Our world is constantly evolving, and the energy that keeps it running is becoming greener and more efficient. It is actually quite interesting to see how far we have come with green energy.
This graphic from Solar Power Guide shows the increase in solar panel efficiency over time. It is an easy and digestible way to see that science is intriguing and imperfect. In the 1800s scientists had an intrigue themselves for harnessing the power of the sun to generate electricity or power. We didn’t have the resources to do that as well now, with only pulling a high of <1% of efficiency coming out of the 1800s.
As we move into the 1900s despite the efforts of many laboratories, the breakthrough to 20% did not come until 1992 when Researchers in Australia created a commercial silicon cell that was able to harness that 20% efficiency! It’s amazing that folks around the world shared the same vision, and that vision seemed to be coming to fruition.
It’s fascinating that this graphic talks about multiple different solar cell technologies that were invented to harness the same goal. As we moved forward through the years, we can see looking at this graphic that the record was broken with 24.1% in 2019 by SunPower, then ultimately to date INREL researchers were ultimately able to get 39.2% efficiency for solar panels. Given that nearly +33% jump from when this technology was discovered, there’s still so much room for improvement, growth and discovery.
Either way you look at this, the world and our capabilities as humans to continuously improve upon and discover new green energy is such an amazing thing.
Hopefully science will keep progressing and I’ll be reading a chart like this another few years from now seeing the efficiency is at 50 + percent, maybe we will even have 100% efficiency with solar power in my lifetime.