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PV EXPO Tokyo 2019: As half-cut technology becomes commonplace; shingled, MBB+half-cut might be the next trends

As Japan’s largest PV industry show and the first large-scale international fair of its kind held at the beginning of the year, PV EXPO in Tokyo is where many companies showcase their latest products and technology, making it an iconic event for industry and technology trends.

pv expo 2019

Half-cut module was the technology that had the highest visibility in PV EXPO and SNEC in Shanghai last year. This year, many of the participating companies have presented half-cut modules, showing that half-cut technology is provided as standard now.

Capacity and production of shingled and multi-busbar (MBB), on the other hand, is behind the development of half-cut technology due to technology, equipment, and license issues. However, there was an increasing number of companies that showcased shingled modules at PV EXPO this time, including GCL-Si, Risen, Tongwei, and Yingli in addition to SunPower and Seraphim, which have been dedicated to developing shingled modules. To meet the needs of Japanese market, Suntech and Canadian Solar showcased small shingled modules for residential system. Korean’s ShinSung displayed large shingled modules, of which output was increased to 360W and 430W. This year, most shingled modules were assembled with mono PERC cell. Seraphim and Tongwei, on the other hand, showcased shingled modules with heterojunction cells.  

pv expo 2019 shingled

Featured shingled module manufacturers

Aiko

akcome shingled

 

Canadian Solar

CSI shingled

 

GCL-Si

GCL-Si shingled

 

Risen

Risen shingled

 

Seraphim

Seraphim shingled

ShinSung

ShinSung shingled

SunPower

Sunpower shingled

Suntech

Suntech shingled

Tongwei

Tongwei shingled

Yingli

Yingli shingled

Moreover, MBB module has become more and more common (see below table). A couple of manufacturers such as Astronergy, Hanwha Q-Cells, HT-SAAE, Jolywood, Suntech, and Trina, have all paired MBB modules with half-cut technology. Most of the featured MBB modules this time use mono PERC cell, with JA Solar, Jolywood, Suntech, and Trina assembling MBB modules with N-type cell; Canadian Solar and Yingli use multi cell while GCL-Si uses cast-mono cell

pv expo 2019 MBB

Featured MBB+half-cut module manufacturers

Astronergy

Astronergy MBB

Canadian Solar

CSI MBB

Hanwha Q-Cells

Hanwha Q-Cells MBB

HT-SAAE

HT-SAAE MBB

Jolywood

Jolywood MBB

Suntech

Suntech MBB

Trina

Trina

In addition to above module technologies, some manufacturers such as Jinko, Trina, and JA Solar also used larger-size wafer and cell for module assembling. Also, JA Solar, Risen, and Suntech have added more pieces of cell to module assembling to achieve higher efficiency.

PV Expo Added-cells module

Featured ‘Added-cells’ module manufacturers

Ja Solar

JA Solar

A total of 78 pieces of cell are used for the module on the right one, making it much taller than the regular one on the left.

Risen

Risen

Suntech

Suntech

Another highlight at the expo this time was the latest ‘paving’ module technology, which arranges cut cells tightly with a special triangular ribbon to narrow the gap between each cell. Simply put, paving module is between half-cut and shingled module technology, which is able to optimize surface for generating electricity while bonding each other in a shingled manner and placing more cells to improve efficiency when there’s limited space for module. Among all manufacturers, Jolywood and VSUN use triangular ribbons. Though Jolywood only showcased regular 120 (60-cell) type, it still produces paving module with multiple cells.     

Paving module bonded by triangular ribbon in the left photo has much smaller gap than the regular one in the right photo.

Featured paving module manufacturers

Jolywood

Jolywood

VSUN

VSUN

PV EXPO Sum Up:

  • Mono PERC module’s mainstream output has reached 315W (60-cell).
  • Half-cut module has now been provided as standard.
  • Usage of shingled and MBB modules have become prevalent. MBB+half-cut technology has high exposure.
  • Improve efficiency through increasing numbers or spaces for placing cells.
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