This question is part of the Super Big Solar Panel FAQ from Solar Mango, where expert answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels are provided.

 

Solar panel efficiency defines the amount of sunlight that can be converted by the panel into usable electricity. Solar panel efficiencies for a panel depends on the cell type, manufacturer and size of the panel. A list of solar panel efficiencies of top panel manufacturers (as of end 2015) based on cell type is given as follows:

Type of solar panel – Panel efficiency (%)

  • Monocrystalline 17 – 23
  • Polycrystalline 14-17
  • Thin Film 7-16

It is worthwhile to note that the efficiencies mentioned above are for mass-produced panels. But a number of manufacturers have managed to obtain greater efficiencies in research labs

 

Super Big Solar Panel FAQGet to know answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels from here.

 

A key point to be noted is that a solar panel of 1 MW with higher efficiency doesn’t generate more electricity than a 1 MW solar panel with a lower efficiency. In fact, regardless of the efficiency, a 1 MW solar panel generates the same amount of electricity.

However, a high efficiency 1 MW solar panel requires less area than a 1 MW panel with a lower efficiency.

Solar panel efficiencies are provided under standard Testing Conditions (STC), which are listed below.

Standard Testing Conditions

  • Temperature = 25ᵒC
  • Incoming solar radiation (Insolation) = 1000W/m2
  • Air mass ratio (AM) = 1.5. AM represents a coefficient that accounts for the scattering of light as it passes through the atmosphere, and changes in sun angle that in turn affect solar radiation.

Source: Solar Panel Efficiency from Solar Mango’s Solar Dictionary

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