Published on May 4th, 2011 | by Nicholas Brown3
tenKsolar Doubles Residential Solar Setup Performance
tenKsolar (not an error, their name starts with a common t on their website) claims that by redesigning solar panels and the way the solar cells inside them are connected to each other, they were able to increase power output by up to 50%, and it is simpler than you may think.
I will need to explain a few things first:
A solar panel is an array of solar cells connected to each other in series, meaning that current flows from one cell, and then through the next, and that continues until it reaches the end of the panel, which is the last cell — then, it flows from the last cell to the charge controller, then the batteries or inverter. If one of an array of even a hundred cells is shaded, then the power output of the entire panel decreases drastically, because the resistance of the cell is so high that less current can flow through the entire array. This also means that current flow after that shaded cell is restricted as well.
It is possible to overcome this issue, but with more complex circuitry. tenKsolar claims that this additional circuitry enables you to harvest the full amount of energy being generated by the solar panels and also from setups onto which sunlight is reflected to enhance power output per panel, resulting in more efficient solar panels.
Setups with reflectors like those I just mentioned reflect light unevenly onto solar panels, meaning that some cells receive more light than others depending on the position of the sun. This means that the panels will not generate as much as they should.
An example of a shading situation is when snow falls onto panels. Snow is white, so it blocks far more sunlight than rain does — rain blocks almost none of it. Unless you prudently keep the panels free of snow all winter long, your power output will be far less than it could be. This means that tenKsolar’s technology is most beneficial during winter and in northern climates, as well as in cases in which one cell is damaged.
tenKsolar said that no roof penetration is required due to improved drag resistance and that they can resist up to 90 mph wind, and also that they are lightweight. The system is self-grounded and no additional mounting equipment is required, protecting customers from increases in installation cost.
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Photos via tenKsolar