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I was wondering if the efficiency of current solar panels are better or worse than the current state of the art Stirling engines. I understand the former isn't a static variable and solar panels are improving constantly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, Stirling engines are less than 10% efficient and solar panels are 15% to 20% efficient, so what are you looking for here? You can confirm the figures I gave with a bit of google... stirling type a or b and check out different types of panels like amorphous etc $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Jun 13 '20 at 10:21
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    $\begingroup$ Also stirling engines can work at night so will you just be doing a 12 hour comparison or 24? $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Jun 13 '20 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ @SolarMike I don't know what kind of efficiency you are talking about, but free piston Sterlings can and do run commercially at about 90% of ideal Carnot efficiency. The old Mod I and Mod II gasoline powered automotive engines ran at about 38% thermal efficiency, which was a good bit better than the ICE's that they were targeting for replacement. Ten percent efficiency would be about what you would get from a low pressure hot water system that has a hot side at 250 F or so. $\endgroup$ – Phil Sweet Jun 13 '20 at 22:50
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    $\begingroup$ The following paper is dated, but shows a comparison between solar PV, Rankine, and Sterling power appied to a waterpump. ohio.edu/mechanical/stirling/engines/… $\endgroup$ – Phil Sweet Jun 13 '20 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ These are answers, why are you just commenting? $\endgroup$ – Colin Ellis Jun 14 '20 at 8:20

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