Top Solar Modules Listing – July 2023

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 49 commercial products shows that today PERC is not able to support module efficiencies beyond 21.7% – and high efficiency cell architectures are required beyond that level. (Source: TaiyangNews)

  • Following SNEC and Intersolar, we have added 6 companies and 10 products to the July TaiyangNews TOP SOLAR MODULE Listing
  • Newly listed module manufacturers are CECEP, GCL-si, Qn-solar, Runergy, SolarSpace, URECO
  • The top 5 remain the same, with Aiko’s 24% back contact module leading.

TaiyangNews monthly TOP SOLAR MODULE list features as many as 6 new integrated module manufacturers with 10 products. A new product range from one of the previously listed companies is also included in this month’s list. The boost comes after the TaiyangNews team attended the world’s largest trade shows – SNEC in China end of May and Intersolar Europe in Germany in mid-June.

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 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.

A quick glance at the changes reflected in this month’s edition: Qn-solar, Runergy, GCL-si, SolarSpace and CECEP from Mainland China and URECO from Taiwan are the 6 companies that have entered our high efficiency group. Among these new entries, URECO and CECEP each have one product listed, while the other 4 companies each have 2 products in the TOPCon and PERC categories. DAS SOLAR and Eging PV have updated their TOPCon offering with the top of the ranges now reaching higher efficiencies of 22.5% and 22.45%, respectively. Suntech’s TOPCon product is featuring for the first time; it also updated its PERC product portfolio, now including an up to 21.7% efficiency module.

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 (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 July 2023), a total of 49 products from 31 companies have made it to the current list. Six newly listed companies together offer 10 new products while another product comes from an already listed company, Suntech.

Aiko’s ABC module series remains at the top, with  efficiency of 24% surpassing its own previous high of 23.6%. This change happened in last month. Aiko’s ABC module product is rated with up to 620 W power coming from 144 of 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 has 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.

In consequence, Maxeon’s 440 W and 22.8% efficient IBC cell based panel moved down to 3rd position. Until April, 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.

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. Its Niwa Light product has a rated power of 440 W.

Risen Energy’s Hyper-ion module, which was included in June, remained 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 in 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 in our list in June 2023, replacing the previous bifacial product. with 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. To reach an efficiency of 22.5%, it employs 108 G12 wafers in half-cell configuration but has a lower power rating of 440 W.

DAS Solar’s DAS-DH144NA has a higher efficiency than its previously listed model. DAS-DH108NA. This panel is listed with 22.5% efficiency, which is 0.2% higher than the previously listed TOPCon module. This bifacial module is built with 144 halfcells and has a power rating of 580 W, compared to the earlier listed 435 W cell product based on 108 cells. As a result, the TOPCon representation of the company moved  up to 7th place from last month’s 15th position. This dramatic change in the ranking is mainly due to the fact several TOPCon products are equally efficient, claiming the same rank at 22.5%.

The top products from JA Solar and TW Solar which joined the list in April 2023 have remained unchanged. The JAM72D40 580/GB, a TOPCon product from JA Solar has 22.5% efficiency for a power output of 580 W. TW Solar’s TOPCon product has exactly the same efficiency and power ratings of 22.5% and 580 W, respectively, thus both are sharing the seventh rank. Both the products are built with 144 half cells using G12 wafer format.

Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ module was 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 latest product features a high efficiency of 22.5% compared to 22.35% previously. This module uses 210 mm wafer format and is built with 144 half cells leading to an output power of 450 W.

As mentioned above, the inclusion of DAS Solar’s TOPCon product has increased the number of the company sharing the 7th rank now increased to 8 from 7.

DMEGC, that entered last month remains unchanged. This bifacial module 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.

Qn-Solar, a Chinese solar cell and module manufacturer, is a new entry to the list. 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%, which entitles a 15th rank in our ranking, sharing the position with the product from DMEGC. Qn-Solar’s listed bifacial TOPCon product has a rated power of 580 W and is built with 182 wafer format having144 halfcells. Qn-Solarr is also promoting a PERC module that qualifies our criterion with an efficiency of 21.57%, thus is also included in the current listing at 39th position. The 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 22.44%, a whole sum of 0.39% points more than last month’s listed product. This bifacial module built with 182 mm wafer format and 144 halfcell has a rated power of 580 W and holds 17th place.

New to our list is also Runergy, 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 featuring in our review for the first time. The TOPCon model of the company, HY-DH156N8, is based on 156 halfcells of 182mm format and MBB layout and has an efficiency of 22.4% and a 625 W output power ranked at 18th position, while the 555 W PERC module is based on 144 M10 cells, and with 21.5% efficiency it is placed at 46th position.

Another product that is sharing the 18th position is also featuring for the first time – it 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 change reflected under Suntech in the current review is that top efficiency among the PERC products has increased  by 0.1% absolute, to 21.7% earning a 26th 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 20th rank with SPIC and REC

Reflecting these additions, SPIC’s IBC module, based on German solar research institute ISC Konstanz’s Zebra technology, dropped down to 20th place from 15th in June, 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 from last month. 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.

With the above changes, Akcome now stands at 23rd 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 32nd 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 that are now listed in our ranking. 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 24th rank. Lumina I from SolarSpace is a PERC module with 21.57% efficiency and is one among 6 products on the 39th 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 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 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 #26. 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. This module has 0.1% points higher efficiency than the previously listed PERC module of the company. 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 26 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 32nd rank, down from 26th in June.

The remaining 10 products are all based on PERC, of which 4 reach 21.6% efficiency, holding 35th position. Interestingly, 3 products of this group – Astronergy, 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. JA Solar’s DeepBlue 3.0 built with M10 sized 156 half cells has a different power rating of 605 W.

The next 6 products reach up to 21.57% efficiency and share the 39th rank, of which 3 – from Qn-Solar, SolarSpace and United Renewable Energy Company (URECO) – are featuring for the first time. All the products in this list have same efficiency of 21.57% and 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 45th rank with  an efficiency of 21.56%, but the power rating of 670 W same as the above product group though. In this edition 4 more products are added to 21.5% efficiency class, where only Qcells was listed for the previous 3 months. The new names here are CECEP, GCL-Si and Runergy, promoting PERC products that have the same power rating of 555 W and 21.5% efficiency, while Qcells’ PERC module has a higher power of 590 W as it is built with the highest number of half-cells (156) in that group. URECO is a Taiwanese manufactuer that formed after merging of 3 leading cell manufacturers of Taiwan – Neo Solar Power, Gintech and Solartec.

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 this July 2023 TaiyangNews TOP SOLAR MODULE Rankings, Aiko Solar’s ABC module series maintains its top position with a record breaking efficiency of 24% and a power rating of 620 W. LONGi Solar’s HiMO6 module remains second with an efficiency of 23.2%. Maxeon’s IBC cell- based panel again takes the third position with an efficiency of 22.8%.

New entrants to the list include Qn-Solar, Runergy, GCL-Si, SolarSpace, URECO and CECEP, bringing the total number of companies to 31 and the total number of products listed to 49.

We have also several changes to report for listed companies: Suntech’s TOPCon module is featuring for first time, and it is also part of the companies that made changes to product offering that were part of our previous listing, while DAS Solar and Eging PV’s TOPCon modules now have higher efficiencies.

The listing above consists of modules with efficiencies of 21.5% and higher based on various cell technologies such as PERC, TOPCon, HJT and IBC. The efficiency is the main criteria for ranking the modules. The rankings are based on commercially available modules from module makers with their own cell production – and the complete datasheets need to be on the respective manufacturer’s website.

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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