From June 4-6, the 13th SNEC was held in Shanghai. On the exhibition, modules with power output higher than 400W attracted much attention. They actually get so popular that almost each exhibitor has their own 400W+ product. The product rises at the right moment as following the trend towards grid parity, investors hold expectations for higher module power, lower BOS and LCOE cost.
The power output of exhibited modules at SNEC has reached 450W+ or even 500W. The numbers are truly inspiring, but we must have it in mind that there are some distance between lab experiments and mass production. Among the massive excited lab record makers, industry leaders have started to take action to mass produce high-efficiency modules. They try to utilize numbers of sophisticated technologies to improve module performance at the lowest cost.
JA Solar 405W 9BB half-cell module is one of the high-efficiency products that has been put into mass production and soon will be used in global PV projects. Officially, the company says that the technology highlight of the module is that it incorporates mono PERC, larger cell design, 9BB design and half-cell design.
PERC is the most mature high-efficiency cell technology at current stage. The application of PERC cells brings the module extraordinary temperature coefficient, excellent function under weak light and exceptional photoelectric conversion efficiency.
Cell is the most important part of a solar module, and directly influences the performance and efficiency of solar modules. The new module pushes cell size from 156.75×156.75mm to 158.75× 158.75mm, enabling larger light receiving area and lower LCOE. It can also be combined with PERC technology, half-cell, MBB, shingling, bifacial double glass, etc. to achieve higher power output.
MBB design reduces microcrack and broken finger influence, and enables larger light receiving area and less silver paste usage. However, it doesn’t mean the more busbars the better. Experimental data shows that, compared with conventional 5BB cells, 9BB half-cell could increase power output by 4.26%, higher than 12BB half-cell. With the application of 9BB technology, module power output can be raised by 5-10W, and finally lead to the reduction of LCOE.
Half-cell design enables the module to be more adaptable to different environments. JA Solar half-cell module adopts the combination of series circuit and parallel circuit, reducing internal power loss, and making the module have higher conversion efficiency and better temperature coefficient. Compared with conventional modules, half-cell design enables more energy yield when the module is shaded.
Improvement in performance but little change in cost
To promote grid parity, manufacturers try to reduce LCOE, which can be achieved through more energy yield and lower cost.
From the perspective of manufacturing cost, compared with other technologies, it needs lower cost to upgrade current production line to manufacture 9BB half-cell module. The theoretical cost of JA Solar 9BB half-cell module is lower than conventional mono PERC modules.
|Process||The cost of 158.75 compared with 156.75 (%)|
|Wafer cost (Yuan/Watt)||0.40%|
|Cell cost (Yuan/Watt)||-1.20%|
|Module cost (Yuan/Watt)||-1.50%|
|Overall cost (Yuan/Watt)||-1%|
As shown in the above table, while its power output is higher than conventional modules, 9BB half-cell module has its per watt manufacturing cost lower than conventional modules. As the industry hankers for lower cost in the module section, the 9BB half-cell module is sure to have bright prospects.
While the cost in the manufacturing part remains unchanged or even becomes lower, there’s also great improvement in solar plant part. According to data from PVsyst software, based on a project in San Francisco, US, where the yearly operating hour is 1300, it needs 125,500 9BB half-cell modules to build a 50MW solar plant while 133,300 regular modules are needed to build a solar plant of the same scale. And the occupied area, BOS, and installation cost can be reduced by 3.13%, 4.81% and 6.20% respectively.
The outdoor experimental results conducted by JA Solar show that the operating temperature of the half-cell module is about 1-2℃ lower than that of conventional modules in the whole cycle test, and the operating temperature of the former is always lower throughout the day. As irradiance and temperature keep increase, the difference of temperature between the experimented two kinds of modules gets larger, and the advantages of half-cell modules become more obvious. At noon, the temperature of half-cell module is 2.4℃ lower than conventional modules. Lower working temperature enables half-cell modules lower failure rates and longer service life.
Featuring all the advantages, the new product from JA Solar has been put into mass production in the company’s manufacturing bases in Xingtai, Hebei Province and Fengxian, Shanghai. The industry leader again takes the lead in 9BB half-cell module R&D and production to meet global customers’ demand for modules with higher efficiency and promote grid parity.