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PV modules

Acciona has created a hub in its El Romero Solar plant (Atacama, Chile) to test new photovoltaic technologies that will improve the efficiency and performance of solar energy facilities.
The hub will focus on the mechanical and energy capacity of double-sided crystalline, split-cell and thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) technologies, all of them in the development phase, with the intention of shaping PV energy’s evolution. The solar modules have been produced by JA Solar and First Solar, and a variety of solar trackers will be used, manufactured by STI Nordland and Soltec.

The innovation center, in which two of the three tracker zones have already been installed, will have a power generation facility with a total capacity of 492 kWp (180 kW rated) consisting of 1,280 modules in three series of trackers connected to nine inverters. These will be assisted by other equipment to measure and monitor parameters such as incident and reflected solar radiation, ambient temperature or the production temperature of each kind of module, among others.

Unlike conventional solar modules, which only have photovoltaic cells on one side, the double-sided modules have cells on both sides of the panel to capture reflected solar radiation and increase output per surface unit occupied.

In split-cell modules each cell is divided into two parts. This reduces energy losses and improves the durability of the panel.

Finally, the thin-film modules are made from semi-conductive materials as alternatives to conventional crystalline silicon –such as cadmium telluride- that reduce both manufacturing costs and their carbon footprint during their working life.

Advanced technologies

Advanced technologies in photovoltaic solar are one of the main strategic approaches that guide Acciona’s innovation activities in the field of clean energies. One of the most innovative projects to date is the hybridization of organic photovoltaic panels in a wind turbine tower to power a turbine in the Breña wind farm (Albacete, Spain).

El Romero Solar is one of the biggest photovoltaic plants owned and operated by Acciona, with a capacity of 246 MWp. Located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, an area with some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, it produces energy equivalent to the consumption of around 240,000 Chilean households. Part of its capacity will be used to supply Google’s data center in the country.

Jinko Solar has been one of only four PV module suppliers to receive a “AA” bankability rating from PV-Tech & Solar Media. Jinko Solar is the only PV module supplier to have AA-Ratings for the past 12 consecutive quarters.

In its first ever quarterly PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings, PV Tech set out to create an independent, comprehensive and transparent ranking system to help investors, banks, project developers and EPCs differentiate between the hundreds of PV module suppliers that sell to commercial, industrial, and utility customers around the world.

Mr. Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar, commented, “We are extremely pleased to be recognized by such a reputable and independent organization as PV Tech. 2019 is already shaping up to be one of the top five warmest years on record. As the need for cleaner alternative energy solutions becomes ever more important, and as our industry continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly difficult for customers to distinguish between supplier claims. While we have always been focused on pushing through technological innovations and producing the highest quality modules in the market, we have also deliberately tried to balance profitability and the long-term sustainability of our business.”

Source: Jinko Solar

LONGi Solar, a subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd, has achieved AA-Rating status, in the first quarterly release of PV-Tech’s new PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings. LONGi Solar is one of only four PV module suppliers that qualifies within the top-performing rating category of AA across the sector.

The PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings system is the solar industry’s first qualified tool that allows investors to understand and benchmark PV module suppliers; the analysis tracks a wide range of manufacturing and financial performance metrics, combining these to generate an overall bankability score between 0 and 10. Companies are then graded across nine risk categories from AAA-Rated (most bankable) to C-Rated (high risk).

The ratings system evaluates the investment risk (or financiability) rating for all PV module manufacturers, which combined with manufacturing capacity and financial health scores. At present, no company has been rated AAA and the Top 4 companies are all rated AA.PV-Tech and the PV ModuleTech event brand are recognized as the most credible, independent third-party research bodies covering the solar photovoltaic (PV) segment; specifically related to solar PV module suppliers.

“LONGi has always insisted on technological innovation and continuously increased R&D investment in the past years” said by Zhong Baoshen, Chairman of LONGi: “We always pay attention to the sustainable development of LONGi and maintain the financial stability and healthy. In the future, LONGi will continue to devote itself to providing customers with more reliable products and services.”

