A spate of announcements recently saw mainstream solar module efficiencies reach 20+%, well in fact, 22% and above.
First, it was SolarCity that said it will roll out 22% efficiency; within a couple of days, Panasonic shot back saying its modules off its module line had 22.5% efficiency, all the time SunPower looking at them saying its module had been over 22% for quite a while (though SunPower modules are considered more of a premium variety rather than mainstream)
All these should make the solar power plants reflect on how solar adoption could move faster than expected. If mainstream modules could be available at 22% efficiency but at the same or even lower prices than current, one can expect overall costs to go down as the sizes of modules for the same wattage keeps decreasing, and so do many of the balance of system costs.
High efficiency modules could be especially interesting for rooftop solar installers who would like to generate more from their constrained roof areas. If high efficiency modules are available at reasonable costs, it could mean a real difference to them, and for many regions worldwide, solar could start becoming economically feasible even without subsidies. And solar grid parity could be achieved faster for these regions than estimated.
All these point to exciting times for solar growth.
For developers/owners of rooftop or ground mounted solar power plants, it makes sense to start exploring how they can integrate these higher efficiency modules in their new power plants.
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