LG Chem Battery Vs. Tesla Powerwall

There’s no shame in referring to solar power as “Source of unlimited energy”. Solar power provides clean energy for the masses as the sun delivers more than enough energy to power up everything on our planet. There’s no better time than now to invest in solar power for your personal households. There are multiple benefits of investing in solar power. When you invest in solar power, you’re effectively helping in saving the atmosphere of our planet earth. Plus, in the long term, investing in solar power can save you a lot of money. The photovoltaic process that transforms sunlight into electricity doesn’t require any fuel for its functionality. There’s no harmful emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when electricity is produced from solar panels. Moreover, the electrical energy produced by solar panels is renewable because the only thing needed is sunlight, which is available in a surplus amount throughout a sunny day.

If you’re settled in Yakima, Bellevue, Tri-Cities, or Walla Walla and are willing to put your money in this long-term investment, Solora solar could be your best friend.

Battery Backup Solar Systems:

Before we go on to compare LG Chem batteries and Tesla Powerwall, it’s important to understand what exactly these are and why they are even used in the first place. A Battery Backup-grid tied solar system stores the extra electrical power which is not being used by your appliances into battery banks. And these battery banks, you guessed it right, are LG Chem batteries and Tesla Powerwall.

When your solar panels aren’t generating electrical energy (during cloudy days or nighttime), the energy stored in battery banks of your Battery Backup solar system is used to power your appliances. Battery Backup solar systems are more expensive than other solar system solutions because you have to invest in batteries and inverters. However, the cost of these batteries is coming down at a rapid pace, making Battery Backup solar systems more popular and accessible to the masses.

Now, as you’ve got a clear understanding of Battery Backup solar systems and the role of these batteries in them, let’s move on to compare LG Chem batteries and Tesla Powerwall.

Of course, if you need any technical help or assistance regarding off-grid solar in Yakima, Bellevue, Tri-Cities, or Walla Walla, you can always get in touch with Solora Solar.

Battery capacities:

The capacity of your solar system’s battery could be a major deciding factor for you. Everyone has unique requirements, that’s why it’s important to choose the right battery with the right battery capacity for your specific requirements.

The capacity of a Tesla Powerwall 2.0 is 13.5 kWh. It’s the highest solar battery capacity available on the market. If it’s still not enough for your requirements, you can stack up to 10 Powerwall batteries together to get even more power storage capacity.

On the other hand, LG Chem Resu batteries come in 5 different storage capacities. These capacities range from 2.9 kWh to 9.8 kWh. These batteries are ideal for smaller and larger Battery Backup solar systems because of their wide storage capacity range. They are also ideal for your unique-sized power storage needs because of the capacity variety available in them.

Cost:

Tesla powerwall are higher in cost specially if you add other equipment that you need to connect with your PV system with Tesla powerwall to use as a backup option.

LG Chem batteries are more economical and doesn’t require additional equipment since these are designed as DC couple system and control (Battery Management System) via inverter i.e. SolarEdge inverter and very easy to install, hence less labor cost.

Technology:

If the storage technology of your solar system concerns you, let’s inform you both of these batteries use lithium-ion technology. Hence, no difference in this sector.

Uninterruptible power supply:

One of the benefits a Battery Backup system is that it offers an uninterruptible power supply. In case of a power cut, the LG Chem battery and Powerwall keeps working as if nothing happened.

Warranty:

There’s nothing to worry about here, both batteries offer a warranty of 10 years. However, in the rare case of a fault development in LG chem battery, 100% of the price will be covered by LG if the fault happens within 2 years of the installation. If the unit has been installed for 3 years and it develops a fault, only 72% of the price will be covered by LG.

Mounting:

Both of these batteries support floor-standing and wall-mounting. So, you can’t go wrong with any of these in this regard.

Weatherproofing:

The Tesla Powerwall is completely weatherproof and is compatible with outdoor installations. You can confidently install it indoors or outdoors, depends on your preferences and needs.

