Benefits of Solar Panel Standardization
Since solar cells first became commercially viable in the 1950s, they have benefitted from slow but steady gains in efficiency across a variety of photovoltaic materials, including germanium, cadmium and silicon. Efficiency gains in silicon cells in particular stand out because those cells have leveraged the standardized production techniques used to create integrated circuits. As IC wafer sizes have grown to 300mm from 50mm or less, solar cell sizes have grown as well, with corresponding economies of scale. Whereas efficiencies for crystalline silicon cells were once on the order of 2%, they now stand at about 20% .