Elon Musk-backed SolarCity claims to have built industry’s most efficient

Whose solar panel is the most efficient of all? The company, which installs 34 percent of rooftop solar panels in this country, has previously talked about achieving such efficiencies with its new technology, which it acquired when it bought a small startup called Silevo in 2014.


Solar energy expert John Farrell, who serves as Director of the Democratic Energy Program for The Institute for Local Self-Reliance told Mashable that typical solar panel efficiency is, at 18%-to-22%, actually in the same range as SolarCity’s new panel. Combining copper electrodes, n-type substrates and passivation layers that are ultra-thin, the bifacial PV cells make SolarCity’s solar panels the best option on the market, with high conversion efficiency. That’s slightly higher than the 21.5 percent efficiency boasted by rival SunPower’s X-Series solar panels.

As a result energy output is 30 percent to 40 percent higher, but production costs remain the same – around $0.55 per watt.

The move is aimed at helping SolarCity company keep solar power cost effective even after a federal tax credit expires next year, Rive said. Out in the field, companies like SolarCity must balance efficiency with cost.

SolarCity is constructing a massive factory in Buffalo, N.Y., where it will make the panels. SolarCity’s recent module efficiency announcement clearly shows that the company’s manufacturing ambitions are coming to fruition. SolarCity expects to be producing between 9,000 – 10,000 solar panels each day with similar efficiency when the Buffalo facility reaches full capacity. They also claim this panel responds to high temperatures better than its competitors’ panels.

On top of the fact that Chinese module manufacturers will likely not be able to experience the same low costs overseas, the USA will likely add more tariffs to address the overseas shift of Chinese module production.


“We expect it will allow us to offer solar electricity at a discount to utility power in more places”, Bass said. The state is using $750 million in taxpayer money to build the factory and purchase its equipment in an effort to turn the Buffalo Niagara region into a hub for solar energy manufacturing.

Elon Musk co-founder of Solar City and Solar City CEO Lyndon Rive announced that the company reached the milestone where it will start producing its own solar panels the most efficient yet on the market