LG Chem batteries, on the other hand, are IP55 weather rated. They can only be installed in semi-outdoor environments like a carport or verandah.

Which one is the winner?

Well, there’s no absolute winner when it comes to comparing these two batteries. Both of these batteries have their pros and cons. However, let’s put this straight for you.

Tesla Powerwall is AC couple battery system meaning it can be added or retrofit with existing Grid-tied solar energy system, and in the future, if your storage requirements increase, you can stack up to 10 of these batteries. It’s safe to say, Tesla Powerwall grows as your storage requirements grow.

On the other hand, if your residence is smaller and you need something which can fulfill your specific needs, LG Chem battery could be your ideal choice due to its huge variation of storage choices. LG chem is a DC couple battery, meaning it can only be installed with new Grid-tied Solar energy system and does provide much more efficient power conversion.

Need help?

After you’re done choosing one of these battery banks for your off-grid solar system and are ready to get one installed, that’s exactly where Solora Solar can help you. Need any assistance regarding solar in Bellevue, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Walla Walla? Solora Solar is at your disposal.

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Keywords: Off-Grid Solar, Solar in Yakima, Solar in Bellevue, Solar in Tri-Cities, Solar in Walla Walla

HIGH WIND CAUSES POWER OUTAGES; SOLAR PANEL BLOW OFF ROOF ONTO LINCOLN AVE, IN YAKIMA

Designing a structurally sound solar system is one of the biggest challenges for solar contractors today. Solar arrays can be exposed to the worst weather conditions; including high wind, hurricanes, snow and hail. These systems need to be able to withstand the wind loads in their specific locations if they are to remain in service for up to 25 years. Solar panels are extremely durable and can withstand severe and harsh weather conditions when mounted correctly. Although you may wonder, how do we design mounting systems to be resilient to these extreme wind forces or even not so extreme windy conditions as it was the case in recent incident in Yakima, WA @ Firman Pollen Co building.

“Recent high wind (gusty wind up to 50mph) has blown away Solar panels and bricks from buildings near North First and West Lincoln Avenue”.  It was quite shocking to read this news in Yakima Herald, because Solar Array usually don’t fall off and should not fly away with 50mph gutsy wind as long system is properly design and install, even if it’s designed with minimum load requirement regardless of local AHJ permitting and installation criteria.

Roof-top solar arrays are increasingly being deployed on buildings across Central Washington in past decade, as the basic economics of PV generated electricity improves. Assuring that the building structures can withstand the additional loads imposed by PV arrays on roofs has become a key issue in the deployment of these systems, and therefore a key question for structural engineers and building officials responsible for reviewing and approving such systems.

In Central Washington, the basic wind load requirement for roof mount solar is 110 mph exposure C with system distributed weight less 3psf. The system is question seems to have “Ballast Roof Mount system” meaning it wasn’t physically attached to roof structure and held down by Ballast/ concrete block. This type of design mainly used on commercial flat or low pitch roof and perfectly within scope of design. However, these types of system generally add more load on the roof, sometime more than 5psf which is in most cases much more than building structural design load and require structural engineering analysis and/or retrofitting to support the additional load.

In many jurisdictions in the United States, there can be little regulation for ensuring structural stability of the PV racking system. This causes a great deal of confusion for installers, as they are responsible for knowing their own jurisdiction’s regulations and they can’t always rely on computer designed bill of materials or production programs to correctly design systems according to those regulations. In ASCE 7-5 and 7-10, a section called components and cladding has been used in many jurisdictions as a reference on how to design and permit solar arrays on buildings, with all this confusion, PV system can be installed with sub optimal design either purposely or due to lack of understanding.

There are a multitude of factors that go into designing a system that can survive harsh weather events. It is important to understand what some of these major factors are to mitigate risks associated with wind-related failures.

ZONES:

Roof zones determine the amount of wind load that is subjected to the system based on where the system is located on the roof.

Zone one has the lowest load and consists of the interior space on the roof. Zone two represents the perimeter of the roof and is a higher risk zone.

