In addition, smart-grid systems make solar power more scalable. These systems enable organizations or homeowners to set up solar power systems that operate independently from the conventional power grid, and provide relief if that grid goes down. This further protects the entity from power outages and ensures a constant flow of power. These systems not only allow power to flow smoothly and without interruption to the household or organization, but also supply power to the main grid for others to use when there’s a surplus.


Increased durability


Advances in solar technology have also improved their durability. Today’s solar panels are built to withstand hurricane-force winds and other brutal punishments that Mother Nature dishes out.


Indeed, solar systems can be so sturdy that some companies even use them as roofs in place of conventional shingles. While many solar panels on the market promise to produce energy for around 25 years, some of these new solar roofs offer 40-year warranties. In other words, they can be expected to produce energy for almost twice as long as previous generations of solar panels.


Solar is the solution to climate change


Due to these technological innovations, solar panels have also become more cost-effective, which has inspired increasing numbers of households and organizations to install solar systems. As such, solar power has emerged as a practical way to pivot away from fossil fuels. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, just a single acre of utility-grade solar panels can keep 121 to 138 metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere per year.


Solar energy is a critical component in the war against climate change, which is arguably the most important issue of our time. The technology has already become efficient, durable, reliable, and scalable, and as it advances, it will continue to better supply green energy to power our lives. That’s why now is the right time to switch to solar.


Note: Hunter Adams contributed this article


— Hunter Adams is the Founder and CEO of Detach Reset Solar. With a four-year journey in maintenance, Hunter's expertise is evident through the successful completion of over 1200 projects and active involvement in more than 2000 solar initiatives. His unwavering dedication has earned the trust of 700 companies nationwide, showcasing his reliability. As a maintenance leader, Hunter’s commitment to excellence, meticulous attention to detail, and relentless pursuit of innovation have cemented his reputation as an industry pioneer. Hunter Adams is firmly committed to propelling Detach Reset Solar as a trailblazer in energy solutions with a profound positive impact on the world.

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