Aiko Solar, a well-known cell maker that is becoming increasingly integrated and has also branched out into supplying modules, has been introducing a series of high-efficiency modules. Indeed, the Chinese manufacturer ranks #1 in the TaiyangNews Top Modules list(see Top Solar Modules Listing – September 2023), which catalogs commercially available technically advanced and high-efficiency solar modules from leading suppliers. Furthermore, the company participated in the TaiyangNews Virtual Conference on Global PV System Technology Trends H1/2023. Shawn Li, head of product management & solution sales at Aiko Solar, walked through the company’s latest updates along with the key product innovations.
Aiko began with the development of its back-contact cell architecture, called ABC, in 2021. This milestone marked a turning point for the company, enabling it to venture into module-making, and ultimately, to evolve into a one-stop solution. Building on this breakthrough, in 2022, Aiko launched its first generation ABC module with an efficiency of 23.6%, which has now increased to 24%.
The company’s primary focus is on 3 key areas: pursuing cutting-edge technology, enhancing efficiencies and aesthetics, and developing solutions from the user perspective. Aiko is a technology driven firm and owns completely the cells, modules and systems part of the value chain, while being invested in polysilicon and wafers to become fully vertically integrated, thereby controlling the entire value chain from cells to systems. This move aims to ensure end-to-end quality control and a resilient, sustainable global supply chain. Smart manufacturing plays a crucial role in Aiko’s success. To ensure rapid transition from the lab to mass production, the company’s core R&D team develops the core equipment, while other tailored equipment is sourced from global tier 1 supplier partners. These processes are managed through IoT and AI technologies.
Aiko’s ABC cell, where “ABC” stands for all back contact, boosts the module’s efficiency by relocating all the contacts onto the rear side. This approach resolves the shading conflict on the front side and reduces contact resistance. The result is a front surface free from shading due to contact circuit, boosting module efficiency, power, and aesthetics – all features highly valued in residential and BIPV applications.
Li emphasized 4 important characteristics of the ABC module series – higher output, better quality, lower BOS and superior aesthetics. The high mass production efficiency of 26.5% at the cell level and a module efficiency of 24% contribute to 15% higher power yield in the project lifetime. The 30-year power warranty and a superior temperature coefficient of -0.29%/°C are the quality attributes highlighted by Li that also contribute to the power yield. The high power reduces the mounting hardware, cabling and labor for the same system size, altogether leading to a 7% reduction in BOS. All the above quantified benefits are in reference to PERC. What cannot be quantified is the stunning aesthetics with a pure black front devoid of grid lines (see recording here).
Aiko introduced 3 new solar modules, one of which is a 72-cell bifacial glass-glass module with an efficiency of up to 23.7% and a power rating of 605-625 W. This module is targeted for utility and commercial projects. The next is a 54-cell dual glass module with an efficiency of up to 23.6% and a power rating of 445-460 W, suitable for residential and commercial applications. The company also introduced a lightweight module with an efficiency of up to 22% and a power rating of 445 W. This module is half the weight of a regular module, making it suitable for old commercial buildings that cannot support the weight of a regular module.
Aiko Solar currently has a total of 9 products in its product portfolio – 4 products each for residential and C&I applications, and one for utility. The residential products are available in dual glass and single glass configurations and are offered in 2 variants: the Black series with superior aesthetics, and the White series with higher power output. Within the C&I series, the single glass modules are offered as both Black and White variants. The latest lightweight module is also part of the company’s C&I offering. As mentioned above, the latest 72-cell dual glass bifacial modules are part of the utility product section.
Li presented case studies highlighting the benefits of using ABC modules in different applications, such as residential, C&I, and utility projects, each showcasing increased installed capacity, significant savings, and shorter payback periods. For example, in a residential application scenario, a home with a base power consumption of 4,150 kWh was used. Adding a heat pump and an electric vehicle more than doubled the power consumption. A PV system with ABC modules delivers 12% more installed capacity, which is about 9 kW in absolute terms. Although this would increase the initial investment by about 1,500 euros, a short payback period of 3 years more than makes up for it, with savings of about 600 euros per year. Finally, Li shared the company’s goal for 2024: raising cell efficiency to 27% from the current 26.5%, leading to a module efficiency of approximately 25%.
The text is an excerpt from TaiyangNews New Solar Products Overview H1/2023, which can be downloaded for free here.