Zone three is located on the corners of the roof and is the highest risk area. Most system failures occur on the edge or corner of the roof. Installing modules on the edge or corner of the roof can be dangerous and risky. In many cases, installations in corner or edge zones require more attachment points or ballast. Even residential installations in low-risk areas, like California, may require shorter spans with increased attachment points in corner zones. Calculating roof zones can be challenging depending on the code used in a specific jurisdiction. It is best to consult the appropriate code and consult the engineer or the racking manufacturer may have software that can assist with the zone calculations. For example, we here at Solora Solar t have been using our manufacturer design tool IronRidge for roof mount and SnapNrack design tool for ground mount solar. We provide these calculations not only to AHJ during permitting and inspection process but as well as to our customer for their record.

RISK CATEGORY:

More precautions need to be made based on the importance factor of the building. Building codes classify buildings by risk of human life, health and welfare. You can refer to ASCE 7 provisions to determine appropriate classifications. For example, a building like a barn would likely represent risk category one due to the low risk of life lost in the event of a failure.

A hospital would be categorized as a level four risk due to it being a building necessary to human life. Most PV systems are installed on risk category two structures. The structures included are typically houses, business warehouses, restaurants and hotels. PV systems on risk category three and four buildings are expensive. This is due to the required additional ballast or attachments to mitigate risk of failure. In many cases, these systems cannot be installed in roof zones two and three on risk category three and four buildings. These additional requirements can limit the amount of PV that can fit on the roof. For attached systems, adding more anchors than necessary can lead to water leaks and more costs down the road.

HEIGHT & EXPOSURE:

The wind loads on a PV system increase as the building gets taller. Any residential project that exceeds 30 feet typically requires custom engineering. It is important to understand the risks associated with installing PV on roofs that exceed 30 feet. This is especially true for instances on buildings such as hotels, that get up to as high as 100 feet tall. In many of these cases, the engineer of record will require anchors instead of a ballast to mitigate risks of failure.

Racking and anchoring systems are key to determining wind resiliency. If too little ballasts are used, (as it may have happened for the system in questions in Yakima), the array can flip or move when faced with strong winds. Tilted racking systems are typically more susceptible to higher wind loads than flush-mounted systems. In the case of ballasted systems, it might seem wise to simply increase the ballasts to reduce risks. However, there are risks in over-designing the system as well. Too many ballasts can cause structural issues with the building; especially those that experience seismic or heavy snow loads.

It is necessary to avoid these ahead of time and plan your systems using the appropriate codes for your specific jurisdiction. It is important to evaluate equipment and attachment methods to ensure that PV equipment will remain attached to structures during windstorm events, and that additional loads or load concentrations do not exceed the structural capacity of the building. It isimportant for design professionals to stay current with existing codes and standards, because we expect the body of information about designing PV systems to withstand local wind loading to grow rapidly in the near future.

 

https://www.yakimaherald.com/free_article/yakima-cleans-up-from-wind-storm-gusts-of-mph-reported/article_df1109e1-9585-56c6-8c07-8ccddd595f96.html

https://www.yakimaherald.com/free_article/high-winds-topple-trees-cause-power-outages-solar-panels-blow/article_29f05bbe-8244-5557-aa06-1ebaea92f81c.html

Solora Solar Featured On Solar Washington Website

solar-roof

Solora Solar was featured this month on the website for Solar Washington, a widely respected solar advocacy organization in Washington state. The group highlighted Solora’s recent sizable commercial solar project at Green Acre Farms in Wapato, Wash.

solar-overviewThe non-profit solar advocacy organization hailed the Green Acre Farms installation as “a significantly important project for particular market segment: the farming community in central Washington.” Solar Washington devoted an entire article to the project, calling it “one of the largest commercial system[s] in Central Washington.”

Solar Washington noted that the 112 kW solar system, consisting of 437 Trina solar panels, is expected to save Green Acre Farms about a half million dollars in energy costs over the next 25 years as it powers the company’s hop-drying facility. The project is expected to pay for itself within 5-6 years. The article also pointed out that the system qualifies Green Acre Farms for a $5,000 annual cash incentive and a 30 percent federal tax incentive.

