• Charlie Gay believes larger wafer sizes and high output modules are all fine but if the solar industry needs to bring down overall costs further, it must engage with glass and auto industries as well
  • Trina Solar will be aiming to expand the annual production capacity of its high power Vertex module series to 31 GW by 2022
  • Risen Energy provides roadmap to further push for higher output modules with an aim to ‘lead’ the PV industry to 7.0 era by 2023
  • Maxeon Solar Technologies to use 210mm wafer size from TZS for its new Performance 5 shingled bifacial modules with up to 625 W rating aiming for cumulative 8 GW capacity by 2021
  • LONGi Solar believes for high power modules to really serve the purpose, these need to be compatible with other module elements as well at the same time
  • JinkoSolar says mass production for Tiger Pro modules due for Q3/2020 with 13 GW annual production capacity aimed for 2021
  • JA Solar batted for bigger sized modules while using 182mm for its high efficiency 545W modules while aiming to enter 600W club soon

The year 2020 has been an exciting one for the solar PV industry globally as module manufacturers have been racing to bring to the world their products with over 500 W power ratings. Within just 6 months of 2020, it soon became a norm with 6 out of top 10 global module makers introducing these high-power module products exceeding 500 W output.

What led to these high efficiency modules possible was availability of larger wafer sizes of – 182 mm side length (M10) and 210 mm side length  (12-inch, referred to as G12 if full square and M12 if pseudo square). The solar PV technology world wouldn’t rest with this feat alone. Some module makers have now unveiled products with up to and some over 600 W power rating as well.

Some of the pioneers in module technology came together on the TaiyangNews Virtual Conference platform on July 29, 2020 to discuss their high-power products and share the way forward from here. Here are the key points all presenters shared with the audience on Day 1, in no specific order:

Greenstar Foundation President Charlie Gay: One of the living solar legends, Charlie Gay discussed in his keynote how to design low-cost solar modules that can last half a century while showing that solar PV technology was destined to become competitive with fossil fuel generation. From 1977 to 2019, solar power costs have reduced 350x. To bring down costs of high-power modules further, he suggested extensive collaboration between the solar module industry with glass and auto industries to figure out ways for effective equipment handling and transportation.

JinkoSolar Product Manager Amy Liu: While discussing the technological aspects of 500W+ modules from JinkoSolar’s portfolio, Amy Liu announced that her company aims for 13 GW annual production capacity for its high power Tiger Pro solar module series by the end of 2021, and mass production is set to begin in Q3/2020 confirming what JinkoSolar Vice President Dany Qian shared with TaiyangNews in an interview recently (see Targeting Utility Scale Market With Tiger Pro Modules).

JA Solar Product Manager Tao Wang: JA Solar’s Tao Wang shared the rationale behind the Chinese module producer using 182mm wafer size for its 500W+ modules claiming that higher output modules need to have bigger sizes which need to factor in logistics and transportation costs as well as compatibility with other elements of an installation. Having said that, the company is part of a group of vertically integrated module makers that have called on the global PV industry partners and players to adopt the M10 silicon wafer size as the new standard for the development of silicon cells and module products (see Group Proposes M10 As New Silicon Wafer Standard Size). For its new generation product DeepBlue 3.0 with 545 W power rating, JA Solar is using 182 mm as these minimize logistics costs.

Trina Solar’s Product Marketing Manager Europe, Klaus Hofmeister: Among the first solar module manufacturers to announce 500 W+ modules as well as 600W panels Trina Solar shared the company’s plans to begin mass production of its Vertex 550W/600W+ solar panels. Klaus Hofmeister elaborated that 550W modules will be in mass production in Q4/2020 and 600W are scheduled to follow suit in Q1/2020. Annual production capacity of these modules is aimed to reach 10 GW in 2020, scaled up to 21 GW by 2021 and 31 GW by 2022. The management will continue to associate with external wafer manufacturers and has no current plans to venture on its own.

LONGi Solar Senior Sales Manager Juan Carlos Gonzalez: One of the heavyweights in the PV manufacturing domain, world leading wafer manufacturer LONGi Solar said that with its recently announced new module series Hi-MO 5 using 182 mm wafer format & 540 W power rating, it intends to lower the LCOE of power plants. Juan Carlos Gonzalez showed that Hi-MO 5 ultra-high power modules with M10 gallium doped mono wafers, P-type PERC cells, 9BB half-cut technology help in balance of system (BOS) cost savings significantly. He stressed the fact that larger module sizes aren’t necessarily better especially if they can’t be made compatible with other applications as well simultaneously. Recently, LONGi Solar executives told TaiyangNews in an interview that the manufacturer’s plans for Hi-MO 5 to account for nearly 1/3 of its total shipments in 2021 (see LONGi: Hi-MO 5 To Account For 30% Shipment In 2021).

Risen Energy Senior R&D Director Yafeng Liu: Soon after announcing the launch for its 600 W+ solar module series to enter production in 2021, China’s Risen Energy is getting ambitious and has provided a roadmap to aim for 680 W in 2022 and 700 W range in 2023 using Topcon and/or heterojunction (HJT) technology, as it wants to lead the PV industry from 6.0 era to 7.0 era. Liu added in his presentation that high power is not the target for the company but LCOE is.

Maxeon Solar Technologies Director of Product Management, Joshua Moore: SunPower’s planned spin-off Maxeon Solar Technologies, introduced for the first time publicly at a conference details for its recently published new Performance 5 Bifacial Shingled Module series with currently 540W, to be followed soon by up to 625 W output (see SunPower Spin-Off Launches 600W+ PV Panel). It is using 210mm wafer size from investor and shareholder Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS), a world leading wafer manufacturer. In total, TZS and SunPower backed entity Maxeon will target 8 GW of cumulative production capacity by 2021, Moore added. Maxeon has an exclusive distributed generation panel supply agreement with its parent SunPower

Maxeon, which will be traded, on Nasdaq will own 2.75 GW manufacturing capacity through facilities in France, Mexico, China, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The 2nd day at TaiyangNews Virtual Conference on July 30, 2020 will be even more exciting with an executive panel from the leading 500W+ module manufacturers offering their insights into the opportunities for further cost reduction while improving the output of solar panels.

That’s not all!

Stay tuned for the global launch of TaiyangNews 500W+ Solar Modules Report 2020 which is our 1st report on very high power modules with everything that you need to know about the latest developments in 500W+ PV panels. Here’s the agenda for Day 2.