Which is a better deal: an established, off-the-shelf type of solar panel or a cutting-edge type that delivers more power for a given area but costs more?
It turns out that's far from a simple question, but a team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere has come up with a way to figure out the best option for a given location and type of installation.
The bottom line is that for household-scale rooftop systems in relatively dry locations, the more efficient but more costly panels would be better, but for grid-scale installations or for those in wetter climates, the established, less efficient but cheaper panels are better.
The costs of solar cells continue to plummet, while the costs of installation and the associated equipment remain relatively constant. So, figuring out the tradeoffs involved in planning a new installation has gotten more complicated. But the new study provides a clear way to estimate the best technology for a given project, the authors say.
1 May 2018