According to head of research at PV-Tech, Dr. Finlay Colville: “LONGi Solar has moved rapidly from being a CCC-Rated supplier in 2014 to one of the most bankable module suppliers featuring in the top-performing AA-rated category today. The company is on a trajectory to reach AAA-Rated status within the next 12 months, reflecting strong financial and manufacturing operations.”

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Trina Solar has received a top rating in the latest annual PV module and solar inverter bankability report issued by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). With this report, Trina Solar is now the only module manufacturer to be rated as fully bankable for four consecutive years by 100% of the experts participating in the BNEF survey.

The BNEF report has been a valuable reference for business credit at numerous financial institutions. According to the report, corporate financial health, track record of its modules in the field, and manufacturer warranties are important metrics for financial institutions in their evaluation of PV manufacturers’ bankability. Banks are comfortable providing non-recourse loans to solar projects that use PV modules from a bankable manufacturer.

For its survey, BNEF reached out to banks, funds, EPCs, independent power providers (IPPs), and technical advisors worldwide. It also engaged in in-depth interviews with quality inspectors and technology experts. These experts represent an installed PV capacity of 29GW globally.

Trina Solar Executive Vice President Yin Rongfang said, “We are very proud of the great result Trina Solar has achieved once again in this renowned industry report. The report confirms our solid financial condition, proven product quality and good corporate reputation, as well as recognizes our ongoing commitment to long-term sustainability. Trina Solar is committed to creating long-term and robust return on investment for our global customers with higher-value PV modules and integrated solutions.

The latest BNEF report also quotes the annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard, published this year by PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), where Trina Solar has been named a “Top Performer” for its outstanding module reliability and power generation performance among global module manufacturers for the fifth time in a row. The scorecard provides the most comprehensive comparison of publicly-available PV module reliability test results.

Source: Trina Solar

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LONGi Solar, a subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd, has recorded its highest-ever bankability rating in the recently released Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Solar Module & Inverter Bankability 2019.

BNEF surveyed banks, funds, developers, EPCs and technical due diligence firms which brands out of 48 modules manufacturers they considered bankable (i.e. can be used in solar projects with non-recourse debt). In the 2019 results, LONGi rose significantly to 91%, its highest ever, a clear indication of LONGi’s maturity as an established brand in the industry.

LONGi also received a “star” indicating it is a “Top Performer” PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) 2019 PV Module Reliability Scorecard. LONGi modules earned “Top Performer” among all 4 PVEL’s test categories of damp heat, thermal cycling, mechanical load and potential induced degradation (PID) tests.

BNEF also named the “Top 15 PV Module brands used in term loan financed projects” since July 1,2017. The leading 3 brands supplied almost 5GW of term financed deals. LONGI is the second most used brand with 1,447 MW deals financed.

LONGi has also ranked as the most creditworthy module manufacturer. BNEF uses the Altman-Z score – a combination of financial ratios – to access the creditworthiness of manufacturers. It is an indicator of the risk of a company filing for bankruptcy in the next 2 years. LONGi was accessed at a score of 3.1 which indicates strong financial health and bankruptcy to be highly unlikely. LONGi’s Altman-Z score is the highest among pure play module manufactures.

In addition to LONGi’s bankability and reliability, the firm is also operating at scale as one of the largest solar manufacturers both in terms of existing and planned production capacity. According to PV Tech’s on-going analysis of global capacity expansion announcements, LONGi Solar’s total nameplate module assembly capacity should exceed 13GW in 2019, becomes world’s largest module manufacturer with latest expansion.

Source: LONGi Solar

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Trina Solar has recently been recognized as the “Top Performer” among global PV module manufacturers by PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) and DNV GL. The company is one of only two PV module manufacturers with worldwide reach to garner the prestigious recognition for the fifth consecutive time since the Top Performer award was founded.