The piece also highlighted the positive impact a project of that size can have on the environment, as it is believed the 9,000-square-foot system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,400 tons of CO2 over the next 25 years.

“While a majority of solar electricity is produced at large, utility-scale solar power plants,” the article said, “the greatest number of solar jobs are located with companies like Solora Solar doing the work to bring clean energy to the public.”

Solar Washington, which has been successful advocate for solar energy for more than 15 years, featured the article in its Solar In Action section of the website, which “highlights unique and noteworthy solar installations throughout Washington.”

New Type of Cell, A Game Changer

Two sets of scientists have reported promising results from a new recipe for solar cells, which could result in panels for solar power that are easier and cheaper to make.

 

Solar panels were recently placed on the roof of the building that supplies energy to the AirTrain at NewarkLibertyInternationalAirport in Newark, N.J. A scientific advance could help bring a new class of solar cells to market.

 

Efforts to bring a new class of solar cells to market may have received a significant boost from a new recipe for making the cells, developed independently by two teams of scientists.

 

The recipe involves solar cells that use the mineral perovskite as a key ingredient. Until now, researchers had been working with a semiconductor built around a blend of lead and perovskite. The new recipe blends tin with perovskite, an approach that uses cheaper materials than many of today’s generation of solar cells and carries far less environmental and regulatory baggage.

 

During the past few days, two independent groups have reported encouraging results from their initial experiments with this new tin-pervoskite solar cell.

 

On May 1, a team led by OxfordUniversity researcher Henry Snaith reported producing a tin-perovskite cell that converted more than 6 percent of the sunlight it receives into electricity. A formal description of the work appeared online, published by the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

 

Three days later, a team led by NorthwesternUniversity researchers Robert Chang and Mercouri Kanatzidis reported similar results at a slightly lower efficiency – 5.73 percent – in the journal Nature Photonics.

 

These figures are low compared with the top performing photovoltaic cells made today, which boast efficiencies of up to 35 percent. But these high-efficiency cells are expensive to produce and tend to be used for the most demanding applications, such as solar panels for satellites. Even lower-cost versions still require expensive, energy-hungry machines in clean-room environments to make them.

 

The perovskite blends require not much more than bench-top, wet-chemistry techniques that are well within the industry’s ability to use, researchers say.

 

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have suggested that the maximum theoretical efficiency individual perovskite cells can achieve is around 31 percent, or higher if the cells are stacked together to form multi-junction cells.

 

So far, the lead-perovskite predecessors to these new solar cells have reached efficiencies of up to 15 percent.

 

But “I don’t think we have to go that far,” says Northwestern ‘s University’s Dr. Kanatzidis. As long as efficiencies top 10 percent, the tin-perovskite recipe “is quite viable” commercially. At around 6 percent, these new cells are within hailing distance of that goal.

 

Another potential contributor to the tin-perovskite solar cells’ lower cost is the ability of a single cell to operate effectively over a broader range of visible wavelengths than cells currently in use. To achieve the same effective “bandwidth,” today’s cells have to be stacked, with each layer sensitive to a particular portion of visible wavelengths.

 

The prospect of ever-cheaper solar panels to generate electricity makes electric utilities nervous. Beyond the benefits solar energy can provide in reducing the climate-warming greenhouse gases that burning coal and natural gas emit, wider adoption of photovoltaic technology for homes and businesses threatens to serve as the firecracker tucked into the utility industry’s business model. That model relies on large capital-intensive power plants to deliver enough electricity to meet peak demand, even as solar installations feed unused electricity into an interlinked grid.

 

Last year, the Edison Electric Institute published a report on so-called disruptive challenges to utilities and the way they structure their rates. The report singled out the spread of photovoltaic technologies as a key threat, one whose effect has been intensifying. One reason: The highest demand for electricity comes during the day, precisely when increasing numbers of distributed “solar power plants” nationwide would be getting the most sunlight.

