Top Solar Modules Listing – August 2023

Monthly TaiyangNews Update on Commercially Available High Efficiency Solar Modules

  • Maxeon’s back-contact top module is now one of 3 commercial products in our ranking reaching the 23% efficiency level
  • DASSolar and JA Solar have both introduced higher power TOPCon models of 630 W, up from 580 W but at the same efficiency of 22.5%
  • URECO is now only one of 2 companies that have modules with all 3 technologies listed after HJT and TOPCon products have been added

Maxeon has improved the top efficiency of its panel product portfolio to a next level, nearly 1.5 years after we started this TOP modules ranking. A spin-off of SunPower, Maxeon was the #1 back then with a module efficiency of 22.7. It slightly improved its top efficiency to 22.8%, which was reflected in our March 2022 edition. Now, that the back contact cell technology expert has published the technical specs for its 23.0% module on its website, we have included it in our August 2023 edition. The company had announced this improvement already in June (see Module Efficiency Record from Maxeon). However, ranking-wise nothing has changed for Maxeon: it remains third after Aiko and LONGi, which had taken over with even higher efficiencies in the meantime.

As to the other changes, DASsolar and JASolar modules are replaced with high power products; for both of these modules the power increased from 580 W to 630 W, while the efficiency has remained same. The change with Jolywood’s listing is that its NiwaPro bifacial variants is now featured in the listing, while the  440 W power and 22.53% efficiency remained unaltered. EgingPv’s TOPcon module has a slightly higher efficiency of 0.01%. Two more products based on TOPCon and HJT are listed from Taiwanese company United Renewable Energy Company (URECO) while its previous PERC product remains unchanged. URECO is not the only company next to Canadian Solar having modules for all 3 technologies – PERC, TOPCon and HJT – included in our ranking. In the PERC category, GCL-Si is now represented with a 600 W module with 21.6%, while Runergy’s product has 5 W higher power.

The new additions haven’t had any impacts on the top ranks. Aiko Solar, one of the leading Chinese cell manufacturers that has recently expanded into modules, again holds the top position with a ground breaking commercial record efficiency of 24%. The module was displayed first during the SNEC trade fair in Shanghai and then at Intersolar Europe in Munich. Aiko broke its own previous record of 23.6% that featured in our TOP SOLAR MODULE listing since March. Aiko’s AIKO-A620-MAH72Mw has a power rating of 620 W. Like its predecessor, the new record module product is also from its ABC module series that relies on back contact cell architecture. In May, we included LONGi Solar’s Hi-MO6 module with an updated efficiency of 23.2%. As a result LONGi’s earned the unshared No. 2 position, which it was sharing with Maxeon before May 2023.

For details about the different modules – changes and new entries, please check the Results & Changes section below, following the Background, Methodology chapters.

Background

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 latest Solar Module Innovations Report was published in Aug. 2022 (download report here) and our most recent annual conference on Solar Module Innovations took place on Jan. 31, 2023 (access the presentations 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. TaiyangNews has also published 2 reports presenting the analysis of this monthly list – an annual overview analyzing the developments over the course of the last year, (see TOP SOLAR MODULES 2022), and an extended analysis to June 2023 that was published during Intersolar Europe (see TOP SOLAR MODULES H1-2023).

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 determines 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: first week of August 2023), a total of 51 products from 31 companies have made it to the current list. While the number companies have not changed, 2 products are featuring for the first time in this month’s listing.

Aiko’s ABC module series remains at the top, with an efficiency of  24% surpassing its own previous high of 23.6%. This change happened in the month of June. Aiko’s ABC module product is rated with up to 620 W power coming from 144 M10 half cells. Aiko has not specified the exact cell architecture, but it’s based on n-type wafers and characterized as ABC that is also the designation of the module series and stands for All Back Contact. The module efficiency was certified by TÜV SÜD, and the product is also commercially available. As a proof Aiko also provided a list of projects, in which the module series has been used in commercial scale installations.

