Ultra thin Sanyo solar film. Photo: Sanyo

#7: Yes, You Can Be Too Thin 

One would think that the development and production of thin solar film that can be rolled out to cover a roof would transform the industry. Though film provides numerous benefits – it is lightweight, flexible, durable, easier to install and offers more opportunities for placement as it works with existing rooftop materials.

Why then have they not overtaken the market as an alternative to photovoltaic panels? Because there’s always a catch.

Thin film solar is less efficient than PV panels, a difference of 4-12% vs. 13-19%. Taking that one step further, thin film installation areas must be significantly larger to equal PV panel energy harvesting.

While thin film manufacturers are setting a goal of achieving 25% efficiency, currently thin film is impractical for residential use based on available roof space, but a viable alternative for larger commercial and industrial properties.

And yes, if you’re interested, thin film panels are available on Amazon via Prime delivery. Isn’t everything?

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By Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

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