- Products count in Top Solar Modules February list increased from 20 to 22
- SPIC with its new IBC module joined list, while Yingli’s PERC module also earned spot
- LONGi has improved module efficiencies by 0.2% to 21.7%; new JA PERC module features 21.6%
This is our 3rd post that refers to commercially available module products from most of the global leading module suppliers collected in February 2022.
Efficiency and output power are the 2 key characteristics of a solar module. While there are several means to improve module power such as employing larger cell sizes or integrating more cells into a module, it’s the efficiency that truly speaks about the ability of the solar device to convert sunlight per area into power. That’s why this list includes only the highest efficient solar modules.
TaiyangNews has been covering the efficiency progress of solar modules through its annual reports on Advanced Module Technologies starting from 2017 and its annual conference as of 2020. However, in the quickly changing solar sector a lot is happening over the course of year – and to keep our readers updated about the efficiency progress more frequently, TaiyangNews has recently started this monthly column on commercial TOP SOLAR MODULES.
Before going into the details, a bit of background on the methodology and selection criteria. Since module efficiencies have been improving considerably, more than 0.5% average per year, to make the list rewarding for technically advanced products we put the benchmark efficiency at 21.5%. We have listed only commercially available top modules from each cell technology stream of one module maker. For example, if a company is offering 2 different product streams based on PERC technology that have more than 21.5% efficiency, then only the product with the higher efficiency is considered for this list. But if a module maker is offering, for example, products based on PERC and TOPCon that have efficiencies of 21.5% or above, then both the products are listed here.
A commercially available module is considered a product for which the complete data sheet is listed on the module producer’s website. This also means we have not included any new product announcements as their modules specs often differ considerably from the products that are finally available for purchase, and some products presented at trade fairs are not even seeing the commercial light at all. Finally, we are only listing modules based on in-house produced cells of a respective manufacturer; which means modules using externally sourced cells are not featured in this TOP MODULES list.
Meeting these criteria, according to our research (status end of February 2022), a total of 22 products from 21 companies have made it to the current list. The top efficiency rank is still earned by a 22.7% efficient back-contact module from Maxeon. The Maxeon 3 series modules feature SunPower’s proprietary IBC technology implemented on 5-inch n-type wafers. The module is built with 115 of such Maxeon Gen 3 solar cells using back-contact module technology. Jolywood takes the second place; it’s TOPCon technology implements G12 wafer size in a 132-half-cell configuration and attains an efficiency of 22.53%. With 700 W, it is also the most powerful product on the list. The third ranked product is a 22.3% efficient, 405 W and 60-cell back contact n-type module from LG, just a little ahead of JinkoSolar’s 22.26% TOPCon based module. HJT modules from REC, which improved its products recently, and Huasun, which was included in the January table, are above the 22% level – 22.2% and 22.1%, respectively. The new IBC module from SPIC based on ISC Konstanz’s Zebra technology is rated with exactly 22%, while the remaining 15 products are below 22%.
There are several module series with efficiencies around 21% available today as high efficiency cell architectures are not a must to reach that level, but to design products beyond 21.5%, the cell technology is key. As shown in the graph, PERC in general is no longer be able to support efficiencies above 21.6% today. Most of the modules with efficiencies above 21.6% are employing cells based on high-efficiency cell architectures such as IBC, TOPCon or HJT. However, in the current listing, only Meyer Burger and Jinergy are promoting HJT module with respective efficiencies of 21.8% and J 21.6%. Then, the Hi-MO 5m series from LONGi is somewhat exception with its rated high efficiency of 21.7% for a PERC module. Of the remaining 12 listed products, 6 reach 21.6%, 4 come with 21.5% , while the efficiencies of Yingli and Eging are in-between – at 21.57% and 21.56%, respectively.
Changes in this edition
When compared to our previous listing released in February summarizing the research of January 2022, the current listing features 2 additional products. These are an IBC module from SPIC (22%) and a PERC product from Yingli (21.57%). The IBC module from SPIC comes with 144 half cells of M6 size and multi busbars resulting in a output power of 470 W. The Yingli module is built with 132 half cells of G12 format based on PERC and a power rating of 670 W, a common configuration adapted by PERC followers with larger wafers.
As for the product upgrades, both LONGi and JA have improved their product range. LONGi has extended its Hi-MO 5 rage to Hi-MO 5m, in which the addition suffix “m” indicates the monofacial structure. While the other structural characteristics remained the same – 144 half cells, M10 size and MBB – the power and efficiencies have improved. The latest Hi-MO 5m has a 555 W rated power, 5 W more compared to earlier version and 0.2% points higher efficiency of 21.7%. The highest efficiency module from JA Solar is now built with 156 cells of M10 format instead of 144 cells. The obvious result is power boost from 555 W to 605 W, while it also resulted in a 0.1% increase in efficiency to 21.6%.
Stay tuned for the next update to be published in early April 2022.
PS: If you have spotted somewhere a solar module that meets our criteria and might be missing in this list, please send us the link of the website with the product specs to firstname.lastname@example.org.