Top Solar Modules Listing – November 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 of at least 21.5% efficiency remain at 31 in November
  • Jolywood introduced new TOPCon 440 W module with 22.53% efficiency
  • New addition of PERC module with 670 W power rating from Jinergy

This December update of TaiyangNews top solar modules listing is somewhat maintained with subtle differences. The spectacular record efficiency of 22.8% attained by LONGi, which is the highest for any commercially available module that was included in our previous, is still relevant, continuing to share the #1 spot with Maxeon (see New Record Efficiency Module With Back contact Cell From LONGi). Like in the previous edition, the number of products is the same at 31, but there are a few changes in detail. Jolywood introduced a new module with a smaller form factor and lower power of 440 W than an earlier listed product, while the efficiency has remained the same. Jinergy introduced a new 21.57% efficient PERC module with 670 W.

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 first week of December 2022), a total of 31 products from 22 companies have made it to the current list. The drop in count of companies by one in number is due to the absence of Akcome. The reason is that the module specs of the company’s products were not accessible on their website, at least during the 1st week of December when we checked for updated data. Still, while the number of the products on our list have remained the same at 31, there are a few changes that are worth taking note of. However, nothing has changed for the top 3 products.

While SunPower spin-off Maxeon was 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. Last month, LONGi introduced its Hi-MO6 module series that, based on a proprietary Hybrid Passivated Back Contact (HPBC) cell technology, has an efficiency of 22.8%, exactly the same as that of the Maxeon’s product. However, LONGi’s product has a higher power 590 W than Maxeon’s 440 W module, thus it is also listed first in the table. With these two taking the first position, Jinko’s TOPCon module takes the 3rd rank with 22.65% efficiency and 585 W rated power.

There is a slight change for Jolywood’s top module. While its newly listed best TOPCon module has the same 22.53% efficiency (that is why its rank has not changed), the company’s latest NIWA LIGHT module series is built with 108 half cells of M10 cells size and has a lower power rating of 440 W. The previously listed product was based on G12 wafer format and 700 W power, but the specs were not accessible on the website during our research period.

The only other change for this edition is that Jinergy reappeared in our ranking with a PERC module that has a slightly higher efficiency of 21.57%. The company featured in our ranking the last time in August with a PERC module efficiency of 21.52%, but at some point this product spec was not available on their website anymore. While the previous model was based on M10 wafer size format, the latest product uses G12 wafer size and comes with 132 half cells to attain a power rating of 670 W.

Reflecting these few additions and product changes, the rankings for most of the panels in the list changed compared to the previous TOP MODULES edition.

The IBC modules from SunPower, later promoted by Maxeon, have been the most efficient products in the market for many years. This has changed in November 2022 with the world’s largest wafer and module maker LONGi having introduced a new module series called Hi-MO6 with 22.8% efficiency that is at the same level as Maxeon’s products. LONGi’s latest panel 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 Maxeon’s product Maxeon 6 with 440 W labelled power.

As a result, Jinko Solar 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%. Huasun and Jolywood share fourth position. Both products have the same efficiency of 22.53% but for different rated module power. Huasun’ HJT module with 700W is  based on G12 wafer size in a 132 half-cell configuration, while Jolywood’s product is based on TOPCon technology; it has M10 wafer size and 108 cell configuration. This Niwa Light product has a rated power of 440 W .

Canadian Solar alone now holds the 6th position. The HJT module of Canadian Solar has an efficiency of 22.5%, employing G12 wafer format and is based on 108 half-cell configuration. Named HiHero, the module is rated at 440 W. In our previous versions Akcome shared the 6th position but we delisted Akcome because of unavailability of product sheets on its website during our research during the first week of December.

JA Solar’s DeepBlue 4.0 takes 7th position, one rank higher than previously. 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 8th 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 N5 TOPCon module of Chint Astronergy continues to reach an efficiency of 22.1%, which now means the 10th 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 12th place in our ranking. The module has a rated power of 685 W.

The remaining 19 products listed are below 22%, of which one is TOPCon, while 2 are based on HJT and the bulk, 16 are PERC modules.

Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ is based on TOPCon technology, which stands at the 13th position. This multi-busbar half-cell 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 15th position. In the meantime, Risen Energy’s 210 mm based 450 W PERC module also shares the 15th rank along with LONGi’s 21.7% efficient 182 mm based 555 W model. And JinkoSolar’s  Tiger Pro is another module with 21.68% efficiency, holding the 17th 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 4 are rated in-between. The PERC products from Astronergy, Canadian Solar, DAS Solar, Eging PV, JinkoSolar, LONGi, TrinaSolar, Jinergy 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  – October 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 December) has undergone a few  changes due to which rankings changed slightly as well. We have included a new high efficiency TOPCon module from Jolywood, replacing a high power module from the company that was listed earlier. The products from Akcome are not listed  because of unavailability of products on the website during time of our research in the first week of December. Another addition is Jinergy, which re-joined our listing with a PERC module that has a slightly higher efficiency of 21.57% than an earlier product.

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 [email protected].

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.

 

About The Author

Shravan Chunduri

HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY At TaiyangNews, he is responsible for drafting the technology reports and articles that are regularly published in TaiyangNews.--Email: [email protected]

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