 

To take advantage of that sunlight, the new cells take a layer-cake approach.

 

A top layer of electrically conducting glass receives the sunlight, followed by a thin layer of titanium dioxide, which serves as one of the cell’s two connecting points, or electrodes. Next comes the tin-perovskite semiconductor, which absorbs the sunlight. The teams then applied a chemical to the underside of the semiconductor. This facilitates the buildup of an electrical charge between the electrode near the top of the cell and the final layer, another electrode, at the bottom of the cell.

 

The process of adding the semiconductor to a cell and adding the so-called transport layer between the semiconductor and the final electrode must be conducted in a glove box filled with nitrogen gas. The oxygen in ambient air can destroy the semiconductor. But once the transport layer is added, the rest of the cell is ready for outside-the-box assembly.

 

Indeed, the whole effort to explore the use of perovskites represents some outside-the-box thinking, Northwestern’s Kanatzidis says. Within the photovoltaic research community, the mineral hadn’t been given much thought. But once its usefulness became apparent, labs all over the world began to work with it.

 

Its potential for solar cells was first uncovered in 2009 by researchers in Japan – its ability to absorb light was deemed too inefficient to merit further exploration, researchers say. By 2011, however, researchers began to see glimmers of perovskite’s potential. Since 2009, efficiency gains have been taking place at a far faster clip than those for conventional solar-cell semiconductors, which have been steadily improving over decades.

 

Even now, “we don’t understand everything about it,” says Kanatzidis of the new recipe. Still, with no theoretical limit to reaching an efficiency level comparable to today’s top-tier solar cells, researchers are focusing on ways to improve what several say is likely to represent a breakthrough in solar-cell technology.

 

Status of Solar Energy Storage Capacity in U.S.

While Germany Explores Energy Storage Technologies at Breakneck Speeds, the US Isn’t Far Behind

 

Germany could be using 60 percent renewables if the right storage tech were in place. Startling as this announcement seems, the US is not as far behind as people think.

 

The U.S. is surging ahead in terms of adopting battery storage. In 2013-2014, U.S. companies installed, or were in the process of installing more than 300 MW of energy storage capacity. The largest is Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Energy Storage Project. It is a 8-MW system capable of supplying 32 megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid.

 

The aging U.S. infrastructure is a problem when it comes to grid stability. Many of the distribution feeders are nearing the end of their expected useful life. They are fairly weak and not equipped to handle a large influx of intermittent energy.

 

U.S. usually uses only about half of its electrical generation capacity. The peak times only amount to 2 or 3 percent of the year. Very expensive equipment is being purchased to meet that peak demand and it is not used very often.

 

Instead of simply replacing the old grid with a new one, U.S. utilities should ask questions like: Where will we get the most value for our investments? What value do we place on getting a more resilient, more reliable grid? How important is it to have a grid that utilizes more renewable resources?  Do we want to lengthen the life of existing resources?

 

All of these things can be done better. Not by spending another dollar on hardware equipment, but by spending another 10 cents on software and algorithms.

 

Like the US, Germany’s real contribution is software. Its battery plant focuses on 15-minute applications, the maximum allowed under “regulations/market design.”

 

Energy storage is by far one of the fastest resources, capable of handling the increase or decrease of the required frequency almost instantaneously.

 

Their weakness is duration. They become energy limited if forced to carry loads over an extended time. Utilities use a progression of plants for providing spinning reserve, primary and secondary reserves.

 

 

It is not economically feasible to insert more than 75 percent of renewable content into the grid, using battery packs. Germanys’ goal is 60 percent annually. This means some conventional plants will have to remain online until a new technology is developed.

 

Can the US Build a Green Grid?

 

Regardless of whether solution works in Germany, or not, it is not applicable to the U.S.

