One perennial question faced by solar power companies in Marin County is a variation on “But is solar power REALLY worth it?” The public perception is that solar power is difficult, expensive, and takes a long time to pay for itself via reduced electricity bills. Last century, this was arguably true – but now, we’re living in a golden age of solar power! Increased investment in alt-fuel research has resulted in a huge number of new technologies being made available to solar power companies in Marin County – and even more are on their way.
Here are some of the technologies which are already released, or expected this year, that are making 2018 the year of solar!
Four New Innovations That Make Modern Solar Power Great
1 – Better batteries
Thank Elon Musk for this one. His work with his Tesla electric vehicles has resulted in constant battery innovations – building them bigger and more efficient. The same battery tech is now making its way into solar systems, with the Tesla Powerwall. It’s by far the best solution for storing and distributing power generated by solar powers.
2 – Mobile panels
Another issue that has always plagued solar power is that the sun keeps moving in the sky. Solar panels lost a lot of potential power because they couldn’t always tilt towards the sun. But now? Panels can be mounted on their own motorized pivots that track the sun in the sky, turning and tilting to get optimal sunlight for more hours in the day. That means greatly improved efficiency, and more power generated.
3 – Better panel conversion efficiency
Because so much of sunlight is heat or gets reflected away by the panels, converting solar power to electricity has always been tricky. In the 1970s, consumer-grade solar could only convert around 5% of power. Today, that’s up to 20-25%, or roughly 200W per square meter – more than enough for most homes.
4 – Coming soon: Solar Skins!
This is the tech we’re excited about seeing. Many homeowners think that solar panels are ugly, but what if you could have solar panels that completely blend into your roof? Solar Skins are coming soon, and if they can maintain that 20%+ conversion rate, they will be a game-changer.