Larger and better: Technology

Sep 15, 2020 01:34 PM ET
  • The SNEC 2020 PV Power Expo opened on Aug. 8 in Shanghai. Unlike previous versions, the world's largest solar profession fair was primarily participated in by Chinese individuals this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the profession fair made use of to provide insights right into international market fads, quantities were reduced this year as a result of a buyer/seller standoff amid climbing rates triggered by the recent mishaps at polysilicon plants in Xinjiang. Likewise, there was little adjustment in technologies. PV InfoLink's Corrine Lin offers insights right into cells and modules at SNEC 2020.
Larger and better: Technology
Image: Dave Tacon/ pv magazine

At this year's postponed SNEC show in Shanghai, bigger modules with more cells were the pattern, as the maturity of half-cut and also multi-busbar modern technologies speeds up the change in wafer dimensions. Several introduced modules rated at 600 W+, with some even beyond 700 W and 800 W.

Most new items this year attribute tiling as well as high-density strategies, with cells cut into 2 or 3 pieces, pushing up power rankings as well as efficiency. The majority of modules based upon 182 mm wafers feature 590 W, 78-cell layouts and also 550 W, 72-cell formats, coming to a head at 600 W. Modules based upon 210 mm wafers can be found in a series of cell formats. JA Solar introduced an 800 W module, applying an 80-cell style in a 1/3 cut cell setup. Trina Solar attained 660 W in a 66-cell format. Generally, most taken on 50- to 60-cell layouts as a result of limitations in module size, and they can achieve a power outcome as high as 615 W.

Details of 600 W+ solar products
Company Module series Wafer size Cell cut Busbar Module technology No. of cells Efficiency Power output (W) Mono/Bifacial
Trina   210 1/2 Cut 12 Narrowed-spacing 66 21,20% 660  
Trina Vertex 210 1/2 Cut 10 Narrowed-spacing 60 21,40% 605 Monofacial
Trina Vertex 210 1/2 Cut 12 Narrowed-spacing 60 21,20% 600 Bifacial
Astronergy Astro Twins 210 1/3 Cut 10   60 20,80% 605 Bifacial
Suntech Ultra X 210 1/3 Cut 9 Tiling 60 21,30% 605 Monofacial
Risen Titan G6 210 1/2 Cut 12 High-density assembly 60 21,20% 615 Bifacial
Risen Titan G6 210 1/2 Cut 12 Narrowed-spacing 60 21,20% 615 Monofacial
Risen Titan G5.6 210 1/2 Cut 12   60 21,40% 605 Monofacial
Risen Titan G5.6 210 1/2 Cut 12   60 21,20% 600 Bifacial
DMEGC   182 1/2 Cut 12 Tiling 78   600 Monofacial
Ht-Solar Tarzan 182 1/3 Cut 10 Plate-coupling 80 21,71% 600 Monofacial
Tongwei   210     Shingling   21,90% 760-780 Monofacial
JA Solar Jumble Blue 210 1/3 Cut 11   80   800 Monofacial
Huansheng   210     Shingling 66 21,10% 635 Bifacial

As wafer dimensions go larger, this year marked the fastest change in module power ratings-- from in between 400 W as well as 440 W last year to the 500-600 W+ variety today. Fast changes in size, power outcome, as well as layout pushed equipment providers to boost compatibility. ATW (Autowell), for example, unveiled a brand-new maker compatible with cell dimensions from 156 mm to 210 mm. Meanwhile, XN Automation launched an equipment that works with different cell dimensions and works well with 1/2, 1/3, as well as 1/4 cut-cells without shedding production effectiveness. The compatibility of different sizes as well as strategies plays a vital role in establishing brand-new PV module layouts.

Bifacial increase

Bifacial drew considerably even more interest this year. As a projected 30% to 40% of Chinese ground-mounted PV projects in the second half of this year will use bifacial modules, the actual manufacturing of such panels will certainly continue to ramp up over this year and next.

The concept of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) came under the spotlight because of decreases in available land for PV plants, Europe's high demand on structure energy usage, and also Tesla's Integrated Solar Roof system. The 2020 SNEC saw more BIPV products than last year, with look, color selection, dependability, endurance, and also lead-free being the significant trends. Unlike in the past, when suppliers mainly showcased thin-film modules, there were even more silicon BIPV products this year. To drive efficiencies up and costs down, incorporating perovskite will certainly become one option in the future.

Jinko as well as Longi both introduced BIPV modules at this year's program. Longi has officially gone into the BIPV market with the launch of the "LONGi Roof" brand name. It is targeted at C&I projects. Jinko, on the other hand, introduced tinted BIPV products featuring colors such as black, blue, purple, red, as well as eco-friendly.

N-type tech

A lot of producers concentrated on p-type PERC modern technology to overtake the rapid change in dimensions. N-type innovation was less discussed this year. The exhibitors of n-type modules remained pretty much the exact same from last year, with Risen, Tongwei, GS Solar, Jinergy, Akcome, Astronergy, as well as Suntech showing HJT modules. Trina, which displayed TOPCon modules last year, introduced HJT modules based on 210 mm wafers. This year saw fewer TOPCon modules, with Jolywood and Jinko showcasing such items.

Cell efficiencies were at first predicted to traffic jam this year. However the development in multi busbars and PERC+ innovations has brought the performance of mono PERC cells past 22.2% lately. Products showed this year also feature performances as high as 22.6%. This has additionally reduced the capacity ramps of n-type cells, whose ordinary effectiveness continues to be around the 23% to 24% mark.

Climbing rates

Cell, module, and also devices producers have all showed their compatibility with different sizes. As cell dimension and module power results proliferate, whether shipment and also setup expenses, yield prices, costs of products, and also applications in PV plants can catch up ought to be of problem. The 600 W+ modules showcased this year will continue to be in the incipient phase up until the following SNEC show, as it will take time for PV glass capacity ramps to catch up with the larger format pattern. PV InfoLink projects that M6 will certainly continue to be the mainstream size over the 2nd half with very early 2021, and 182 mm as well as 210 mm layouts will slowly grow their market share over the period.

On the rate side, surges at Xinjiang-based polysilicon facilities have triggered upstream prices to surge. The module section experienced one of the most, as a result of limited increases in module costs. Several Tier-1 module makers have actually quit outsourcing or have also decreased their use prices in response to the higher rate fad in the upstream segments. As a result, some projects were unable to get enough modules, sparking additional chaos in the module sector.

Quotes for modules rose to CNY 1.6-1.7/ W ($0.2-0.215/ W) during SNEC. Some price quotes for July to August likewise increased for abroad markets. Although quote costs for big project procurements introduced just recently enhanced to CNY 1.5-1.6/ W, few orders with higher rates have actually been authorized. If modules are priced more than CNY 1.6/ W, unsubsidized projects as well as some public auction projects in China might opt to postpone grid-connection up until next year. Moreover, as plenty of international markets have extended grid-connection target dates due to Covid-19, there is a mismatch between buyer and also seller expectations. Need in the last 3 months of the year is therefore unclear.

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