The Hi-MO6 module from LONGi was updated in May – at 23.2% it has remained unchanged in the No. 2 position. LONGi’s product is based on its proprietary HPBC cell technology, which is essentially a back contact cell architecture. Apart from being top class in efficiency, the new Hi-MO6 module series is powerful too. It reaches up to 600 W in the highest power class. The 144 (6×24) half-cell panel is a single glass (3.2 mm) product with an anodized aluminum alloy frame, measuring 2,278 x 1,134 x 35 mm and a weight of 27.5 kg. The up to 23.2% efficient module comes with a 25-year power warranty with <1.5% power degradation in the first year and an average of 0.40% from years 2 to 25.

Until April 2023, Maxeon and LONGi were sharing the same rank, and before LONGi introduced its HiMO 6 end of 2022, the IBC modules from SunPower spin-off Maxeon have been the most efficient products in the market for many years.

The latest Maxeon 6 module with 23% from Maxeon is major update in this edition. The module has a rated power of 445 W – 5 W more than the previously listed product – and is also based on IBC n-type cell technology. This module is built with 66 cells of 166 format and designed with white backsheet and black frame structure. It comes with an outstanding performance warranty period of 40 years.

Jinko Solar continues to hold the 4th 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%. Huasun and Jolywood again share the 5th rank. Both products have the same efficiency of 22.53% but for different rated module power. Huasun’s HJT module with 700 W, until recently the solely most powerful on the list, is based on G12 wafer size in a 132 half-cell configuration; Jolywood’s product is based on TOPCon technology and uses M10 wafer format in 108 cell configuration. However, recently it’s former Niwa Pro module was replaced with a bifacial product called Niwa Light that has the same specifications of 440 W power and 22.53% efficiency.

Risen Energy’s Hyper-ion module, which was included in June, remains unchanged. This HJT module from Risen has an efficiency of 22.5%, corresponding to a very high rated power of 700 W. The product is built with 132 half cells, cut from 210 mm original format, and it’s bifacial. It shares the 7th rank with 7 other products on the list.

Astronergy’s Astro N5 series, built with 144 half cut cells and 182 mm wafer format is still in 7th position with the same 580 W power.

Canadian Solar’s TopHiKu6 TOPCon model comes with 22.5% efficiency. The module entered our list in June 2023, replacing a bifacial product, and has 0.2% higher efficiency, improving the rank from 11th to 7th. CS6W-560-580T has 144 half cells with 182 mm wafer format – and reaches 580 W compared to the earlier product with 575 W. Interestingly, one more product from Canadian Solar also shares the 7th rank. However, this HiHero series is based on HJT is a smaller module built with 108 G12 wafers in half-cell configuration, thus has a lower rated power of 440 W.

DAS Solar’s DAS-DH156NA has a higher power than its previously listed model, DAS-DH144NA. This bifacial module is built with 156 halfcells and has a power rating of 630 W, compared to the earlier listed 580 W cell product based on 144 bifacial cells. Both products are using TOPCon cells – the efficiency is the same at 22.5%. The ranking of DAS Solar’s TOPCon module remains at 7th place.

JA Solar’s TOPCon listing also went through a similar change. The JAM72D42 630/LB has a higher power of 630 W compared to the 530 W JAM72D40 580/GB product, but the efficiency has stayed the same at 22.5%, which is why the ranking also remained at 7th. It is a bifacial double glass module with a bifaciality of  80 ±10% and is built with 144 half cells of G12 size and 16-busbars. using G12 wafer format. As to the physical characteristics, the module measures  2,465 x 1134 x 35 mm and weighs 34.6 kg.

TW Solar’s TOPCon module, which joined the list in April 2023, has  remained unchanged at 7th position. The product is designed with a TNC cell type, an anodized aluminum alloy frame and features a linear warranty of 30 years for power output. This product also built with 144 halfcells using G12 wafer format and has an efficiency of 22.5% and 580 W power.

Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ module was already a new member of the group sharing the 7th rank in the June 2023 edition and has not changed since then. It is based on TOPCon technology, and the product has an efficiency of 22.5%. This module uses 210 mm wafer format and is built with 144 half cells leading to an output power of 450 W.

DMEGC, that entered out listing in June, has not made any changes to its listed products. This bifacial module of the company is designed with 144 halfcells of 182 mm wafer format that ultimately reaches an efficiency of 22.45% and a corresponding rated power output of 580 W. It earned it a 15th position sharing with Qn-Solar

Qn-Solar, a Chinese solar cell and module manufacturer, has entered our list in July 2023. Originally a project developer and EPC, the 2014 launched Shanghai-headquartered company also operates its own power plants, and has been recently strongly expanding into the manufacturing field to reach 69 GW cell and 39 GW module capacity in 2023, according to their website. The company is promoting TOPCon modules with an efficiency of up to 22.45%. Qn-Solar’s listed bifacial TOPCon product has a rated power of 580 W and is built with 182 wafer format having144 halfcells. Qn-Solar is also promoting a PERC module that qualifies our criterion with an efficiency of 21.57%, thus it is also included in the current listing at 42nd position. That module has an output power of 670 W.

A new product series, called STAR Pro is now representing EgingPV’s TOPCon range in the list, replacing the previous Aurora Pro. The top module of the STAR Pro comes with a higher module efficiency of 22.45%, which is 0.01% higher than its predecessor. As a result it moved up from 17th to 15th place. This bifacial module, built with 182 mm wafer format and 144 halfcells, has a rated power of 580 W.

URECO is a Taiwanese manufacturer that formed after merging of the 3 leading cell manufacturers of Taiwan – Neo Solar Power, Gintech and Solartec. This company is offering the products based on all 3 mainstream cell technologies – PERC, TOPCon and HJT. While PERC products were already part of our previous listing, the modules based on the remaining 2 advanced cell technologies are featuring for the first time. GLORY is the name of the company’s TOPCon series and is represented through its FBF580B8D model with an efficiency of 22.45%, which means the15th place shared with the above mentioned products from DMEGC and Qn-Solar. The HJT module of the company, with a rated efficiency of 22.44% misses the spot with a very narrow gap of 0.01%, which pushed it 4 ranks down, to #19. Called GLORY HELLO, the module is built with 120 halfcells using 210 mm wafer format; it has a power rating of 635 W.

With inclusion of the 2 products from URECO, rankings of the other products featured below have slightly changed. Runergy, which entered our list in July, is another leading Chinese cell vendor that ventured into module business recently (for background watch our interview with Runergy CTO Yang Yang). For solar cells, Runergy is operating 26 GW all PERC capacity in China and Vietnam, and by the end of 2023 it plans to expand to about 36 GW TOPCon capacity. As for modules, Runergy has 12 GW operational capacity in China and 9 GW in Thailand. By 2023-end, it plans to expand in Thailand and also venture into production in the US. The 2 product streams of Runergy based on TOPCon and PERC cell technologies are featured in our review for the first time in July. The TOPCon model of the company, HY-DH156N8, is based on 156 halfcells of 182vmm format and MBB layout; it has an efficiency of 22.4% and a 625 W output power, which means the 20th position in our ranking, 2 places below than previous listing. However, its PERC module, which increased power from 555 W to 600 W with the same 21.5% efficiency, is placed at 49th position. Another product that is sharing the 20th position is a TOPCon module from Suntech with the same efficiency of 22.4%. This bifacial module is built with 182 mm sized 156 halfcells leading to a power rating of 625 W. Another product from Suntech included in July 2023 has an efficiency of 21.7% and is among the top efficiency products in the PERC category, earning the 28th rank.

