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Solar Paneling is Reflective?

  1. Jul 22, 2008 #1
    I was just wondering why solar paneling is shiny. Doesn't that mean light is reflected and wasted?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2008 #2


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    Yes - ideally it would be completely black.
    In practice the glass top layer is reflective at low angles of incidence and the aluminium wires which carry the electricity away are also reflective.
    You see this most in cheap low-power panels for calculators or toys, high grade panels eg. for space, are very black.
  4. Jul 22, 2008 #3
    Well, yes, solar panels are indeed inefficient although not for lack of trying. They are actually coated with some kind of anti reflective compound, but this compound still reflects back about 30% of the light incident on it. Overall solar panels are only about 15% efficient, although newer techniques are trying to make them more efficient.

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