SolarCity Unveils World’s Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panel, To Be Made in America

Oct 10, 2015

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By Kady Cooper

SolarCity has built the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel, with a module efficiency exceeding 22 percent.  The new SolarCity panel generates more power per square foot and harvests more energy over a year than any other rooftop panel in production, and will be the highest volume solar panel manufactured in the Western Hemisphere.

SolarCity will begin producing the first modules in small quantities this month at its 100 MW pilot facility, but the majority of the new solar panels will ultimately be produced at SolarCity’s 1 GW facility in Buffalo, New York. SolarCity expects to be producing between 9,000 – 10,000 solar panels each day with similar efficiency when the Buffalo facility reaches full capacity.


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13 comments on “SolarCity Unveils World’s Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panel, To Be Made in America

  • @OP SolarCity has built the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel, with a module efficiency exceeding 22 percent.

    As efficiencies go up, areas needed for panels decrease and the increased potential from buildings with favourable aspects will reduce energy costs.

    Combined with the news on wind-farms, this has great potential, if dozy politicians like frack-maniac oily Cameron, stop trying to sabotage the developments!

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/07/onshore-wind-farms-cheapest-form-of-uk-electricity-report-shows

    Onshore windfarms cheapest form of UK electricity, report shows

    Falling costs mean new windfarms are now £20 cheaper per megawatt hour than coal or gas-fired plants, according to new analysis.

    New onshore windfarms are now the cheapest way for a power company to produce electricity in Britain, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

    Costs have dropped to $85 (£55) per megawatt hour (MWh) compared with the current costs of about $115 for constructing coal or gas-fired plants, its analysis found.

    The price of wind, which has fallen from $108 just 12 months ago, compares with nuclear which Bloomberg assesses at $190 – the latter up on a year ago as project delays are factored in to developments.

    The positive picture for renewable power in Britain is mirrored across the world with wind and solar technologies fast falling in price while fossil fuel costs continue to move upwards.



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  • Fracking

    Reports state that u.s. women are suffering higher than normal miscarriages in fracking zones.

    Environmental “hot spots” are blamed for a myriad of problems (most recent, weird rice in N.C.). For the record, I agree; good to see their plight illuminated – alas – fighting certain industries, and special interest groups, is about as damn tough as it gets.



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  • 5
    TrickyDicky says:

    “@OP SolarCity has built the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel, with a module efficiency exceeding 22 percent.”

    How much energy do they generate at night?



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  • TrickyDicky
    Oct 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    How much energy do they generate at night?

    None, – but I suspect you knew photovoltaic systems work in daylight.

    For night time solar energy, heat storage liquid salt solar thermal systems are needed. (Or wind, or tidal, or geothermal, or hydroelectric, or nuclear power systems)

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229654-100-giant-solar-farm-uses-molten-salt-to-keep-power-coming/

    IN THE searing heat 130 kilometres south-west of Phoenix, Arizona, 3000 mirrors carpet hectares of desert. Part of a power plant that produces about 900 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, they gather enough sunlight to power 70,000 homes.

    This is Solana, the largest solar plant of its kind in the world, directly coupled to the biggest non-hydroelectric energy-storage system in the US. Opened in October 2013, it’s a zero-carbon power plant that could underpin the energy grid of the future.

    I’m standing on a raised platform at its centre, decked out in clunky safety boots and a high-vis jacket. Thick pipes run away beneath me like arteries, pumping oil out to the mirror field. There, it is channelled into thinner piping that runs right through the focal points of the mirror troughs, absorbing the heat of the Arizona sun until the oil reaches nearly 400 °C. It then returns to the plant, where the oil superheats water vapour that spins two 140-megawatt turbines.

    Six enormous white tanks surround the platform. Filled with molten salt, they can store enough heat to keep those turbines spinning at full capacity for 6 hours. The oil from the mirror field unloads its heat into the salt when the generators are at capacity. These tanks are what make Solana truly useful, not just producing carbon-free energy for Arizona, but storing it for use whenever the grid operator needs it.



