Solar Panel efficiency: Its not the panels fault, its ours.
A common argument in relation to solar panels is that they don't provide enough of a percentage of electricity to make them financially viable investments.
Where as I do agree that solar power needs additional research and development investment to both increase their efficiency and their price, a little research found the possibility that the low percentage of energy that is generated from panels (in relation to our household energy expenditure) may infact be our fault due to high energy wastage.
I took a dozen commonly owned household products for household usage such as a fridge, freezer, desktop pc, oven, light bulbs, tv's etc etc; All typical slightly dated appliances with no regard for their energy consumption when purchased.
I then searched for replacements and alternatives such as:
A+++ energy rated fridge-freezers
Slimline laptop instead of the desktop
Eco bulbs instead of 60watt bulbs
LED Television instead of a large tube televsion
Halogen desktop oven instead of traditional oven, etc etc
(and then I went a little further, such as replacing the tv with a projector, the laptop with a mobile, replacing the eco bulbs with LED's and replacing the fridges and freezers with ones 50% of the size)
The end result was that I was able to cut average household energy usage by upto 50% just by replacing appliances with energy efficient alternatives and upto 60% with going the extra step.
Essentially, the solar panel system that could only provide 15% of the requirement initially can now provide 30%+
Perhaps when it comes to renewable energy we can do our part by lightening the load, thus making (even modern limited technology) seem more plausible.