Present consumer to receive the same efficiency gain

Present Technology The current technology of a solar panel is limited. There are three types of solar panels. Noticeably, as they advance their efficiency rate appears to go decline. Two of the most efficient types of solar panels can be exemplified in the photograph below along with thin-film solar panels:  -Efficiency Rates of Each Panel: – Monocrystalline: 15-20%  Polycrystalline: 13-16% Thin-Film: 9-11% -Differences Between the Panels- Between the crystalline panels, the photo below gives a brief description of the appearance, but it does not explain why they are constructed the way they are.  The efficiency is mostly based on the purity of the silicon. For the MONOCRYSTALLINE solar panels, the silicon is purer than the silicon in the POLYCRYSTALLINE solar panels. With that said, the more selective the silicon is during the purification process, the more effective the silicon will be once placed into the panel itself. MONOCRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANELS Silicon is cylindrically shaped, aligned, cut into “wafers” and formed into an array to optimize the panel’s performance rate to produce energy. POLYCRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANELS Though less efficient energy wise, the manufacturing costs reduce for production because the silicon selection allows there to be less silicon wastes. This “waste” works just as well, but is instead melted and incorporated with the purer sources of silicon. THIN-FILM SOLAR PANELS The thin-film panels are made from Cadmium Telluride, Amorphous Silicon, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, or Gallium Arsenide for their solar cells. All are varying in efficiency, but increasing in cost. Future Technology  Solar panels have a limit on when they can and cannot be used. For instance, crystalline solar panels are not as useful on cloudy days unlike thin-film panels. However, with that said, there are still flaws that come with those thin-film solar panels. Yes, they are flexible and convenient at times, but they require more space for the consumer to receive the same efficiency gain as they would from using a mono- or poly- crystalline panel. The plan for the future technology of solar panels is to increase their efficiency rate, but maintain the flexibility of thin-films and make them more cost effective. Using the thin-film as a “strive for” appearance, the more efficient version would also have to be more durable to decrease any need for replacements. In doing so, there would have to be improvements to the panels’ junction box and silicon wafers. The proposition for this solution, is the use of nanotechnology. More specifically, carbon nanotubes. Like the silicon wafers in the monocrystalline, carbon nanotubes are cylindrical, have silicon-based nanowires, and are even more cost effective. These wires are semiconductors and can produce solar cells. According to, the use of silicon nanowires, the solar cells will be able to produce electricity equivalently to fossil fuels. With the nanowires installed in the panels, they will still maintain its high efficiency rates and potentially more. The use of carbon nanotubes would help resolve the lack of maintaining solar energy that is faced now. This allows solar energy to be stored longer and be used when needed, like a battery. In fact, many batteries, such as lithium ion batteries, do use “nanoparticle-based electrodes” for electric cars. This can be seen as a positive example of nanotechnological uses and its contribution to alternative energy sources. In summation, the use of nanotechnology will make solar panels more cost effective. Solar panels are the cleanest of alternative sources and adding this element to its current technology can make it even greater. Silicon nanowires can be applied to the solar panels because they are light absorbers. They will act as if they were a battery. With the technology being so compact, the junction box that seals the silicon will decrease in size but will still be able to generate an equivalent amount of energy/ electricity. Storage for solar energy will become less of an issue and space for solar panels should gradually decline with the support of carbon nanotubes. History (Still Working On)  Before solar panels were made people used solar energy. Solar energy (energy using the sun’s rays) was used in 7 B.C. for survival tricks like lighting fires with glass objects. The Greeks and Romans started using solar energy to light torches, using mirrors, sometime in the 13th century B.C. The name for these mirrors were “burning mirrors”. When documentation became common, the Chinese documented mirrors for the same purposes. Solar energy was also used for “sunrooms”. A sunroom is a room in which humungous windows shine light in a certain area. They are still used today. Between the 1700s and 1800s, scientists used the sun’s energy to produce “solar-powered steamboats”. The invention of solar panels is still in the air since multiple scientists have been accredited for breakthroughs. Some people give the credit to a French scientist by the name of Edmond Becquerel. He made the “photovoltaic event” which explained “light could increase electricity generation when two metal electrodes were placed into a conducting solution” (  The actual production and functions of solar panels are in the timeline below: 1873: Willoughby Smith found photoconductive potential was present in the element selenium. 1876: Richard Evans Day and William Grylls Adams discovered selenium produces electricity when it is exposed to sunlight. This was thanks to the discovery from Willoughby Smith. 1883: Selenium-wafers were used in the first solar cells made by Charles Fritts. Historians accredit him for the actual creation of solar panels. 1954: The silicon photovoltaic cell is made at Bell Labs by Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson.  Since the solar panels of today are made with selenium, some believe they truly created the first solar panel.   


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