- Products count in our TOP SOLAR MODULE list increased from 15 to 20 with 6 newcomers and one delisted product
- Huasun and Jinergy have introduced new HJT modules that meet our criteria
- We spotted 4 products from JA Solar, Risen, Eging and Hanwha Q Cells that also have efficiencies of at least 21.5%
- REC has improved the power and efficiency of its Alpha series HJT module to 410 W and 22.2%
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. This is our second post that refers to commercially available module products from most of the leading module suppliers collected in January 2022.
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 January 2021), a total of 20 products from 19 companies have made it to the current list (see table below).
The top efficiency rank is 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 22.3% TOPCon based module. While REC and Huasun’s listed HJT modules are also above the 22% level, all other modules are below.
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. Apart from the above mentioned IBC and TOPCon module suppliers, Huasun, REC, Meyer Burger and Jinergy have designed their high efficiency modules based on HJT. Of the remaining 12 listed products, 5 reach 21.6%, while 6 come with 21.5% and Eging’s module is rated with 21.56% efficiency.
Changes in this edition
When compared to our previous listing released in January summarizing the research of December 2021, the current listing features 6 more products, while one was discarded resulting in a total count that increased to 20 from 15. Two of them are HJT modules from Chinese companies Huasun (22.1%) and Jinergy (21.68%). We also spotted 4 further products meeting our criteria – from JA Solar (21.5%), Risen Energy (21.6%), Eging (21.56%) and Hanwha Q Cells (21.5%). Risen’s 670 W module and Eging’s 670 W panel come with 210 mm wafers, JA’s 555 W module with 182 mm wafers, while Q Cells 590 W product’s spec did not include the wafer size but has the second largest number of cells (156) on our list. Q Cell’s and Eging’s specs do not reveal what technology they use but it’s likely also PERC, as for Risen and JA. As for the product upgrades, REC has improved the power and efficiency of its Alpha series HJT module to 410 W and 22.2% from the previous rating of 405 W and 21.9%.
Stay tuned for the next update in March 2021.
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.