SolarCity Corp and its chairman Elon Musk announced that they have built the most efficient solar panel in the industry.
SolarCity is the top U.S. residential rooftop solar panels’ installer. Its invention can convert sunlight into electricity with a 22 percent efficiency which is the a peak efficiency in the world. The production facility is being built it in Buffalo, New York and will open in 2017. According to SolarCity, the new panels have the same size as the typical ones, but produce much more power—30-to-40 percent. For comparison, the traditional solar panel converts 14-to-20 percent of sunlight into energy.
Elon Musk said they are going to produce about 10,000 panels a day.
The American solar panel manufacturer SunPower Corp is making the panels with 22 percent efficiency on a mass scale.
John Farrel, solar energy expert and Director of the Democratic Energy Program for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said that traditional solar panel is able to achieve efficiency of 18-to-20 percent that is actually in the same range as SolaCity’s.
Peter Rive, SolarCity’s technical director and co-founder, said that the corp’s new solar electricity system is better in high temperatures than existing solar panels. Moreover, they are adequately cheap to produce. He believes that they are “the best solar panels on the planet” and starting in 2017 people will be able to “control their own destiny”.
Today SolarCity is producing its solar panels at a hundred megawatt pilot facility in California, not far from Tesla’s factory. The company is growing fast, but it will not produce enough products to meet the existing installation needs: currently a number of companies like Canadian Solar, Yingli Green Energy, and Trina Solar build most of the solar panels in China and install them to American customers.
Anyway, it is not the highest level efficiency achieved to date—the world record is 44,7 percent—and the companies like Boeing produce extremely expensive panels with 40 percent efficiency for spacecrafts. In its turn, SolarCity says that its product provides the highest efficiency for the lowest cost.