Part of the vertically integrated GCL Group, which owns the largest silicon production capacity in the solar industry, GCL Integration (GCL-Si) is offering solar modules and battery storage products as well as full PV project solutions (for details on GCL Group, watch our interview with Group Chairman Gongshan Zhu). In the TOP MODULES July edition we have included 2 module products from GCL-Si.  The GCL GEMINI, representing the TOPCOn range of the company, has an efficiency of 22.3% and power output of 575 W. The bifacial n-type module is designed with 182 mm wafer format and 144 halfcut cells – and shares the 22nd rank with SPIC and REC

Reflecting the product additions above, SPIC’s IBC module, based on German solar research institute ISC Konstanz’s Zebra technology, further dropped down to 22nd place from 20th , while the product itself technically has not undergone any changes. It has the same efficiency of 22.3% and a power rating of 440 W.

REC’s HJT module hasn’t seen any change in recent months. The Singapore based manufacturer’s Alpha Pure-R series HJT product is offered with an unaltered efficiency of up to 22.3% and 430 W module power.

Akcome now stands at 25th position. The company’s Ak ipower HJT module has an efficiency of 22.22%. This PV panel is built with 132 half cells based on 210 mm wafer size and reaches a rated power of 690 W. Akcome also promotes a 560 W and 21.68% efficient bifacial PERC module built with 144 half cells sliced from M10 cells. This PERC product shares the 34th rank with JinkoSolar’s Tiger Pro PERC module that has the same efficiency.

With 46 GW cell production capacity, SolarSpace belongs to the largest solar cell manufacturers in China. Established in 2011, the Xuzhou based company 10 years later entered the module business, which has a capacity of 4.5 GW. In Jan. 2023, SolarSpace completed its first 16 GW TOPCon production facility – and offers both PERC and TOPCon products entered in our rankings last month in July. Its Lumina II based TOPCon cell technology panel of 430 W is built with 108 half cells of 182 mm wafer format and has an efficiency of 22.02%, positioning it on 26th rank. Lumina I from SolarSpace is a PERC module with 21.57% efficiency and is one among 6 products on the 42nd rank of the list.

The remaining 25 products listed are below 22%, of which 2 are based on HJT while the bulk are PERC modules.

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. They hold respective ranks of 25 and 32.

There are several module series with efficiencies slightly exceeding 21.5% available today, as high efficiency cell architectures are not a must to reach that level, but in order to design products today beyond 21.7%, the cell technology is key.

As shown in our TOP SOLAE MODULES H1-2023 overview report, PERC in general was not able to support efficiencies above 21.6% until the end of last year. At the time, modules with efficiencies above 21.6% were generally employing cells based on high-efficiency cell architectures such as IBC, TOPCon or HJT.

But as of recently, we have observed an increase in the number of companies reaching PERC module efficiency to 21.7%. Until November 2022, LONGi and Risen were in this group; then, in January, Canadian Solar joined; TW Solar joined in February; DAS Solar entered in April; and in July, Suntech joined the list of 21.7 efficient PERC modules – and all of them are ranked #28. Following the order of rated power, the third module of Canadian Solar in this list, its HiKu7 is based on 132 half-cell configuration with 210 mm wafer size and a rated power of 675 W. Risen Energy’s TITAN module is built with 132 half cells using 210 mm wafer format for a rated power of 675 W. LONGi’s HiMO5m module is built with 144 cells of 182 mm cell size and 560 W power. Suntech’s Ultra V module has a design of 144 halfcells and 182 mm wafer format. It has a rated power output of 560 W.  TW Solar, which was listing a 21.5% efficiency product until February, has come up with a 21.7% product that reaches a power output of 430 W. Like its predecessor, this product is also based on shingled interconnection technology, striping cells into 5 and a total of 61 cells are used to build this shingled module.

If rounded, the next 3 sharing rank 28 would also reach 21.7%, but the companies – Akcome, Jinko and Jinergy – have given 2 digits in their spec sheets. JinkoSolar’s Tiger Pro is a module with 21.68% efficiency based on 144 cell configuration resulting in a rated output of 560 W. Akcome has a bifacial product with the same number of cells, cell format and output of Jinko. Jinergy’s HJT module, however, is built with 120 half cells of M6 format that reaches a power of 395 W. These 3 products now share 34th rank.

