Top Solar Modules Listing – October 2022

Monthly TaiyangNews Update on Commercially Available High Efficiency Solar Modules

Cell efficiency matters: For our monthly top module listing we have chosen a benchmark efficiency of 21.5%. The list of 31 commercial products shows that today PERC is not able to support module efficiencies beyond 21.6% – and high efficiency cell architectures are required beyond that level. (Source: TaiyangNews)

  • Product count of top solar modules in October remained at 31, while one product is added, one is excluded compared to last previous list
  • LONGi Solar’s proprietary HPBC cell technology-based module stands at the top with highest efficiency of 22.8% with a rated power of 590W
  • Maxeon, a long time efficiency leader with its IBC technology, is now sharing the 1st rank with LONGi; as a result, Jinko’s product slips to 3rd rank

This month’s TaiyangNews ranking of commercial top solar modules is somewhat spectacular as we have a new No. 1. LONGi has introduced a module with a new back contact cell technology that comes with the same efficiency as the product of the long-time leader but higher power.  The data for the survey was collected in the first week of November 2022 (see New Record Efficiency Module With Back contact Cell From LONGi).

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. Our last event on Solar Module Innovations event took place in Nov. 2021 (presentations see here). However, in the quickly changing solar sector a lot is happening over the course of a year – and to keep our readers updated about the efficiency progress more frequently, TaiyangNews has started this monthly column on commercial TOP SOLAR MODULES at the beginning of 2022.

Methodology

Before going into details, here is some background on the methodology and selection criteria: Since module efficiencies have been improving considerably in recent years, more than 0.5% average per year, to make the list rewarding for technically advanced products we put the minimum efficiency to be included 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. Efficiency is the only criteria for ranking in the list (whenever available in the specs, we have used two digits after the comma for efficiencies, otherwise one). However, as we see more often products with the same efficiency, in this case power determine the order. And when efficiency and even power are the same, we have listed the manufacturers in alphabetical order.

A commercially available module is considered a product for which the complete data sheet is listed on the module producer’s website. The efficiency and power data listed here is taken from the data sheet available on the respective company’s website. This also means we have not included any new product announcements without final technical data published 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 module manufacturer, which means modules using externally sourced cells are not featured in this TOP MODULES list. If module specs listed on websites seem to have ‘conspicuously’ high efficiencies, we ask for certificates from third-party test institutes among other information before we include a product in the list.

Results & Changes

Meeting these criteria, according to our research (status end of first week of November 2022), a total of 31 products from 23 companies have made it to the current list. Although the number of products remains the same, there are a few changes for details – and a very prominent one. While SunPower spin-off Maxeon  has been the lonesome supplier for the highest efficiency module that is available commercially for a long time (previously as SunPower – and much, much longer than this survey is published), these days are over now. Maxeon now has to share the top spot with LONGi. The Chinese integrated PV manufacturer has introduced a new module series based on a proprietary Hybrid Passivated Back Contact (HPBC)  cell technology that has an efficiency of 22.8%, the same level as Maxeon’s IBC module. The other change with respect to the previous listing is a de-listing of Qcells’ TOPCon module as the data sheet was no longer accessible on the website during our research in early November.  Moreover, JinkoSolar’s PERC module comes with a slightly lower efficiency – the JKM560 reaches  21.68%, while the earlier JKM565 with 21.87% from last month’s ranking was not shown on the company website anymore during the time of our research. Reflecting these changes, the rankings for most of the products in the list changed compared to the previous TOP MODULES edition.

For the first, at least since we started evaluating the commercially available modules in 2017, here is a products from that matches to the efficiency levels of Maxeon. The IBC modules from SunPower later promoted by Maxeon have always remained highest efficient products in general. This has now changes with world’s largest module maker and wafer supplier LONGi has introduced a new module series called Hi-MO6 with 22.8% efficiency that is at the same level as that of the Maxeon’s products. LONGi’s latest product is based on a proprietary HPBC cell technology, which is essentially a back contact cell architecture.  While LONGi has not officially confirmed the wafer type, whether it is p-type or n-type, it is most likely to be p-type, whereas the other leading Chinese vertically integrated module manufacturers have opted to n-type for their next generation products after p-type PERC, no matter if TOPCon or HJT. Apart from being top class in efficiency, the new Hi-MO6 module series is powerful too. The module is built with 144 half cells based on M10 wafer format resulting in a rated power of 590 W, which is why it is listed above the Maxeon’s product Maxeon 6 with 440 W labelled power.

As a result, Jinko Solar now holds the 3rd position with its Tiger Neo TOPCon module JKMN-72HL4-V that is offered with a power rating of 585 W and an efficiency of 22.65%. The fourth position is now taken by  Huasun and Jolywood. Both the products from Huasun and Jolywood are based on the same configuration – G12 wafer size in a 132 half-cell configuration and an efficiency of 22.53%. With 700 W, both these modules also share the designation for the most powerful products on the list. Interestingly, their cell technology is different –  while Huasun’s product is based on HJT, Jolywood relies on TOPCon technology.