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  • This would be all fine and good if one could buy the panels to augment an already installed system…. From the SolarCity web site it looks like they are making the panels for their own consumption and making their profit from leasing complete systems as a package. A lot of good that does for anyone needing components and not a complete system.
    FWIW:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SolarCity



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  • But leasing is a great eco model, encouraging financial institutions to invest in more secure assets, and bringing forward the adoption of otherwise expensive eco-tec. By standing in the flow of power to and from the power utilities to generate cash streams it ultimately enables technology to play to its other capabilities, delivering the highest efficiency, most reliable and longest lived solutions rather than simply the cheapest. For the US this allows it to compete with Chinese (“dumped”, lowest cost, only product) and roll up the proposition into a single signature sale for simple service provision, their costs of electricity provision repair and maintenance being minimised by using the best available technology.

    If you are already committed to owned PV systems there are lots of Chinese panels to choose from.



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  • Meanwhile – there are brain-dead government decisions being taken to pour investment money down the drain for the purposes of escalating climate problems!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-34535947

    Australia’s government has given its approval for one of the world’s biggest coal mines to be built by India’s Adani Mining in Queensland.

    In August, a court temporarily blocked the project because of environmental concerns.

    But the approval has now been granted subject to “36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history” environment minister Greg Hunt said.

    Critics say the decision was “grossly irresponsible”.

    The approval was signed on Wednesday by Mr Hunt and follows a long running debate between those for and against the mine.

    “To approve a massive coal mine that would make species extinct, deplete 297 billion litres of precious groundwater and produce 128.4 million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) a year is grossly irresponsible,” said ACF president Geoff Cousins.

    “At a time when the world is desperately seeking cleaner energy options this huge new coal mine will make the effort to combat climate change all the more difficult,” he added.



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  • Australia’s government has given its approval for one of the world’s biggest coal mines to be built by India’s Adani Mining in Queensland…

    We beat this in the courts… once. We’ve convinced 16 financial institutions not to finance it. But the Minister FOR the Environment has approved this carbon bomb. So much for right wing free marketeers care for your grandchildren. We are not beaten yet. To the barricades rationalistas.



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  • David R Allen
    Oct 15, 2015 at 7:11 am

    But the Minister FOR the Environment has approved this carbon bomb. So much for right wing free marketeers care for your grandchildren.

    I remember years ago when we had similar nuts in the UK “Ministry of the Environment”, – The environmental magazines pointed out in big headlines, that it it was the “Ministry OF the Environment”, not the “Ministry FOR the Environment”!
    Perhaps the political spin merchants in OZ spotted this and cynically used a revised name!



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  • I see there are signs of improved attitudes to achieving low carbon energy in Australia!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-34644459

    Australia’s new chief scientist Alan Finkel advocates coal-free future

    Australia has named Dr Alan Finkel, an engineer and vocal advocate of nuclear power, as its next chief scientist.

    The appointment was announced by new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference on Tuesday.

    Dr Finkel has previously outlined a vision for an “electric planet” and told reporters he wanted Australia to use “no oil, gas or coal“.

    He was previously Chancellor of Australia’s Monash University and takes over from Professor Ian Chubb.

    Speaking at the press conference, Dr Finkel acknowledged that Australia could not get rid of coal “overnight”.

    “My vision is for a country, a society, a world where we don’t use any coal, oil, or natural gas because we have zero-emissions electricity in huge abundance,” he said.

    “But you can’t get there overnight. What we need to do is optimise the technology so we can cost-effectively introduce alternatives.



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  • If solar power can be economically harnessed for hydrogen production, it can be combined with low carbon jet fuel technology in advanced aircraft and space craft.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34694935
    BAE invests in space engine firm Reaction Engines

    .BAE Systems has bought a 20% stake in a company developing a radical engine that could propel aircraft into space.

    BAE is paying £20.6m for the stake in Reaction Engines, which is developing a hybrid rocket/jet engine called Sabre.

    According to Reaction, an aircraft using such engines could take off from a runway and accelerate to more than five times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket mode which would propel the aircraft into orbit.

    Reaction has designs for such a plane, which it calls Skylon.

    Reaction says the technology would allow the launch of satellites into space at a fraction of the current cost and allow passengers to fly anywhere in the world in four hours.

    The British government is also investing £60m in the company.

    It is based at the Culham Science Centre near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

    The firm hopes to have a ground-based test engine working by the end of this decade and begin unmanned test flights by 2025.



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