The recognition of “Top Performer” is based on the PV Module Reliability Scorecard released by PVEL and DNV GL. The Scorecard is one of the most comprehensive comparisons of PV module reliability test results publicly available on the market today. As an integrated certification program with a focus on module reliability and power generation performance, the test comprises 2-4x IEC thermal cycling, damp heat, dynamic mechanical load, humidity-freeze and PID attenuation tests.

Trina Solar quality director Zhao Mengyu said, “It is encouraging to see that Trina Solar has been recognized as a Top Performer for the fifth time in a row. Rigorous raw materials control and production line management processes ensure the high reliability of our modules. Trina Solar is committed to providing customers with higher-reliability and higher-value PV modules.

Trina Solar carries out several rounds of comprehensive ongoing reliability tests (ORTs) during the materials introduction process. Trina Solar evaluates both materials and modules during its ORT process with more frequent ORTs for key components, such as packaging materials and PV back sheet, with the aim of ensuring comprehensive and strict control over the materials and products in mass production.

In terms of the production line manufacturing process, Trina Solar carries out a process quality control across the value chain. Nearly 100 control points are deployed for the entire silicon wafer and cell production processes, while over 100 control points are configured for the overall module production process.

Source: Trina Solar

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For the 3rd consecutive year, LONGi Solar, a world leading mono-crystalline PV module manufacturer, has been named “Top Performer” in the annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard published by PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) and DNV-GL. This ranking summarizes the results of independent testing conducted as part of PVEL’s Product Qualification Program (PQP) and identifies the PV module models that achieved top performance

The PQP is a unique protocol of tests that generate empirical performance and reliability data, contributing to critical technical due diligence, energy forecasts and financial models utilized by solar investors and project developers. Manufacturers voluntarily participate in the PQP, but only “Top Performers” are eligible for listing in the Scorecard. Manufacturers choose to be recognized in the Scorecard in order to demonstrate the quality of their products to the market.

Testing for reliability and performance

According to PVEL, while IEC and UL certifications are important indicators of module safety, long-term reliability and performance are also important to PV buyers. By extending IEC 61215 sequences and incorporating additional tests, the Scorecard approximates the impact that decades of exposure in the field has on PV modules.

The Scorecard employs four demanding test sequences that stimulate PV modules long-term performance in real world conditions. It is today the most complete publicly available comparison of PV module reliability test results.

LONGi was named “Top Performer” in all four test categories:

  • Thermal cycling.
  • Damp heat.
  • Dynamic mechanical load sequence.
  • Potential induced degradation (PID).

LONGi hallmarks: technology innovations and product quality

DNV-GL PV Module Reliability Scorecard “Top Performer” status is validation of the reliability of LONGi high efficiency PV modules and demonstrates the company’s R&D technology leadership and quality-first approach to manufacturing.

Source: LONGi Solar

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Trina Solar, a world leading global PV and smart energy total solution provider, recently announced that it has begun mass production of N-type i-TOPCon double-glass bifacial modules. The best front side power output of a module with 144 half-cut i-TOPCon cells reaches 425 Wp, and the best module efficiency reaches 20.7%.

The new i-TOPCon double glass PV modules integrate these N-type bifacial i-TOPCon cells with over 80% bifaciality, multi-busbar (MBB) design, full square monocrystalline cells, dual-side and half-cut technologies. The highly efficient modules feature a lower temperature coefficient and low light induced degradation (LID), greatly improving the actual power output. They also provide an extra 5% to 30% power generation from their back side, and feature a 30-year linear power warranty.

The world record efficiency of 25.8% on small-area, single side TOPCon cells developed by Fraunhofer ISE has driven research and development of passivated contact solar cells by institutes and industry. In 2015, the State Key Laboratory of Photovoltaic Science and Technology (SKL PVST) of Trina Solar started the research on a large-area bifacial TOPCon cell that is aimed for industrial mass production, naming it i-TOPCon cell. In 2019, Trina Solar achieved a front side median efficiency over 23% on i-TOPCon cells.

