Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Solar Power Modules Advice

By Karen Morgan

How do you compare different solar panels? You measure the wattage power per panel. number of Watts Output when it is illuminated under standard conditions of 1000 Watts/meter2 intensity, 25C ambient temperature and a spectrum that relates to sunlight that has passed through the atmosphere.

Solar prices are falling fast, especially with thin-film technology. From early $27 per Watt Peak (Wp) prices to an expected $1 in the near future. At $1 Wp, grid parity will have been achieved in Photovoltaics (PV) and will be able to compete with the prevailing price of electricity.

Essentially, there are 2 types of solar panels. The more expensive kind using crystalline silicon and the new proprietary thin-film technology. CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) is the popular favorite thin-film technology favorite.

The lowest thin film module price is at $2.49 per watt (1.89 per watt) from a Germany-based retailer. As a general rule, it is typical to expect thin film modules to be at a price discount to crystalline silicon (for like module powers). As thin film manufacturers expand production, prices are expected to drop dramatically.

Thin Firm CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) modules to generate relatively more electricity under high ambient (and therefore high cell) temperatures. Which means it is more efficient should there be high temperatures.

Some sixty companies have announced to start thin film production by 2010. Thin-film solar cells consist of layers of active materials about 10 m thick compared with 200- to 300-m layers for crystalline-silicon cells. The technology allows for more flexible and robust shapes and is more cost effective.

What really matters is the total kilowatt-hours a panel produces. Then calculate the average solar wattage produced per dollar spent. Chances are, when you are reach $0.15/kWh or better, you are competitive with your electric company.

Two 80W panels in series gives you 160 W. You still have the same *current* as you get from one panel, but twice the voltage. There are inverters, battery banks and cabling costs to consider. Most families use between 4 and can run up to 20 Kwh per day for heavy users. A 1000w system would produce about 4 Kwh per day. Build your own solar panel and discover this energy saving technology.

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