Latest Advancements in Solar Technology for Residential Applications – AltEnergyMagazine

Due to the huge functions for solar know-how in modern-day residences, sure developments in solar energy programs have completely different advantages as households fluctuate.

Latest Advancements in Solar Technology for Residential Applications

Dr. Raj Shah and Nicole Amelia Turner | Koehler Instrument Company

As extra residential communities are making the choice to make use of the energy from the solar to power their on a regular basis family actions, the extent of developments which can be occurring has supplied a brand-new that means to the phrases, effectiveness, and effectivity. As research performed by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) have proven, the quantity it should value a median family to make the change to solar energy is steadily lowering from yr to yr. Due to the huge functions for solar know-how in modern-day residences, sure developments in solar energy programs have completely different advantages as households fluctuate. Therefore, understanding these new developments will assist residents to plan for not solely a private solar energy system, however to have the ability to stand up to and equip future know-how because it evolves. 


Upward Trajectory of Solar Panel in Residential Neighborhoods

Since the tip of the Industrial Revolution, solar energy has turn into one, if not, the most affordable supply of energy that is ready to generate small measurement power crops, similar to residential neighborhoods with specifically designed home windows. Within residential neighborhoods, owners are starting to make the most of solar panels which can be complementary to the design of their houses. There are new technological developments that permit for solar panels installations to turn into extra environment friendly whereas with the ability to extract extra of the solar’s rays to generate extra energy. As time strikes ahead many communities are enacting upon the solar power sector continuous development. They wish to set sustainability objectives and have home enhancements resemble the solar energy path nations are turning to. Since the elevated flux in solar energy over the last three years, many solar energy firms are competing to design and construct more practical and environment friendly solar panels that may preserve probably the most energy. 

During the second quarter of 2021, the United States Congress handed to extend the twenty-six p.c Investment Tax Credit that may assist solar energy innovation and improve the chance of residential owners and corporations including solar panels to their houses for 2 extra years. The extension of the Investment Tax Credit had an unlimited development inside the storage part of the solar energy programs. This system has allowed for an eligible tax credit score because of the on-site renewable energy programs. Not solely did the U.S. Congress participate in making solar panels inexpensive, so did the U.S. DOE [1]. The U.S. DOE has pledged thousands and thousands of {dollars} to permit researchers to find model new solar methods and applied sciences, together with lessening the price of solar panel energy. 


Transparent Solar Cells

Currently, silicon is probably the most broadly used materials in solar know-how however having non-transparent home windows can typically be tough in residential design and building. In residential buildings, no matter measurement, home windows might be thought of the face, contemplating that home windows permit daylight in, and that the houses’ facade can take in and mirror gentle. By designing and creating solar cells which can be translucent, University of Michigan researchers have been capable of set up a file setting 8.1 effectivity ranking. Instead of utilizing the normal silicon materials, the crew used a carbon based mostly natural which in the end elevated the transparency to 43.3% [2]. This is essential particularly in residential houses as a result of it has the likelihood to alternate typical cells to cells that resemble automobile home windows or sun shades, whether or not being within the new section of building or the present infrastructure.


Figure 1: Transparent Solar Cells
MIT Energy Initiative, 2013

The diagram under illustrated by MIT researchers, Vladimir Bulović, Miles Barr and Richard Lunt, shows the interior workings of a clear photovoltaic system, which is designed to extend effectivity whereas offering visible clearance, not like different solar cells. These cells can present a resident residence constructing, as excessive as a skyscraper, with greater than sufficient electrical energy to scale back the price by almost 25%, with out altering the face of the constructing itself.

Figure 2: Spectral response of typical and clear PV cells. MIT Energy Initiative, 2013


Residential Breakthroughs

Ground Mount Solar: When roofs should not satisfactory places to position solar panels, as an example when the slope of a roof will not be on the angle to draw solar rays or different obstructions hinder set up, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic programs can be utilized. The limitations supplied by roofs should not the identical for floor degree constructions, due to this fact the set up course of of those panels permit for any peak, orientation, and angle of tilt to be obtained, so long as the spacing is supplied at floor degree to supply most daylight [3]. When coping with ground-mounted solar panels, there are two structural designs which can be generally used: the usual floor mount and the pole-mounted system. The distinction between the 2 is that the usual system is anchored on to the bottom at numerous places on the system utilizing metal framework, whereas the pole system is a single mast, anchored within the floor and the panels are positioned in rectangle or sq. frames. Homeowners have additionally discovered this method to be simpler to take care of by way of the cleansing course of and the power to take care of their very own solar panel with out having the set up crew present upkeep. 

