Efficiency of a panel depends on the material used to make the solar cells
that are placed on the surrounding frame.
What is a solar cell?
A cell is the part of a panel where the sunlight is collected from the overhead radiation produced by the sun, and it is then converted into electricity.
The main materials that are located deep inside a cell that perform the actual creation of electricity are called semiconductors.
Overall, the efficiency of any given cell is measured by the total amount of radiation / sunlight that strikes it.
Conventional Silicon Panels
On just over 90% of photovoltaic panels that you see located on top of rooftops today, the semiconductor is called crystalline silicon. This is a very efficient type of cell. Silicon holds one of the highest places on efficiency conversion ratings. It converts between 15 to 20 percent of the light the hits its cell.
A new wave of the future is on its way in the solar panel world, and it is called thin-film. The cost to manufacture these solar panels is much less than crystalline silicon panels, but the problem with them is that they do not even come close to the silicon solar panels in terms of conversion efficiency.
Cadmium telluride (CdTe) and cadmium-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar panels are the two top leading types of thin-film solar technologies, averaging around 11 percent efficiency. This is still considerably amazing, seeing as most thin-film solar cells reside in the 4 to 10 percent range.
The Fill Factor
When it comes to measuring power, the fill factor is defined as the ratio between actual maximum obtainable power and the product of the open circuit. This is a very important parameter to consider when analyzing and evaluating the performance of solar cells. A typical commercial solar cell has a fill factor greater than 0.70.
Grade B cells have a fill factor usually between 0.4 and 0.7. Another important fact to consider about the factor is that it is definitely one of the most significant parameters for the energy. Solar cells that contain a high factor see a lot less loss when it comes to energy gained. Simply put, the higher the fill factor, the more solar power that will be generated.
Top Efficient Solar Power Companies:
Yingli Green Energy
ET Solar Industry
Based on the list above, the highest output panels are both Sanyo and SunPower panels. They definitely have the highest efficiency per surface area in real world conditions. Even with a limited roof area with which to install solar panels, these panels definitely will produce the most electric output per square foot. Just keep in mind that this doesn't mean that these panels will always be the best choice, however.
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