Since 2018, module technologies have been developed rapidly. Today, half-cut technique has become a standard for module capacity expansion. Shingled module capacities are also increasing markedly from the beginning of this year. However, the patent issue facing shingled technology hinders it from entering into the end market. Except patent owners DZS Solar, Canadian Solar, and Seraphim that had exported more shingled modules, other shingled module makers mainly supplied to the Chinese market.
SunPower announced on July 31 that it has obtained patent rights of shingled technology in China. Although it’s a patent on technological process, it does not involve infringement as long as changes are made in design aspect, such as layout, cell-slicing, and electrically conductive adhesive (ECA). To some extent, SunPower’s patent ownership makes end users have doubts when purchasing such modules from other suppliers, causing certain impacts on their sales and marketing campaign.
The products displayed at SNEC held in Shanghai in early June this year demonstrated that utilizing high-density module technologies is more viable for p-type modules to achieve higher power output apart from using high efficiency n-type cells.
However, after SunPower obtained a patent on shingled technology in China, is there a feasible alternative that can avoid patent infringement? The article will examine the high-density module technologies in detail.
SNEC expo showcases products with high module efficiency:
In general, high-density module technologies are categorized into two types:
Connect cut-cells in an overlapping manner
This category includes patent protected shingled technology as well as overlapping and superposition welding techniques, which improve active cell area through arranging cut-cells in an overlap manner. In terms of cell connection, shingled technique connects cells with ECA, whereas overlap and superposition welding techniques utilize elastic ribbons, which involve no patent issues.
Connect cut-cells in a non-overlapping manner
Paving and narrowed spacing techniques promoted by Joy Energy and Jolywood, as well as HT Solar’s “plate-coupling,” which separates a module into two units of “plate,” belong to this type of technology. The three methods use special ribbons to tie cut-cells closely, narrowing the gap between cells or even make it gapless. That enables modules to incorporate higher number of cells in assembly. The “plate-coupling” technique not only reduces the gap between strings through interconnecting the plates (modules) but also active area as well as chances of generating hot spots because cells are not overlapped. Different from the former, paving technique uses triangular ribbon on the front side and highly elastic ribbon for the rear side, whereas narrowed spacing technique uses highly elastic ribbon for both sides.
High-density module technologies are essentially designed to assemble as many solar cells as possible on a module area with limited potential for enlargement. But these module technologies have several differences worth noting:
See below table for detailed comparison:
Shingled technology has been tangled up with patent issues. Previously, many manufacturers developed shingled technique in China, exploiting the grey area where patent is not granted. However, SunPower has obtained a patent on shingled technology in China. Although this patent is granted for the process flow, the end market will inevitably have doubts about shingled modules offered by providers that do not hold such a patent. Presumably, this will affect sales and marketing campaigns of unpatented ones.
To p-type modules, high-density module technologies are great approaches to achieve high conversion efficiency. To avoid patent infringement, PV InfoLink argues that superposition welding, paving, and narrowed spacing are more viable alternatives.
Plenty of discussion is buzzing around high-density module technologies. But such module technologies’ roadmap remain uncertain, and they are still in their nascent stage, which takes time to mature. Yet, SunPower’s grant of patent rights may accelerate the development of high-density module technologies
Information on this website is legally obtained and is based on reliable, accurate, and complete information. But absolute accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed. We assume no responsibility for anyone’s market operation or investment advice. PV InfoLink reserves the right to add, revise, or alter website information anytime, but information will not be guaranteed to be published all the time.
The copyright of trademark, name, website layout, articles, photos, charts, etc. on this website are the properties of PV InfoLink. For the copyright and other proprietary statement contained in the content, users should show the respect and cite sources when sharing the article. If the website has no copyright statement, it does not mean that its contents are not protected. Users should respect the legitimate rights for use based on the principle of integrity.
This website may share articles or put subcontractor’s link on this website for the purpose of facilitating peer exchange and research. The point of view for the shared article is author’s own point of view. This website does not represent in favor or against the author’s point of view. In addition, this website does not have an obligation to review external links and does not guarantee its accuracy and completeness. For the collection of original sources, we will try to cite the author and source as much as possible. If the author or copyright owner has any opinions and do not want this website to refer or share their content, please contact us. The article will be removed immediately.
This website does not provide any express or implied warranties, including but not limited to commercial suitability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement of the rights of others.
This website is for reference only. Users should determine the immediacy and applicability of such information themselves and have to be responsible for any transaction or investment decisions made.
If users conduct trade transactions with other manufacturers through this website, only the user and the manufacturer have a contractual relationship. This website is not involved in it. If the product or service has any flaws or disputes, users will have to contact the contractor. This website will assume no responsibility for such matters.
PV InfoLink gathers price information from face-to-face/phone interviews and other ways of communication with more than 100 PV companies. We get our average price from the most common transactional data in the market (not weighted average), but prices are slightly adjusted every week according to market conditions. With PV InfoLink’s professional market forecast, we seek the fullness and completeness of the information, but this information is just for reference. We assume no responsibility for anyone’s market operation or investment advice.