Figure 3: Ground-Mounted Solar Panels.  EcoWatch, 2021

Community Solar Gardens: These solar know-how programs present options of unpolluted energy with out having to undergo the method of getting to put in solar panels on the roof or floor degree. A solar facility consists of a number of programs of solar panels linked with the power to share with a number of residential areas at one time, whether or not they be single household, a number of household, or residence model dwelling. Even although many individuals are enthusiastic about establishing solar know-how and clear energy for his or her residences, there are nonetheless many elements hindering them from making the conversion. Therefore, many communities design and implement numerous solar amenities that assist generate electrical energy to the native electrical grid, which assist carry credit score profit to private electrical energy payments. These areas should be positioned in areas which can be effectively lit and expertise a considerable amount of daylight publicity. Once energy is generated from the native solar backyard, it’s then transferred out to the native electrical energy grid that’s then shared with surrounding residents. It is essential to notice that many of those gardens make the most of floor mount solar know-how in numerous out there tons and open areas round neighborhoods. Solar group gardens are categorized within the following three packages.

  • Utility Sponsorship – This program is all the time beneath the operation of a utility firm seeking to improve their funding and providers in renewable energy, for a neighborhood that historically can not afford to ascertain technological development on their very own.

  • Private Company – This program falls beneath those that are enthusiastic about solar power producing funding on a small-scale challenge web site. For instance, shopping for or investing on this firm will help you make the most of their solar power programs as clear energy, the place native firms don’t provide solar know-how utilities.

  • Subscription Program – Within this program, an organization had used their personal funds to put in a solar group backyard inside the residential neighbors. Residents are then accountable to pay a month-to-month or yearly charge to the ratio of solar panels it might take to provide electrical energy to their residence. 

Figure 4: South Bronx Community Solar Garden. Metro US, 2020

Solar Shingles. The two sorts of solar shingle created to match the small roofing shingles of a standard roof and are built-in into the idea design of the asphalt roofing are the silicon shingle or the copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic shingle. Many individuals have began to make use of shingles principally for the aesthetic, as many owners need one thing that matches their home design as a substitute of getting the big conventional roofing. These can take the type of a single panel or a gaggle of shingles that may form into both tile, concrete, or another type of roofing, whereas permitting the conversion strategy of solar energy into home electrical energy. A well known course of wherein the solar shingles generate energy is by the use of the photovoltaic system, which is claimed to final over thirty years. These photovoltaic system shingles are used on sloped roofs. 

  • Silicon Solar Singles – The solar shingles are interchangeable with the widespread non-solar roofing since they’re fabricated from a robust metallic with a movie of amorphous silicon that can be utilized in any climate situation. 

  • Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide (CIGS) – the most recent development of solar shingles which can be made to be extra sturdy, versatile, and lighter in weight to carry all types of climate and nonetheless be capable to maintain sufficient solar energy. 

Solar Skins. With solar technological developments pushing ahead, using solar skins is turning into extra receptive to owners attributable to solar skins with the ability to change to any shade or sample that may match the wants of the home. For instance, solar skins might be positioned anyplace on the home-owner’s property and might change to resemble the roof, facet panels, grass, and so on. These skins can be utilized to wrap round all the things in a person’s home. The solar skins present owners with the pliability of low roof choices, not like the normal solar panels or solar shingles. The solar skins are made out of metallic brackets and fixtures that make the most of the rail-free racking system that makes use of a skinny clear materials. 


Cell Division and Breakdown of Solar Panels to Increase Efficiency

Contactless Dispensing Process. During the method of contactless shelling out, a metallic part is utilized onto the solar cells utilizing perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. This is a course of that many firms are attempting to intention to commercialize. 

Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC). Originally created within the 1980, the Passivated Emitter Rear Cell continues to be used in the present day to assist improve energy absorption and conversion into electrical energy for solar cells of the primary technology. The PERC consists of a conventional silicon cell lined with layers that may appeal to the layer of daylight to cross by means of every cell, so the energy might be saved for the consumption of family energy. These cells are fabricated from crystalline silicon that can be utilized in excessive elevated temperatures [5].

Design Specifications: Within the design of the PERC solar cell, the passivation floor is a dielectric floor. This cell was designed to restrict the quantity of contact for the conductor-metal space whereas rising the reflection of the rear floor. This was achieved by permitting photons to be absorbed whereas passing out and in of the cell itself. This know-how additionally helps to scale back the degrees of warmth absorption on panels. 

Figure 5. PERC Solar Cell Design. Solar Magazine, 2022

Heterojunction Technology (HJT): Also within the Nineteen Eighties, to extend power output and electrical energy effectivity, the HJT was created. This is an amorphous layer fabricated from a non-crystalline substance utilized to either side of the cell-like wafer construction referred to as the mono-Si or a number of being the poly-Si – permitting for extra daylight to be transformed. The heterojunction know-how will not be used solely by itself however with the widespread solar panel as a canopy to extend the sturdiness and effectivity [6].

Design Specifications: The HJT Solar Module, is among the extra widespread fashions which can be capable of obtain a median module effectivity of 21.4%. The supplies used to design these panels are Crystalline Silicon (c-Si), Amorphous Silicon (a-Si), and Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). This know-how makes use of a mixture of wafer-based photovoltaic know-how and skinny movie know-how to create their solar cells. This know-how can obtain an effectivity as excessive as 26.7% with a worth vary of round $0.34/W. 

Figure 6. Structure of Heterojunction Solar Cell Design. Solar Magazine, 2022

Bifacial Solar Panels: Similar to the one sided HJT course of, there’s a double-sided publicity to daylight that may take in the daylight on all sides with a rise of 40% in effectivity versus the mono-facial panels. With these panels, they will transfer relying on the angle of the daylight. 

Design: In comparability to the traditional panel also referred to as Monofacial panels, Bifacial panels are designed to generate energy from the front and back of the panel. By attracting the daylight from the entrance of the panel and harvesting mirrored gentle from the again this panel can produce a larger output of power. The supply for reflection comes from a sequence of photovoltaic modules positioned in a close-by row. These panels have a symmetric cell construction that may additionally acquire and maintain further daylight and are n-type wafers whereas the traditional panel is a P-type Wafer [7]. The entrance irradiance is projected in direction of the primary layer which is entrance passivation & AR, after which to the second layer which is an emitter (p + Si). The rear irradiance is projected in direction of the primary layer often called rear passivation after which to the BSF (n + Si). Just as typical PV modules use a white again sheet, the bifacial makes use of a clear again sheet or a glass. Therefore, the energy generates or produce by this panel might be calculated utilizing Equation 1, which helps within the design for p.c positive factors.

Total Produced Energy = Energy from Front + Energy from Rear

Equation 1. Bifacial PV Energy Equation

Cost Benefits from utilizing Bifacial Panels rely on what is called the Bifacial acquire which is the ratio of extra rear energy (kWh) to entrance energy (kWh) at particular normal check circumstances, as proven in equation 2. 

Bifacial Gain (BG) = EnergyrearEnergyentrance

Equation 2. Bifacial Gain (BG) Ratio 

When designing these panels, they should be designed for the perfect Albedo vary, see Equation 3, as potential which describes the ratio of sunshine that is ready to be mirrored based mostly on completely different floor supplies, similar to ice, sand, snow, water, grass, and concrete to call just a few. In less complicated phrases, to not be confused with reflectance, albedo is the whole solar radiation reflectance for the total spectrum of sunshine. This ratio is the primary issue when figuring out the energy generated from the again panel. For instance, snow has a a lot greater vary of albedo compared to water and asphalt.

Albedo = Reflected gentle Incident Light

Equation 3. Albedo Ratio

The subsequent main think about designing bifacial panels is the elevation, which ends up in a extra environment friendly BG. When the module is positioned at a sure elevation above floor degree, extra daylight might be mirrored. The finest module elevations are these which can be designed with at a most peak of 1m (39.37 in) above floor degree. The relationship between module elevation and BG might be proven as a liner illustration till it reaches 1m. As the module elevation will increase, the BG additionally will increase. 

