Solar Technological Advancements

July 29, 2019

For more than one and a half centuries, inventors have been working on solar energy device developments and efficiency improvement. Historically, developing equipment to effectively harness solar power has been a challenge and current solar panels have a low efficiency of harnessing solar energy of about 18%. Also, solar power has been used on a large scale as electricity and limited to other uses.

Inventors are trying to use solar energy on a wider scale, improve the efficiency of solar panels in extreme weather conditions and invent more affordable and realistic solar storage equipment. Actually, some inventors have already developed aesthetically appealing solar panels, therefore, if you are one of those individuals that have been concerned with the efficiency of solar panels or their aesthetic appeal, there is good news in the future.

In the year 2018, the solar industry got several milestones due to advancements. The latest solar technology advancements include solar panels efficiency, wearable solar technology, solar energy storage, and solar panels design technology as discussed below.

Recent Advancements in Solar Energy Technology

Solar panel Technology Advancement

Magnesium Chloride is expected to be used in the manufacturing of solar cells in thin-film technology instead of cadmium telluride. Magnesium chloride is a non-toxic raw material that is low cost because it is harvested from seawater and it is in abundant supply.

Solar Cells Technology Advances

The University of Toronto has developed light-sensitive nanoparticles as an advanced solar technology to boost the efficiency of solar cells by up to 8%. On the other hand, London’s Imperial College is working on a technology called Gallium Arsenide as a way to increase the efficiency of solar panels which can make solar PV systems three times more efficient than the current ones.

Meanwhile, the Australian National University in conjunction with an international research team are working on developing a better solar silicon cell that is more efficient. Silicon is a preferred raw material in making solar cells because it is non-toxic, it is inexpensive and it is also in abundant supply.

That is not all, Physicists at the University of Toledo are working on a new technology to develop new solar cells called  Perovskite solar cells. They will replace silicon solar cells because of their high efficiency. Inventors are trying to develop new solar cells that are more efficient, that can work in extreme weather conditions and are smaller requiring little mounting space. The efficiency material to be used in the development of solar cells is called a perovskite. The new solar cells are expected to be launched soon in consumer markets. The efficiency of the perovskite solar panels is about 23% in comparison to silicon’s solar cells efficiency of 18%.

Solar Panels Aesthetics Appeal

The appearance of solar panels is unsightly and quite off-putting. Unfortunately, it is hard to hide solar panels because they have to be fitted on the roof to trap direct sunlight. It is also hard to come up with solar panels camouflages for the same reason that the camouflages will block the solar panels from getting direct sunlight. This has been a concern for many homeowners and businesses. In fact, in the past some residential associations restricted the use of solar panels for this reason. There is good news in the making. There are various inventors working on the concept of developing more appealing solar panels, for example, Sistine Solar company based in Boston. The new design of the new solar panels matches the roof design for a better appearance.

Another solar organization called Tesla has come up with the concept of developing different designs of solar panels that match your roof type. They are more appealing and there are different colors of solar panels to choose from.

Solar Storage Systems

Advancements in solar storage systems aim at making solar energy a 24-hour energy resource and a 365 days a year electricity system. This will make off-grid solar more viable in the future. Tesla’s batteries for residential and commercial use which were launched in the year 2015 continue to trend in 2019. 

There are more advancements in energy storage. Batteries in the market have a limited shelf life in comparison to solar panels, they are inefficient and also expensive. Novatec Solar is working on a system of using molten salt storage technology like a solar energy solution. Researchers at the Ohio State University, on the other hand, are researching how to develop solar panels with a built-in storage device.

On the same note, MIT Professor Jeffrey Grossman and his team of inventors are working on what is called solar thermal fuels to work as an alternative to solar battery systems. The technology relies on storing solar energy as a charge and releasing it when it is needed. In the future, it is expected that more inventors will develop more advanced solar storage solutions.

Solar Tracking Systems

Solar tracking systems were invented sometimes ago and solar manufacturers are yet to tap its full potential. Some companies, however, have embraced the technology. The systems enable the angle of solar ground mounts to be shifted to match the sun’s location from the morning when the sun rises to the evening when it sets. The technology utilizes a panel add-on device which shifts and tilt the solar panels to trap the sun’s rays matching the sun’s location in the sky. This helps in maximizing energy generation the entire day.

Other Solar Uses

There are ongoing tests on the possibility of using solar energy to power street lights on America’s Route 66, the historic interstate highway. They use LED bulbs to light the solar-powered roads at night.

Also, researchers at Stanford University are working on a solar water purifier. The device is a tiny tablet. The device will appeal to hikers and campers when they are outdoors.


There is a lot going on in the solar world right now and more are expected in the future. As beneficiaries of solar energy, we can only continue to enjoy the technology we have as we wait to take advantage of future advancements.

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