Newer solar power tech not 'better'

2013-01-16 14:30
Solar panels. (AP)

Solar panels. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Cape Town - Thin Film Solar (TFS) panels may be the latest technology in solar power, but they are not necessarily better in terms of their power delivery, a researcher has said.

"From a materials point of view, TFS panels that are in commercial production are not fundamentally more efficient than the latest Silicon (Si) crystalline photovoltaic (PV) solar panels," Dr Frederik Vorster, senior researcher at the Photovoltaics Research Unit, in the Centre for Energy Research (CER), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University told News24.

The cost of TFS panels has declined in developed markets, but Vorster said that despite this, the panels suffered from degrading light effects.

"The PV materials that are used in TFS panels suffer from a host of degradation effects, including light induced degradation. Most reputable manufacturers of TFS panels will offset the expected reduced power production as a result of degradation, when quoting the long term performance figures of the module."

He also said that the cost of the panels was not an advantage when considered against the degrading effects of light over time.

Electricity prices

"Although most TFS panels are cheaper to buy, the durability of a panel and its ability to produce energy (kWh) over a 25 year term needs to be considered. In other words, the cost per unit of energy produced (R/kWh) over a long term needs to be considered," Vorster argued.

Electricity prices in are set to increase for domestic consumers in SA and the cost has seen solar power become a viable option for home owners who may spend in excess of R1 000 per month on electricity.

The local industry has seen a boom with several manufacturers offering everything from DIY solar kits to fully professionally installed solar systems at price points ranging from system with enough power for lights to those that can a take a house completely off the national grid.

TFS panels are amorphous in nature which means that the atoms are arranged in an irregular order which is inefficient for conduction of electricity.

There are continued developments in traditional Silicon solar panels though, and Vorster said that innovation with these could increase their performance.

"Big improvements in the antireflective coatings that are used in crystalline Si panels have, however, dramatically increased the ability of these solar panels to absorb sunlight. In low light (cloudy) conditions the ability of any solar panel to absorb sunlight gives it an advantage."


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 

Read more on:    renewable energy
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

SA political parties go to church

Leaders of different political parties have attended a church service at the Tyrannus Apostolic Church in De Deur.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.