M.K. Ince and Associates reviews the three main solar technologies and keeps abreat of industry trends to recommend or develop a solar system that best meets the needs, objectives, and goals of our clients.
Thin film panels: Panels that use CaTe, GIGS, or amorphous silicon instead of crystalline silicon for the solar cell. These panels have surpassed traditional silicon cells in many markets because of their low cost per watt. They have low conversion efficiency (typically 6-12%) meaning that a greater array area is required per kW production compared to other solar panels. They are manufactured and assembled outside of Ontario, meaning that they will not meet the Ontario content requirement for the Feed-In Tariff program after 2010.
Mono and Poly crystalline Silicon panels: Traditional solar cells dating back to 1954. They have a proven track record and have functioned reliably for decades in climates from Antarctica to equatorial deserts. They have the highest price per watt and have good efficiencies, in the range of 12-25%. Some panels are assembled in Ontario meaning they meet the 60% Ontario content requirement for 2012 and beyond. They have a mix of characteristics that make them applicable to rooftop pv arrays.
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Highly Concentrated Photovoltic (HCPV): These use a low cost plastic /glass optic or lens to focus light onto a small, highly efficient solar cells. HCPV is capable of concentrating light over 1,000x onto triple-junction solar cells, the highest efficiency cells currently available in the 35-40% range. Combined, this makes HCPV both the highest efficiency and lowest cost per watt.
There are Ontario manufacturers / assemblers meaning there is a supply of panels that meet 2011 Ontario ontent requirement for the Feed-In Tariff. HCPV technology typically uses triple junction cells; essentially three solar cells on top of each other, with each one absorbing a different portions of the spectrum. They have the curious property of becoming more efficient with concentrated light compared to normal sunlight. Multi-junction solar cells were first developed in the early 1980's.