The remaining 10 products are all based on PERC, of which 5 reach 21.6% efficiency, one more than previous month, holding 37th position. Interestingly, 4 products of this group – Astronergy, GCL-si, Talesun and Trina Solar  – have the same power rating of 670 W owing to the same cell count of 132 half cells of G12 size. However, GCL-si is the newest member of this group; the latest PERC module of the company has a higher efficiency of 21.6% improved from 21.5% and power rating from 555 W to 670 W. JA Solar’s DeepBlue 3.0 built with M10 sized 156 half cells has a lower power rating of 605 W, this is listed below the above products, but ranked the same at 37th.

The next 6 products reach up to 21.57% efficiency and share the 42nd rank, of which 3 are from Qn-Solar, SolarSpace and URECO that all entered to list in July. All the products in this list have the same efficiency of 21.57% and the same rated power of 670 W. These modules are built with 132 halfcells and 210 mm wafer format. EgingPV’s PERC product is the lone beholder of the 48th rank with  an efficiency of 21.56%, but the power rating of 670 W is the same as of the products from the group above. With GCL-Si increasing the efficiency of its PERC product, only 3 products are left in the 21.55% class. Runergy which was listed last in this group of three in the July edition, is now moved to the top, as the module now has a higher power rating of 600 W, improved from 555 W. CECEP, Qcells products remained the same with 590 and 555 W power ratings.

CECEP Solar Technology Zhenjiang is a comparatively small Chinese cell and module producer founded in 2010 that operates around 4 GW PERC cell and 8 GW module capacity, according to its website.

Summary      

In the dynamic landscape of the solar module industry, several noteworthy updates have emerged. Maxeon, for instance has elevated its module power output from 440 W at 22.8% efficiency to 445 W and 23.0% efficiency. However, the improvement has not changed the ranking of the company in the TOP MODULES listing. This edition also features 2 additional products from URECO for the first time based on HJT and TOPCon. The TOPCon product of the company comes with an efficiency of 22.45% ranked 15th, while its very little less efficient HJT module with 22.44% efficiency is ranked at 19th position. Eging’s TOPCon module now comes with a little higher efficiency of 22.45%, which has lifted the company 2 ranks higher –  from 17th in the previous edition to 15th in the current. Within the PERC stream, GCL’s product is now listed with a higher efficiency of 21.6%, improving from 21.5%, which catapulted it 9 positions up to 37thplace. Other noteworthy developments were mainly in the area of power improvements: the latest TOPCon models from DAS Solar and JA Solar have higher power ratings, both improved from 580 W to 630 W, but an unchanged efficiency of 22.5%. Runergy highest efficient PERC module increased its power rating from 555 W to 600 W.

 

Report: If you want to learn more on commercial module efficiencies of integrated module producers, please check our TOP SOLAR MODULES H1/2023 report. Here we have looked at the monthly columns for the last 18 months of this ranking – with a focus on H1/2023, and analyzed the  trends and developments for the different cell technologies (PERC; TOPCon, HJT, Back Contact) and listed companies (free download of TOP SOLAR MODULES H1/2023 report here).

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 [email protected].

Disclaimer: TaiyangNews does not guarantee reliability, accuracy or completeness of this TOP SOLAR MODULE Listing’s content. TaiyangNews does not accept responsibility or liability for any errors in this work.

About The Author

Shravan Chunduri

HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY Shravan is a name to reckon with in the solar industry. Having caught the solar bug very early in his career, he began his journey 20 years ago in research, followed by stints in solar manufacturing. He then moved on to write and eventually ventured into Consulting. At TaiyangNews, he is responsible for drafting the technology reports and articles that are regularly published in TaiyangNews, apart from hosting the Conferences and Webinars that TaiyangNews conducts. [email protected]

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