Product count of Top Solar Modules in July increased from 25 to 26
Akcome enters list on 4th rank with high-power 700 W HJT module with 22.5% efficiency
Risen 450 W Titan series PERC module with 21.7% efficiency has slightly higher efficiency than previously listed product
In our latest monthly ranking of commercially available solar panels 26 products are listed from most of the global leading module suppliers; that’s one module more compared to previous month, and it also shows few changes in the ranking. The data for the survey was collected end of July 2022.
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. The latest event on Solar Module Innovations 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.
Before going into the 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. 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. 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 July 2022), a total of 26 products from 23 companies have made it to the current list; that means one more company as well as one more product over our last edition. This July edition also features one updated product.
The top efficiency rank is still earned by a 22.8% efficient back-contact module from Maxeon. The top model of the Singapore-headquartered SunPower spin-off is now its Maxeon 6 series that is based on larger wafer size. While the company has not specified the size, the core remains the same – SunPower/Maxeon’s proprietary IBC technology.
The second position is taken by the same companies as last month – Huasun and Jolywood share 2nd place. 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 list of the most powerful products. Interestingly, their cell technology is different – while Huasun’s product is based on HJT, Jolywood relies on TOPCon technology.
On 4th position, unlike last time, Canadian Solar is now sharing the rank with Akcome, which has entered our list for the first time. 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.
As a result of Akcome’s new entry, the following modules listed have moved one rank down. SPIC’s IBC module based on Germany’s solar research institute ISC Konstanz’s Zebra technology, which has a rated power of 440 W and 22.3% efficiency, has moved from the 5th to the 6th spot. Again, it shares that rank with REC and Qcells. REC’s Alpha Pure-R series HJT product has 22.3% efficiency and 430 W module power, while Qcells Q.TRON module series based on n-type technology comes with the same efficiency of 22.3% but a lower power rating of 400 W. The Korean company has not explicitly mentioned the cell technology on its technical spec, but it very likely seems to be based on TOPCon technology. Qcells’ module features zero gap technology. JinkoSolar is now at 9th position with its TOPCon 144 half-cell module with an efficiency of 22.26% and 575 W power. The Astro 5 TOPCon module of Chint Astronergy reaches an efficiency of 22.1%, which now translates into rank 10 on the list. Astronergy is employing 144 of M10 half cells to realize an output power of 570 W.
The remaining 16 products listed are below 22%, of which only two are HJT based and the rest are PERC followers. Like last month, 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 beyond 21.5% the cell technology is key. As shown in the graph, PERC in general is no longer be 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 12th position, ahead of Jinergy’s HJT product. But as of this month als Risen’s new PERC module reaches 21.7% efficiency, elevating it to rank 12 as well.
Of the remaining 13 listed products, all of which are based on PERC, 5 reach 21.6%, 4 come with 21.5%, and 3 are rated in-between. PERC products from Astronergy, Qcells and Jinergy are also listed on top of their high-efficiency modules as these different technology panels of the companies still meet our criteria of at least 21.5% efficiency (see: Top Solar Modules Listing – June 2022).
Our latest monthly high-efficiency module ranking featuring the summary of our research in July has undergone few changes. We added Akcome, which has started offering its HJT modules series called Hi-Chaser with 22.5% efficiency. The 700 W product is based on G12 cell format. At the module level the company uses the typical half cell technology interconnected with MBB layout. A large module with 700 W for large scale applications, it also comes as a bifacial module to benefit from HJT’s leading bifaciality. Another new product in this edition is from Risen Energy, which introduced a new module member of its Titan series with an efficiency of 21.7%, that’s 0.1% higher than the previously listed product. This model (RSM130-8-450M) is using rather untypical 130 PERC cells cut into 1/3rd from the 210 mm x 210 mm G12 format adding up to a power rating of 450 W; the earlier listed product was a 670 W module with 132 half cells.