Reviewing last year, only a few manufacturers showcased modules with power output higher than 400W at SNEC. This year, such modules were a common sight and an eye-catching feature at all booths. So how exactly these manufacturers achieve high power output when there’s still no breakthrough in cell efficiency? In this post-event report, PV InfoLink will offer insights into the booming cell and module technologies.
There are some methods for achieving 400W of power output. The first is cell technology, such as using high efficiency n-type cell. Compared with previous editions, this year saw more manufacturers exhibiting n-type modules, including Jinko, Jolywood, and Trina, have all showcased n-type cells adopting TOPCon. Jolywood pairs triangular ribbon with paved modules while Jinko and HT Solar use “gapless” module. HT Solar, in particular, innovates modules with “plate coupling” technology, which separates the module into two units of “plate.” Whereas Jinergy, GS Solar, CIE Power, Tongwei, and Risen displayed HJT modules. Among them, GS Solar’s second generation HDT modules incorporate HJT and IBT technologies. SunPower, on the other hand, unveiled its brand new 6-inch cell IBC modules.
The second method for increasing power output is by adding more cells to the modules that won't be enlarged indefinitely. In addition to shingled technology that has become prevalent in the past two years, technologies with similar concept also emerged this year, such as paving, narrowed spacing, overlap, and superposition welding – all of which are categorized as high-density module by PV InfoLink. Similar to shingled, superposition welding and overlap technologies slice cells into half and arrange them in an overlapping manner to increase gain in light absorption. Different from shingled modules that use conductive paste to connect cells, the other two use highly elastic ribbon, which has no patent issue. At this year’s SNEC, HT Solar, Trina, and Jinko all showcased high-density module.
Paved module, on the other hand, had been featured at the PV EXPO Tokyo earlier this year. Instead of overlapping, paved modules arrange cells tightly to reduce spacing and increase cell numbers through using elastic and triangular ribbon. This method can also avoid losing light-absorbing surface area. In addition to Jolywood, CNBM, DMEGC, and ReneSola also showcased this kind of module.
This year also saw some manufacturers combining different module technologies to increase power output. For example, Sunport Power couples half-cut cell with MWT modules to achieve 420W, while Hanwha Q Cells use half-cut cells adopting MBB technology.
Apart from incorporating high efficiency cells or module technologies, many manufacturers increase power output through assembling more cells (added-cells module) or increasing wafer size. Based on the products shown so far, large wafer with 158.75mm will become the mainstream. There are only a few manufacturers that use wafer of larger size like 161 or 166mm.
In general, it’s more difficult to increase cell efficiency. Except for high-efficiency n-type cells, it would require module technologies or increase number of cells and size of wafer for p-type cells to achieve output larger than 400W. However, the module size would become bigger, but the actual conversion efficiency won’t necessarily be increased. The below table lists 400W+ modules with efficiency higher than 20.6% exhibited at SNEC.
According to the table, it’s relatively easier for n-type modules to achieve efficiency higher than 20.6%. For p-type module, only DZS Solar’s shingled mono PERC, Trina’s MBB + superposition welding, and CNBM’s paving module, as well as Jinko and HT-SAAE’s modules adopting larger wafers can reach the efficiency level.
SNEC features a wide range of new products, if there’s any product missing here, feel free to contact us and leave a comment.
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