In the solar industry, no efficiency gain is too incremental to matter.
When building big projects, every cent per watt is important to developers. About 80 percent of total project costs are now tied to the number of modules in an installation and how much power they produce, according to Wood Mackenzie.
As declines in module prices slow over the next decade, gains in efficiency will become increasingly important to push down solar costs. Higher wattages, if producers can also keep production costs down, will mean more solar-powered electricity in 2030 than today.
Manufacturers are already relying on new engineering techniques, larger sizes and efficiency gains to better power output. The technologies the industry will be building in 2030 may not even exist yet, but those becoming popular today foreshadow where the market could move.