Solar panel development is pressing ahead in leaps and bounds. Today you can have 400W residential panels. The Sunpower Maxeon III 400W is the world's best solar panel featuring the world's best cells. You can be inspired about the Sunpower Maxeon III 400W just by watching Sunpower's promotional video. What's even cooler is that this top of the line technology available to you now is only just the beginning.
In 10-20 years time standard residential 1.7square metre panels (1 metre x 1.7 metre panel format) will be rated at 800W. So how is that possible you may ask? There are many different advancements and a huge amount of research development and innovation going into Solar panels. Public and private institutions globally are employing 1000s of people in Photovoltaic research and companies are spending Billions of dollars building the latest production facilities to make them. Because profits are so slim ever company is always looking for the next incremental increase in output. And some increases are bigger than others.
Sunpower has brought us rear contact (no silver on the front) with their n-type world leading panels. But now a technology originally by Sanyo (now Panasonic) has morphed into a new opportunity that Longi, Risen, REC and others are about to role out in more commodity priced panels. (Sunpower Maxeon III panels are amazing but they cost twice as much as cheaper but still good commodity panels from Korea and China which is fair enough given how amazing they are) The technology from the company Meyer Burger in Germany has already hit production lines at REC. We can expect the entire industry to add this HJT multi layer solar technology within 24 months or so.
Combine that with new research that has disproved the previous Shockley Queisser postulate which shows that single layer solar cells can go well beyond 33% This technology from Marc Baldo’s team at MIT involves a coated solar cells in a thin layer of tetracene, an organic molecule that effectively splits incoming photons in two. This process is known as exciton fission and means that the solar cell is able to use high energy photons from the blue-green part of the visible spectrum. If you're nerdy enough you can try and follow the paper they've published in the science journal Nature.
The take home is that when 800W solar panels are the standard and their price point is commodity ie $130AUD in today's money for an 800W panel. Everyone will be putting them on every surface. South roofs, North East and South vertical walls. You'll name it it will be worth doing in solar. And with solar panels on the path to being that cheap there is no doubt that building materials for cladding buildings ie roof sheeting and wall sheeting will be replaced with solar panels - most likely some system based on conventional glass sandwich solar panels that we have today albeit ones that are between twice and more than twice as efficient than what's available today.