 

“We couldn’t do that right now because we are not generating enough renewable energy to store, even if we had the storage available,” said Allan Hoffman, a former senior executive with the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

Hoffman believes the U.S. will eventually use 80 percent renewable energy, and referred to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Renewable Electricity Futures Study:

 

Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

NANOCRYSTALS: A New Type of Solar Cell

Scientists are focusing on nanometre-sized crystals for the next generation of solar cells. These nanocrystals have excellent optical properties. Compared with silicon in today’s solar cells, nanocrystals can be designed to absorb a larger fraction of the solar light spectrum. However, the development of nanocrystal-based solar cells is challenging. Until now, the physics of electron transport in this complex material system was not understood so it was impossible to systematically engineer better nanocrystal-composites.

The reason for the enthusiasm of many solar cell researchers for the tiny crystals is that at small dimensions effects of quantum physics come into play that are not observed in bulk semiconductors. One example is that the physical properties of the nanocrystals depend on their size. And because scientists can easily control nanocrystal size in the fabrication process, they are also able to influence the properties of nanocrystal semiconductors and optimize them for solar cells.

One such property that can be influenced by changing nanocrystal size is the amount of sun’s spectrum that can be absorbed by the nanocrystals and converted to electricity by the solar cell. Semiconductors do not absorb the entire sunlight spectrum, but rather only radiation below a certain wavelength, or — in other words — with an energy greater than the so-called band gap energy of the semiconductor. In most semiconductors, this threshold can only be changed by changing the material. However, for nanocrystal composites, the threshold can be changed simply by changing the size of the individual crystals. Thus scientists can select the size of nanocrystals in such a way that they absorb the maximum amount of light from a broad range of the sunlight spectrum.

An additional advantage of nanocrystal semiconductors is that they absorb much more sunlight than traditional semiconductors. For example, the absorption coefficient of lead sulfide nanocrystals is several orders of magnitude greater than that of silicon semiconductors, used traditionally as solar cells. Thus, a relatively small amount of material is sufficient for the production of nanocrystal solar cells, making it possible to make very thin, flexible solar cells.

Over the past five years, scientists have succeeded in greatly increasing the efficiency of nanocrystal solar cells, yet even in the best of these solar cells just 9 percent of the incident sunlight on the cell is converted into electrical energy.

Solar Power World Magazine ranks local company Solora Solar as Top 10 in Washington State

A Yakima-based solar company was recently selected as the best in Washington State by Solar Power World magazine in its annual rankings.

Solora Solar was ranked No. 6 out of 102 solar installation companies in Washington State, according to a news release last week. The rankings are meant to note the best solar electric system installers across Northwest.

While the 2014 Top Solar Contractors list includes many companies from high-growth solar states like California, Colorado, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Ten Washington companies made the list, with Solora Solar at the top, according to the news release.

“This achievement puts Solora Solar in rarefied company” said Solora Solar President Syed Mujtaba in the release.

In the video, three of Solar Power World’s 2014 Top Solar Contractors discuss details of their daily work, the industry and its future.

Another solar installer featured in the video remarked, “I was explaining solar to a farmer, and I used this analogy: solar is a crop that you plant once, you never water, never have to fertilize, and it produces revenue for thirty plus years.”

In the release, Solora Solar said that it has designed and installed more than 100 solar electric systems for residential, agricultural, and commercial, customers across the Northwest.

The company mission is to “accelerate the transition to clean energy” by delivering a smooth transition to clean solar energy at any scale, the release said.

Company Profile:

Solora Solar is a full-service designer, developer and installer of solar systems for commercial, municipal and residential integrations. Our goal is to provide solar energy solutions to our customers by offering the safest, most efficient solar systems of the very highest quality construction and most affordable materials. We do this both on budget and within customer timelines for each solar installation.

Solora Solar takes pride in performing installations of the highest quality, paying close attention to all details and offering personal and professional customer service. We enjoy working with our customers to discover and plan the perfect solar system for their business or home.

We provide expertise in all aspects of your custom solar solution — from initial communication and system design to the professional install and ongoing maintenance of your solar energy system. Our knowledgable staff come to your project with years of experience in every conceivable type of solar project, and we’ve had the pleasure of working with many happy clients throughout Washington state.

