Solar power is the power extracted from the sun’s energy, which is the sunlight. As the sun provides us sunlight for free, solar power itself too is a renewable, clean and environment friendly source of energy. With rising concerns about depleting fossil fuels and rise in air pollution, the use of solar power as an alternative source of energy is fast gaining popularity. By harnessing and using solar power at home, it is possible to cut down the cost of power bills and extensive use can even make one totally independent in terms of power requirement. This is mainly because sunlight is available for free almost round the year and the best part is that solar panels and other such solar equipment require little maintenance.

But now, one million dollar question arises- that is why, in spite of so many benefits, are people using solar power only sparingly? The answer to this question lies in the fact that the solar powers are largely inefficient. To counter this problem, bigger panels have to be installed and this makes using them cumbersome. Also, some people prefer not to mess with the aesthetic beauty of their houses. Also, the solar panels do not come very cheaply. Moreover, there is the inherent problem of unable to work at night and providing very little power during cloudy days.

With the depletion of fossil fuels, the scientific community has been urged to understand the urgent need to consider upgrading of existing solar panel technology. Now, with continued research and development in those areas, the solar power systems have undergone drastic changes. They have figured out how to make cheaper solar panels and also improve their efficiency.

One of the major milestones achieved in the solar power technology is the invention of photovoltaic cells. They have gone a long way to reducing the size and increasing the efficiency of the solar panels. In a solar panel, the photovoltaic cells are placed on a steel substrate. Each cell is capable of capturing various spectrums of sunlight. The solar photovoltaic panels have overlapped layering of the cells which makes them an efficient source of producing power. The new solar photovoltaic panels use amorphous silicon thin alloy technology.

This solar photovoltaic panel based on the new technology is not that bulky and can be easily placed on the roof of houses. It is many times more efficient than a regular solar panel. Moreover, they don’t look that bad and can be easily implemented without affecting the overall looks of a building.

Another milestone in the road of solar technology is the invention of photovoltaic shingles. They are basically nothing but solar panels which are modified and made into shingles. Photovoltaic shingles can be used as a convenient and aesthetic substitute for large and bulky solar panels. They are implemented in the roofs of houses as normal shingles. They are usually black colored and have the appearance of normal shingles. And they serve the dual purposes of adoring your house as well as harnessing solar power and converting it into electricity for your use. Moreover, they save you the cost of buying extra shingles. In a nutshell, they are good looking solar panels.

Experts have said that the technology of using photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic shingles is a major breakthrough in the harnessing of solar power. Research is going on for further development in the solar power technology and you can expect even smaller and more efficient solar power systems made available in the near future.