At the end of June 2016, the world record for efficiency of rooftop solar modules was broken again: the US-based PV manufacturing company SunPower achieved an efficiency of 24.1% for a monocrystalline silicon-based PV panel, over 2% higher than the previous record. This news came shortly after the announcement earlier in the month of Hanwha Q CELLS breaking the efficiency record of polycrystalline modules with 19.5% efficiency, and the German research centre ZSW setting a new record for thin-film technology, with a small research cell testing at 22.6% efficiency.
But what does PV efficiency mean for people working in the solar industry, where typical PV efficiencies are not nearly as impressive? How far removed are these records from the real world? What module efficiency is ideal for a given solar system?
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