New method may lead top more energy efficient solar panels

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Washington, Feb 21 (ANI): A scientist has come up with a new method to reconfigure the way solar panels are connected, which could lead to solar arrays in the future that are more energy efficient and reliable.

According to Dr. Jonathan Kimball, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the conventional method of connecting solar panels is in a series, one after the other.

"But just as one bad bulb in a string of Christmas lights can black out the entire set, so can a single solar panel disrupt the flow of electrical current through the other panels in a series," Kimball said.

"If one of the panels is shaded, dirty or damaged, it affects them all," Kimball said.

"The conventional approach to solar arrays inherently limits the amount of power they produce if there's any variation in the panels," he said.

Rather than connecting solar panels in a series - where the electrical current must flow from one panel to get to the next - Kimball suggests parallel wiring for the panels.

The parallel approach would connect each panel to its own power converter instead of sending the electrical current through a series of panels to a single converter.

While Kimball's research is focused on creating a more efficient system to get the most power from solar panels, he points out that cost is still a major factor preventing many people from investing in solar technology.

"Eventually, solar power has got to become cheap enough to compete with electricity generated from other sources," he said. (ANI)

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