Figure 7. Bifacial acquire by Module Elevation. LG Electronics, 2017

Deployment of Solar Panel Advancements

According to the United States Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, the elevated use of solar panels would doubtless lower the quantity of carbon gasses utilized in households. Their major mannequin states that transferring ahead till 2050, with companies and houses enhancing their electrical capabilities, using clear energy gas, the transportation utilizing extra electrical buses and using industrial energy, the energy consumption will attain as excessive as thirty-two gigawatts-AC (GWac). 

If the technological development of solar panels continues to develop with the anticipated price of solar panel installations, they’re anticipating to not have a rise in electrical energy for family payments. The anticipated development has so much to do with the elevated employment of these within the solar energy business and those that wish to research the developments of solar panel makes use of in numerous neighborhoods. Many of those workers are exploring the place low-income neighborhoods can finest be suited to a solar panel backyard that may assist to chop down the price for the set up of their houses. These gardens might must be positioned on high of an residence constructing that’s situated in a central a part of the district. In these houses, not solely will this have an effect on the electrical energy however might permit owners to transform to electrical home equipment similar to stoves or/and dryers. [8]





About Dr. Raj Shah
Dr. Raj Shah is a Director at Koehler Instrument Company in New York, the place he has labored for the final 27 years. He is an elected Fellow by his friends at IChemE, CMI, STLE, AIC, NLGI, INSTMC, Institute of Physics, The Energy Institute and The Royal Society of Chemistry. An ASTM Eagle award recipient, Dr. Shah not too long ago coedited the bestseller, “Fuels and Lubricants handbook”, particulars of which can be found at ASTM’s Long-Awaited Fuels and Lubricants Handbook 2nd Edition Now Available ( He earned his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and is a Fellow from The Chartered Management Institute, London. Dr. Shah can also be a Chartered Scientist with the Science Council, a Chartered Petroleum Engineer with the Energy Institute and a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering council, UK. Dr. Shah was not too long ago granted the honorific of “Eminent engineer” with Tau beta Pi, the most important engineering society within the USA. He is on the Advisory board of administrators at Farmingdale college (Mechanical Technology ) , Auburn Univ ( Tribology ) and Stony Brook University ( Chemical engineering/ Material Science and engineering). An Adjunct Professor on the State University of New York, Stony Brook, within the Department of Material Science and Chemical engineering, Raj additionally has over 500 publications and has been lively within the different energy business for over 3 a long time. More data on Raj might be discovered at


Ms. Nicole Turner is a scholar at Hofstra University, Hempstead NY and is part of a thriving  internship program at Koehler Instrument firm  which inspires college students to take a deep dive into different energy applied sciences.  




  1. Solar Energy Technologies Office. “Solar Energy in the United States.”, Sept. 2021, 

  2. Moore, Nicole Casal. “Transparent Solar Panels for Windows Hit Record 8% Efficiency.” University of Michigan News, 21 Aug. 2020,

  3. Cbsolar, CBSolar, and Cbsolar. “2021 Home Solar Technology Advances.” Cool Blew Electric & Solar, 30 Apr. 2021,,energy%20via%20a%20photovoltaic%20system%20like…%20More%20. 

  4. Toussaint, Kristin. “Community Solar Garden Coming to the South Bronx.” Metro US, 26 Feb. 2020, 

  5. Green, Martin A. “The Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (Perc): From Conception to Mass Production.” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, North-Holland, 16 July 2015, 

  6. Pickerel, Kelly, et al. “What Are Heterojunction Technology (HJT) Solar Panels?” Solar Power World, 24 Sept. 2020, 

  7.  Bifacial Design Guide – LG Electronics. LG Electronics. (2017). Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

  8. Dec 1, 2021, by Darrell Proctor. “New Materials, Efficiency Upgrades Advancing Solar Technologies.” POWER Magazine, 1 Dec. 2021, 

  9. Stauffer, Nancy. “Transparent Solar Cells.” Main, 24 Oct. 2017, 

  10. *, N. (2022, March 6). A whole information to PERC solar panels (vs. different techs). Solar Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from 


The content material & opinions on this article are the writer’s and don’t essentially symbolize the views of AltEnergyMagazine

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