Solar Stocks and America’s Solar Problem

May 29. 2022. 6 mins read

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have created the most efficient solar cell recorded yet – a 39.5% efficiency under normal sunlight illumination – which is 0.3% higher than the record they set in 2020. These small incremental gains show how difficult it is to increase efficiency, but it all comes down to the almighty dollar. There’s always a tradeoff between price and efficiency, which is why today’s most efficient solar panels are around 22% efficiency.

Most efficient solar panels of 2022
Credit: Clean Energy Reviews

Those efficiency numbers continue to slowly trend upwards, and this is the first year that the top-six most efficient solar panels averaged 22% (according to Clean Energy Reviews which created the above chart). This means utility-scale solar projects can now produce energy at a cost that’s cheaper than coal which still accounts for over 20% of America’s electricity generation. With solar accounting for just 2.8% of utility electricity generation in the USA, there’s plenty of room for growth. Unfortunately, that’s now stalled.

America’s Solar Problem

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