The i-TOPCon cell has a front boron emitter and a rear full-area passivating contact. After its development by the SKL PVST, it was transferred into full-scale mass production in a workshop at Trina Solar’s Changzhou factory. In May 2019, Trina Solar announced that its SKL PVST has set a new world record of 24.58% for such n-type mono-crystalline silicon (c-Si) i-TOPCon solar cells. This result was independently confirmed by the ISFH CalTeC in Germany with a full-area measurement (244 cm2) including busbars.

Source: Trina Solar

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JinkoSolar has announced that the maximum conversion efficiency of its Cheetah size cells and N-type cells reached 24.38% and 24.58%, respectively, during testing conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in March 2019, China’s authoritative national academy for the natural sciences.

Additionally, power generated by JinkoSolar’s 72 version high efficiency monocrystalline module (cell: 158.75*158.75) reached 469.3 W during testing conducted by TÜV Rheinland in May 2019. JinkoSolar has made significant breakthroughs in the field of high efficiency and high power of cells and modules, setting a new industry standard for peak performance.

JinkoSolar’s production chain, including R&D teams from silicon wafers, solar cells and solar modules, all made significant technological breakthroughs which were key to the extremely high solar cell efficiency and module power output. Several advanced technologies have been implemented, including: silicon wafer growth with extremely low oxygen and defect concentration, HOT solar cell technology, low-loss cell connection technology, and in-module light harvesting technology.

With our commitment to revolutionize the industry using technological innovation, JinkoSolar has been continuously breaking world records for the efficiency of solar cells and modules.” commented Dr. Hao Jin, JinkoSolar R&D Vice President, “To complement our efforts in continuously upgrading product technology and create more value for our global customers, JinkoSolar has established a joint research platform with many advanced R&D institutions across the globe.

Source: JinkoSolar

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Highlighting its growing strength in the industry, LONGi has released a new series of PV modules that set an industry benchmark – the new generation Hi-MO4 and REAL BLACK high efficiency modules.

Hi-MO4 has all the advantages of the previous series of Hi-MO modules, but enhanced with a new generation of advanced monocrystalline PERC cell and the encapsulation technology of half-cell and bifacial construction. With Hi-MO4, the industry now has with a new higher power and more reliable choice in PV module.

Compared to the Hi-MO3 half-cell bifacial module released in 2018, Hi-MO4 retains Hi-MO3 characteristics of excellent bifacial power generation, achieving 8-20% gain in back power generation in various ground-surface environments, matched with high reliability and low attenuation. Highlights of HI-MO4 are:

1. Greatly improved module power
Hi-MO4 deploys upgraded PERC technology based on 6 busbars, with cell efficiency reaching 22.5%. While the front-side power Hi-MO3 is 380 W (72 cells), Hi-MO4 increases this to more than 420W, topping up to 430 W.
2. Lower LCOE
When compared to Hi-MO3, BOS cost – when Hi-MO4 is deployed – can be reduced by approximately 7%, and LCOE by 1.4%. Combined with tracking systems, LCOE can be further reduced.

With its advanced product technology, LONGi has ranked first in global monocrystalline cell and module shipment for four consecutive years. Total shipment of bifacial modules reached 1.5 GW.

Released together with Hi-MO4 is an all new, all-black series module – REAL BLACK. Designed with the advantages of “good looks, high power and high reliability”, REAL BLACK will be available for rooftop PV applications. With its all-black appearance and consistent color, REAL BLACK can be perfectly matched with the roof and local ecology, maximizing aesthetics and high power.

Introducing the new products, Li Zhenguo, President of LONGi, said, “Producing cost effective and high-quality products efficiently is the technological innovation of LONGi. We expect the release of Hi-MO4 will play an important role in reducing the cost of electricity and promoting grid parity. REAL BLACK will bring a new aesthetics and high power to rooftop PV users. LONGi will continue to invest in R&D to develop reliable high efficiency products and helping the PV industry upgrade its technology.

The release of the new generation Hi-MO4 and REAL BLACK will lead a new trend of module technology development and support the realization of grid parity.

Source: LONGi

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