Traditional solar systems use photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. These systems have many advantages, and many homes and businesses use the traditional PV system with great results. But every system has its limitations and shortcomings, even the traditional solar system. What can limit photovoltaic cells? We’ll walk you through the main photovoltaic cells disadvantages traditional solar systems face and how to overcome these limitations for optimal solar production.
The Limitations of Traditional Solar PV Systems
One of the limitations of a solar PV system is the materials the solar cells are made out of. PV cells are made of silicon. Silicon needed for solar cells is rare in nature, so most of the materials for solar cells have to be manufactured. The silicon found in beach sand has to be melted at 1500–2000 degrees Celsius in an electrode arc furnace to remove the oxygen attached to it. From there it can be used to make solar cells. This production process actually emits greenhouse gasses, which makes the materials not environmentally friendly.
Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, PV solar cells will never reach 100% efficiency, no matter how high-quality they are. In fact, the average PV solar panel only converts about 22–23% of solar energy into electricity. The inherent inefficiency in silicon PV solar cells is one limitation of the system, but it isn’t necessarily a reason to not use a traditional solar system. With individual microinverters, you can make sure each of your solar panels is operating at its maximum efficiency. If each panel is able to operate at its best, you will still be able to generate enough power for your home or business.
Traditional PV solar panels can be expensive—especially ones that are more efficient, lighter, and less bulky. In addition, PV cells work best when laid flat, which can add expense to installations. Installers need to find flat roof spaces to put your solar panels, and that’s part of why solar installations can be pricey. To overcome this limitation, you’ll want to find a good solar installer that will do your installation affordably. Here at 8MSolar, we offer very affordable installations that work with your roof and provide you with the best possible solar solutions.
Requires Additional Solutions for Power Outages
A major limitation of using photovoltaic cells is that the solar power won’t run when there’s a power outage. Whether from an emergency, poor weather, or a power line failure, power outages happen, and it’s important to keep your appliances and other essentials running during that time. A traditional solar system won’t keep powering your home without an additional solution put in place.
One solution to this limitation is to use solar system backup batteries. A solar system backup battery will store extra power your system generates for when you need it—like during a power outage. Then when your power goes down, the battery will kick in and keep your appliances running for hours without interruption.
Overcoming Limitations with the Enphase Energy System IQ8
One of the ways to overcome some of these limitations is the Enphase Energy System IQ8. Enphase is a leader in solar microinverters, and this newest microinverter can mitigate many limitations of a PV solar system—especially inefficiency and power during outages.
The IQ8 microinverters are top-of-the-line when it comes to efficiency, usability, and reliability. More importantly, they make it so each of your solar panels is able to run independently from the others at its highest efficiency. That way if one panel is underperforming, all of your other panels are able to run at maximum efficiency. For example, some of your solar panels could be covered with snow and operate at a lower efficiency that day. But if you have Enphase microinverters installed, the uncovered panels can continue to operate at a high efficiency—something not possible with a string inverter.
The Enphase Energy System IQ8 also offers something even more innovative. This solution can actually keep your solar panels running during a power outage without a solar backup battery. The Enphase IQ8 grid-forming microinverters are the industry’s first of its kind and use split-phase power conversion to keep your system running. With this solution in place, your solar system will keep operating and powering your house when the grid goes down. Combined with an Enphase backup battery, this solution will keep your system running at its highest efficiency whatever the weather or power lines are doing.
If you’re ready to get started with the Enphase Energy System IQ8, we can install it here at 8MSolar. Contact us today to get started with your solar solution.