Category Archives: Crystalline Solar Panels

22.1% Efficiency Record for Low Light Solar Cells

From the beginning, we have stated that the low light panels are superior to crystalline panels. Although they have a bigger footprint for the same wattage and are considered lower efficiency, in real world conditions, they actually give you more electricity than the higher efficiency crystalline panels.

See our past post comparing thin film to crystalline panels:

Also, get our free book Solar Secrets so you can see an extensive comparison between them:

A few months ago, an important breakthrough was announced for low light cells that allowed 22.1% of the sunlight hitting them to be converted to electricity. That is about half of the record of 40% for crystalline panels, but is a huge step in having the low light panels be more acceptable to the general solar market. Too many people see the current efficiency of the low light panels and think they’re not good enough, but again, in real world conditions, they give you more electricity overall since they can produce during cloudy skies and even with marginal light from sunrise to sunset.

These high efficiency low light cells are black silicon cells, which simply soak up more light than their crystalline cousins. Although crystalline cells work mostly on invisible infrared light and the traditional amorphous thin film low light panels work on blue and green, these black silicon cells are structured to absorb as much of the infrared and visible light as possible so it benefits from the best of both worlds.

CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selinide) cells also work in both ranges, but they’re not readily available, very expensive and the efficiency isn’t that great so hopefully we’re at the game-changing stage with low light panels, which literally can change the face of the solar industry.

Read more about this new breakthrough:

Crystalline vs Amorphous Solar Panels

In our Solar Secrets book, we explain the advantages of Amorphous panels (thin film low light) compared to the crystalline panels.

When I announced that we’ll be offering 25w crystalline panels, we received a few emails asking why we’re going to offer crystalline when we say how much better amorphous panels are.

The reason for this is that the Solar manufacturing industry keeps setting itself up for failure and every manufacturer of the amorphous panels that we wanted to get goes bankrupt. The misinformation from crystalline panel companies about how theirs are more efficient is a scam.Yes, they’re more efficient only under direct full light but throughout the day, as we said in Solar Secrets, the thin film panels give you more electricity total since it can actually makes use of marginal light. The last company we tried to order amorphous panels from went bankrupt.

The cheap Chinese made panels flood the market and this undercuts the US or European made panels and makes it difficult for them to sell them at a profit so they’re forced to take a loss and then forced out of business, literally. The US has put some taxes on the solar panels from China but that didn’t do much and I don’t know if this actually represents the situation accurately but they have hurt the solar industry elsewhere.

Amorphous panels can be made for much less than crystalline panels and it seems the industry is set up for self-sabotage because they seem to want to do whatever it takes to make sure these amorphous panels stay high at ridiculous prices and/or are impossible to get. Perhaps they’re protecting their infrastructure that is setup for crystalline panels, which are an inferior technology.

When our Federal Government makes more money in taxes per gallon of gas at the pump than the oil companies make in profits, does anyone actually believe they could care less about really moving forward with green technologies?

Watch this:

Stanley Ovshinsky is the inventor of the NiMH rechargable batteries and a great low light thin film solar panel. His technology could blanket the world in low cost low light solar panels. He says it himself that throughout the day, they give you more light and that is one of the points we address in Solar Secrets. Does it look like suppression to you? A solar technology that can be much less expensive than crystalline panels and put out more energy through the entire day than crystalline panels? Why does one thin film manufacturer after another keep getting driven out of business?

Whatever it is, this is why we’re not able to offer affordable amorphous or other thin film low light panels to you but we wish we could!

For now, these 25 watt crystalline panels that we’re testing are the best non-thin film ones yet and we’ll be placing an order for a lot of these soon. At some point in the future when we can get our hands on the thin films at a reasonable price with the right specs, we will definitely be offering them.

I hope that helps to clarify why we are offering the crystalline panels even though we’d rather offer the amorphous panels.

Aaron Murakami
Tesla Chargers