SolarCity’s new rooftop solar panels are the most efficient in the world

solarcitys rooftop solar panels are the worlds most efficient man installing on roof
Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock
There are a lot of reasons solar panels are getting cheaper, among them the leasing programs being offered by companies such as SolarCity. Today, the company announced it has created the most efficient rooftop solar panel in the world.

Elon Musk is the chairman of SolarCity, which his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive started in 2006. The new panels have a module efficiency of 22 percent, compared to SunPower’s X-Series panels’ 21.5 percent. That means 22 percent of the power from the sun is converted into useful electrical power. SolarCity isn’t saying much about how the new panels work, only that its proprietary process increases efficiency, while also lowering the cost of manufacturing. The panels have layers of different types of silicon and could eventually produce electricity on both sides, according to The New York Times.

The Renewable Energy Test Center, a third-party certification testing facility, confirmed the rating, which should allow the panels to produce between 30 and 40 percent more power, according to SolarCity. It’s not exactly clear what that percentage is compared to, as John Farrell, Director of the Democratic Energy Program for The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, tells Mashable. It could be compared to the company’s current panels or competitors’. It also is not clear how uniform that 22 percent is in mass production.

At its yet-to-open factory in Buffalo, SolarCity will eventually scale its production of the panels to between 9,000 and 10,000 per day. In the meantime, it will manufacture them at its 100 MW pilot facility, which is located in Fremont, California and, as it happens, is the former Solyndra factory, according to Fortune.

The company won’t be manufacturing all its own panels, though. Demand is simply too high, and so it will continue to use panels made by Canadian Solar, Trina Solar, and Yingli Green Energy, which are made in China, according to Reuters.

The rooftop panels could soon be coming to a home, business, or school near you.

Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Outdoors

The best battery packs and power stations for use in the outdoors

If you want to keep your smartphones, tablets, and other devices charged while camping int he backcountry these battery packs and portable power stations are rugged enough to survive while providing plenty of power too.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Home Theater

QLED and OLED may have similar names, but they're totally different technologies

The names may look almost identical, but OLED and QLED are two entirely different beasts. In our QLED vs. OLED battle, we dissect the differences between these dueling TV technologies, and help determine which might be best for you.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.
Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot Lux is a gateway drug into the pleasures of pressure cooking

The 3-quart Instant Pot Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots you can buy. Is it still a solid pressure cooker? Here are our thoughts on the Instant Pot Lux, a great IP baseline model.
Smart Home

DS3 Clean water-free swatches could be the future of cleaning products

DS3 Clean swatches were on display at CES 2019. The small swatches come in several types, including shampoo and toilet cleaner. They're great for travel, but their real impact is in how such supplies will be shipped and stored.
Smart Home

Amazon patents a technology to help Alexa fight fake voice attacks

Amazon filed a patent this month for a new technology that looks like it would help its digital assistant Alexa fight fake voice attacks that could potentially fool Alexa's biometric security protocols.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Smart Home

With focus on interoperability, is Nevo Butler a smarter home hub?

Universal Electronics is the latest company getting into the smart home market, announcing at CES 2019 that it intends to market the Nevo Butler, a new smart home hub with onboard A.I. and voice control technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.