Downstream players adapt to irregular panel sizes entering all markets

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We don’t often look at the early days of the solar industry with nostalgia, but it was at least a time when there was some consistency in solar panel size. was understood to be used in commercial and utility-scale applications. Larger solar panels have he added two rows of cells, making them longer and more powerful for large projects.

Seraphim’s SEG Solar showcased two different wafer sizes at the 2022 RE+ show. The 675 W panel on the left uses the largest 210 mm wafer size, while the 455 W module on the right uses 182 mm.

The global market is now moving to larger cell sizes, resulting in larger solar panel sizes. If each company used the same size cells, it wouldn’t matter, but the industry is split into two major cell size camps that lead to a final mismatch in module size. A company’s 72-cell panel is different if the cell size differs by 30 mm.

of Two new main wafer sizes Dominating the market are the M10 (182 mm) and G12 (210 mm). LONGi Solar is a major M10 wafer supplier, with JinkoSolar, JA Solar, and Qcells signing the 182 mm camp. Chinese silicon wafer supplier Zhonghuan Semiconductor is backing the larger G12 size, and backers of 210 mm wafers include Trina Solar, REC, and Maxeon.

The industry’s new sizes are impacting how panel companies sell their models, said Chan, corporate vice president of global sales for modules at Canadian Solar, a manufacturer that uses both larger wafer sizes. says Thomas Koerner.

“Our naming convention has moved away from using terms like ’72-cell panel’. We call them Power Class,” he said. “Our customers use power class and size/efficiency when ordering.”

No longer confined to standard sizing, companies still follow certain guidelines. Koerner said. However, it is the customer who ultimately decides which type of solar panel is best for each project.

“We are agnostic to residential and utility scale modules. If residential customers want to use larger format modules, we are technically able to design and manufacture [them] It’s available,” said Koerner. “We define the right size for our customers for optimum power, efficiency and reliability.”

Credit: ITRPV

International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) reports already show that larger M10 and G12 wafers account for more than 50% of the market, and we expect the two largest wafers to be the only size option by 2032.

Although the product name and dimensions are changing, the software makes it easier for installers switching to larger solar panels to design their projects. Aurora Solar’s 3D layout tool can handle modules of any size, and CEO Chris Hopper said the company pulls module dimensions and electrical specs from datasheets throughout the year. The software takes care of the rest.

“Installers have access to global component libraries for both Aurora and HelioScope, with thousands (1,700 and 2,400 respectively) of modules added in the last year alone,” he said. “No need to manually import dozens of parameters. If you don’t have a module in your database, the team will add it.”

Larger modules are taking hold and industry players are making the transition easier for installers.

This story is part of SPW’s 2023 Solar Trends.Read all this year’s trends here.

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