Canadian Solar and Akcome now share the 6th position. The HJT modules of both the companies reach the same efficiency of 22.5%. However,  Akcome’s Hi-Chaser module built with 132 bifacial half cells of G12 format has a power rating of 700 W, while the HiHero from Canadian Solar rated with 440 W is based on 108 half cells with MBB technology, also employing G12 format.

The 8th position is taken by JA Solar’s recently added DeepBlue 4.0 product. This is JA’s second module on the list but an n-type bifacial module that has an efficiency of 22.4% for a rated power of 625 W. It is built based on 182 mm wafer format and 156 cell configuration.

SPIC’s IBC module based on Germany’s solar research institute ISC Konstanz’s Zebra technology dropped to 9th place; it has a rated power of 440 W and 22.3% efficiency. Again, it shares that rank with REC, whose Alpha Pure-R series HJT product has 22.3% efficiency and 430 W module power.  The Astro 5 TOPCon module of Chint Astronergy continues to reach an efficiency of 22.1%, which now means the 11th rank. Astronergy is employing 144 of M10 half cells to realize an output power of 570 W.

DAS Solar is a Chinese cell and module manufacturer from which we have listed 2 modules – one comes with TOPCon and another is based on PERC technology. The TOPCon module has an efficiency of 22.1% and 570 W power output. Built with bifacial technology, it is made of 144 cells based on 182 mm wafer format. EgingPV’s AuroraPro series module is a TOPCon based bifacial module with an efficiency of 22.05%, which means the 13th place in our ranking. The module has a rated power of 685 W.

The remaining 18 products listed are below 22%, of which one is TOPCon, while 2 are based on HJT and the bulk, 15 are PERC modules.

Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ is a recent entry to the list which stands at 14th position. This multi busbar halfcell n-type module has an output power of 425 W and an efficiency of 21.9%. As previously, Meyer Burger is offering its HJT product with the same efficiency of 21.8% and power rating of 390 W. Jinergy is another HJT technology company, whose product is based on M6 cell format and reaches 21.68% module efficiency.

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 in order to design products today beyond 21.6% the cell technology is key. As shown in the graph, PERC has been in general not been 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. Until recently only LONGi was somewhat of an exception offering a PERC module with a high efficiency rating of 21.7%, which earns the company the 16th position. In the meantime, Risen Energy’s 210 mm based 450 W PERC module also shares the 16th rank along with LONGi’s 21.7% efficient 182 mm based 555 W model. And JinkoSolar’s latest Tiger Pro is another module with 21.68% efficiency, sharing the 18th rank. Its product is based on 144 cell configuration resulting in a rated output of 560 W. However, the question is if the high efficiencies above 21.6% are due to additional passivation features on the PERC cell rather than improvements on the module level.

Of the further 13 listed products, all of which are based on PERC (except Jinergy’s HJT module), 5 reach 21.6%, 4 come with 21.5%, and 3 are rated in-between. The PERC products from Astronergy, Canadian Solar, DAS Solar, Eging PV, JinkoSolar, LONGi, TrinaSolar are also listed in addition to their high-efficiency products as these panels still meet our criteria of at least 21.5% efficiency (see Top Solar Modules Listing  – September 2022).

Summary

As discussed above, our latest monthly high-efficiency module ranking (featuring the summary of our research status as of the first week of November) has undergone a dramatic change. The latest Hi-MO6 product series based on LONGi’s own HPBC technology reaches the highest efficiency of 22.8%, which entitles the product for the 1st rank along with long-time efficiency leader, the n-type IBC module from Maxeon. However, LONGi’s back contact module comes with a higher power rating of 590 W vs 440 W.  Among the 13 top modules listed above 22% efficiency, 6 use TOPCon cells, 4 are HJT based and 3 employ back contact concept (including LONGi). Qcell’s TOPCon module is not listed anymore as the data sheet was not available on the website of the company in early November.

Stay tuned for the next update next month.

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 top-modules@taiyangnews.info.

Disclaimer: While TaiyangNews is carefully conducting its research for the module data shown in this article and graphs, we assume no liability for its accuracy, completeness, or timeliness.

Several of the companies listed in our TOP Solar Module Listing will speak at our 3-Day TaiyangNews Virtual Flagship Conference on High Efficiency Solar Technologies – TOPCon, HJT and Beyond, Today & Tomorrow. These include LONGi, JA Solar, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, Astronergy, Risen Energy, Jolywood, Huasun. For free registration, please click here.

About The Author

Shravan Chunduri

Shravan Chunduri is Head of Technology at TaiyangNews. Shravan caught the solar bug vey early in this career, starting 20 years ago in research, followed by solar manufacturing, then writing and consulting. His responsibility spans from writing technology articles and reports.

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