Update on Commercially Available High-Efficiency Solar Modules Sees More Products Above 22% – EQ Mag Pro
As count of Top Solar Modules in September increased from 27 to 31, mostly TOPCon, DAS Solar newly entered with HJT and TOPCon based products
JinkoSolar jumps to 2nd place having improved efficiency to 22.65% for its TOPCon module; it also added highest efficient PERC module
First n-type panels included from Trina Solar and JA Solar
In our latest global monthly ranking of the most efficient commercially available solar panels 31 products are listed, that’s 4 products more than previous month and a dramatic increase when compared to when we started at the beginning of the year. In particular, we see an increase in high efficiency and TOPCon modules in this month’s edition. The data for the survey was collected end of September 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 event took place in Nov. 2021. 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 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 end of September 2022), a total of 31 products from 24 companies have made it to the current list; that means 1 more company and 4 new products have entered our latest list compared to the previous month. Moreover, we have observed updates for one listed product. By adding new products and an improved model from JinkoSolar, rankings have changed compared to the previous TOP MODULES edition.
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 major change is for the 2nd position, which Jinko Solar now holds alone with its Tiger Neo TOPCon module, after the company updated its product information last month and jumped up from 9th place. Jinko’s JKM575N-72HL4-V is now offered with 10 W higher power rating and 0.39% points higher efficiency; while the model name remains the same, the module now comes with a top power rating of 585 W with an efficiency of 22.65%. In consequence, the following companies listed up to rank 6 in the previous edition, now dropped one place. The third position is now taken by Huasun and Jolywood. 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 designation for the most powerful products on the list. Interestingly, their cell technology is different – while Huasun’s product is based on HJT, Jolywood relies on TOPCon technology.
Canadian Solar and Akcome now share the 5th position. 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.
The 7th position is taken by JA Solar’s newly added DeepBlue 4.0 product. 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 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. The Astro 5 TOPCon module of Chint Astronergy continues to reach an efficiency of 22.1%, which now means the 11th 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 216 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 13th place in our ranking. The module has a rated power of 685 W.
The remaining 18 products listed are below 22%, of which one is TOPCon, while 2 are based on HJT and the bulk, 15 are PERC modules.
Trina Solar’s Vertex S+ is a new entry to the list which stands at 14th position. This multi busbar halfcell n-type module has an output power of 425 W and an efficiency of 21.9%. JinkoSolar’s Tiger Pro is another new PERC module with 144 cell configuration having an efficiency of 21.87%. It’s the first time, JinkoSolar has 2 products in our list. 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 beyond 21.5% 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 17th position, ahead of Jinergy’s HJT product. Risen Energy’s 210 mm based 450 W PERC module also shares the 17th rank along with LONGi’s 21.7% efficient 182 mm based 555 W model. 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. At least, JinkoSolar’s new 21.87% ‘PERC’ product’s module efficiency seems exceptionally high.
Of the remaining 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 3 are rated in-between. The PERC products from Astronergy, Canadian Solar, DAS Solar, Eging PV, JinkoSolar, Qcells, TrinaSolar are also listed in addition to their high-efficiency products as these panels still meet our criteria of at least 21.5% efficiency