New Type of Cell, A Game Changer

 

Two sets of scientists have reported promising results from a new recipe for solar cells, which could result in panels for solar power that are easier and cheaper to make.

 

Solar panels were recently placed on the roof of the building that supplies energy to the AirTrain at NewarkLibertyInternationalAirport in Newark, N.J. A scientific advance could help bring a new class of solar cells to market.

 

Efforts to bring a new class of solar cells to market may have received a significant boost from a new recipe for making the cells, developed independently by two teams of scientists.

 

The recipe involves solar cells that use the mineral perovskite as a key ingredient. Until now, researchers had been working with a semiconductor built around a blend of lead and perovskite. The new recipe blends tin with perovskite, an approach that uses cheaper materials than many of today’s generation of solar cells and carries far less environmental and regulatory baggage.

 

During the past few days, two independent groups have reported encouraging results from their initial experiments with this new tin-pervoskite solar cell.

 

On May 1, a team led by OxfordUniversity researcher Henry Snaith reported producing a tin-perovskite cell that converted more than 6 percent of the sunlight it receives into electricity. A formal description of the work appeared online, published by the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

 

Three days later, a team led by NorthwesternUniversity researchers Robert Chang and Mercouri Kanatzidis reported similar results at a slightly lower efficiency – 5.73 percent – in the journal Nature Photonics.

 

These figures are low compared with the top performing photovoltaic cells made today, which boast efficiencies of up to 35 percent. But these high-efficiency cells are expensive to produce and tend to be used for the most demanding applications, such as solar panels for satellites. Even lower-cost versions still require expensive, energy-hungry machines in clean-room environments to make them.

 

The perovskite blends require not much more than bench-top, wet-chemistry techniques that are well within the industry’s ability to use, researchers say.

 

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have suggested that the maximum theoretical efficiency individual perovskite cells can achieve is around 31 percent, or higher if the cells are stacked together to form multi-junction cells.

 

So far, the lead-perovskite predecessors to these new solar cells have reached efficiencies of up to 15 percent.

 

But “I don’t think we have to go that far,” says Northwestern ‘s University’s Dr. Kanatzidis. As long as efficiencies top 10 percent, the tin-perovskite recipe “is quite viable” commercially. At around 6 percent, these new cells are within hailing distance of that goal.

 

Another potential contributor to the tin-perovskite solar cells’ lower cost is the ability of a single cell to operate effectively over a broader range of visible wavelengths than cells currently in use. To achieve the same effective “bandwidth,” today’s cells have to be stacked, with each layer sensitive to a particular portion of visible wavelengths.

 

The prospect of ever-cheaper solar panels to generate electricity makes electric utilities nervous. Beyond the benefits solar energy can provide in reducing the climate-warming greenhouse gases that burning coal and natural gas emit, wider adoption of photovoltaic technology for homes and businesses threatens to serve as the firecracker tucked into the utility industry’s business model. That model relies on large capital-intensive power plants to deliver enough electricity to meet peak demand, even as solar installations feed unused electricity into an interlinked grid.

 

Last year, the Edison Electric Institute published a report on so-called disruptive challenges to utilities and the way they structure their rates. The report singled out the spread of photovoltaic technologies as a key threat, one whose effect has been intensifying. One reason: The highest demand for electricity comes during the day, precisely when increasing numbers of distributed “solar power plants” nationwide would be getting the most sunlight.

 

To take advantage of that sunlight, the new cells take a layer-cake approach.

 

A top layer of electrically conducting glass receives the sunlight, followed by a thin layer of titanium dioxide, which serves as one of the cell’s two connecting points, or electrodes. Next comes the tin-perovskite semiconductor, which absorbs the sunlight. The teams then applied a chemical to the underside of the semiconductor. This facilitates the buildup of an electrical charge between the electrode near the top of the cell and the final layer, another electrode, at the bottom of the cell.

 

The process of adding the semiconductor to a cell and adding the so-called transport layer between the semiconductor and the final electrode must be conducted in a glove box filled with nitrogen gas. The oxygen in ambient air can destroy the semiconductor. But once the transport layer is added, the rest of the cell is ready for outside-the-box assembly.

 

Indeed, the whole effort to explore the use of perovskites represents some outside-the-box thinking, Northwestern’s Kanatzidis says. Within the photovoltaic research community, the mineral hadn’t been given much thought. But once its usefulness became apparent, labs all over the world began to work with it.

 

Its potential for solar cells was first uncovered in 2009 by researchers in Japan – its ability to absorb light was deemed too inefficient to merit further exploration, researchers say. By 2011, however, researchers began to see glimmers of perovskite’s potential. Since 2009, efficiency gains have been taking place at a far faster clip than those for conventional solar-cell semiconductors, which have been steadily improving over decades.

 

Even now, “we don’t understand everything about it,” says Kanatzidis of the new recipe. Still, with no theoretical limit to reaching an efficiency level comparable to today’s top-tier solar cells, researchers are focusing on ways to improve what several say is likely to represent a breakthrough in solar-cell technology.

 

Big thing for sustainable energy

Generating solar power can be expensive and impractical for the average person, but a new process that spray-paints solar cells to almost any surface could be the next big thing in green energy.

University of Sheffield research scientists in the UK have developed a method that sprays a perovskite compound that can be used to generate solar energy, potentially turning a variety objects into power generators.

Typical solar cells can be quite energy-intensive to manufacture when made with materials such as silicon, whereas the generation of perovskites requires far less energy.

The method involves spray-painting layers of the material onto a surface, meaning little material is wasted and the concept can be easily adapted to more affordable high-scale manufacturing.

By replacing the key light-absorbing layer found in organic solar cells with a spray-painted perovskite, energy efficiency is vastly increased.

“The best certified efficiencies from organic solar cells are around 10 percent,” explains lead researcher Professor David Lidzey.

“Perovskite cells now have efficiencies of up to 19 percent. This is not so far behind that of silicon at 25 percent — the material that dominates the worldwide solar market.”

Solora Solar Becomes First SunPower Authorized Dealer in Central Washington (Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Yakima & Tri-Cities)

Solora Solar Yakima WA-based leader in residential and light commercial solar system design and installation, is proud to announce the achievement of SunPower® Authorized Dealer status with SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR).

SunPower dealers provide comprehensive solar assessment and installation services, including helping homeowners figure out what kind of system they need, how it should be configured and how it can be financed. They also perform project design and installation of all panels and components, as well as obtaining permits, processing rebates and maintaining the system as needed.

SunPower selectively accepts dealers into its network, requiring them to provide customers with superior levels of service, including fast response to customer inquiries, customer satisfaction tracking, and participation in a post-installation site inspection program. SunPower dealers in the program have also completed regular training in the specifications and installation of SunPower products.

Installing a superior product like SunPower goes hand in hand with Solora Solar long term philosophy of providing our customers with the best solar products available on the current global market. Solora Solar is constantly seeking to be the best in the business while providing the greatest value and the most competitive pricing for the most powerful solar panels on the planet.

“After careful and several month of research, we realized that offering SunPower product to our clients gives them the highest quality panels available today,” said Syed Mujtaba, founder of Solora Solar. “Furthermore, SunPower has very attractive financial options including long- and short-term loans. In this way, we’re able to exceed our client’s expectations and create long-term relationships.”

SunPower’s best-in-class dealer program supports a network of approximately 2,000 solar power system installers worldwide that sell, install and service SunPower products.

SunPower guarantees panel performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. SunPower, based in San   Jose, California, currently produces the most efficient and highest output solar panels available on the global market. Their solar modules are designed to excel in both high temperature and lowlight conditions and are currently the most widely used, trusted solar panels in the United States and carry a 25 year warranty covering 100 percent of any issue related to product integrity and power output.

Doing business with a SunPower Authorized Dealer means getting the highest quality workmanship and service possible when it comes to having a solar electric system installed on your home or commercial building.

To get an estimate for your solar system, please call Solora Solar at 800-696-8935.

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