Trends in panels have a tendency of catching on rapidly. Passivated emitter rear cells (PERC) technology, which was a blip on the market in 2014, was anticipated by IHS Markit to become ubiquitous by 2020, and this forecast was validated by anybody looking at panel models introduced this year. PERC isn’t going anywhere.
Half-cell designs are the next technology to enter the mainstream. According to the ninth edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV), half cells’ market share will increase from 5% in 2018 to roughly 40% in 2028.
The half-cut or dual cell solar PV panel is an enhanced variant of the traditional solar panel. The solar cells in these panels are sliced in half, transforming typical 60 and 72 solar cell panels into 120 and 142 solar cell panels while maintaining the same shape and dimensions. It increases the system’s performance, lifespan, and shade tolerance by dividing the internal current. Due to the fact that power loss is proportional to current, half-cut solar panels minimize power loss by a factor of four, resulting in a fourfold gain in power production. When the current of solar cells is half, resistive losses are reduced, and the cells may generate a bit more electricity. Because smaller cells are subjected to less mechanical pressures, cracking is less likely. Traditional panels have lower output ratings and are less dependable than half-cell panels.
“The notion of’more’ is at the forefront when contemplating a solar installation—produce more energy, save (or make) more money, and do more good for the environment,” said Cemil Seber, REC’s VP of worldwide marketing and product management. “Using solar panels with half-cut cell technology may assist in cases when there is a limited amount of space available on roofs.”
REC was a pioneer in the half-cell design, presenting it in 2014. The TwinPeak half-cell module series from the manufacturer essentially converts one panel into two twin panels. Because the cells are smaller, the inter-cell space does not need to be as large, allowing them to be closer together. This enables REC to divide the panel into two halves. The shading response is better when the top and bottom module portions are independent. The upper half of a module will continue work if the lower half is darkened.
With half-cell designs in polycrystalline modules, REC has pushed the envelope. Half-cell PERC polycrystalline modules from REC have attained 300 W and can compete with full-cell monocrystalline modules in terms of efficiency. The benefits of half-cells have impressed the corporation so much that it is converting all of its production lines to the new technology.
“REC has been converting its manufacturing lines to half-cut cell technology on a continual basis since 2014,” Seber stated. “All but one of our Singapore module manufacturing lines are now equipped with half-cut cell technology.”
REC debuted its new N-Peak series of modules during the 2018 tradeshow season, the company’s first attempt at monocrystalline half-cells for even better efficiency and output—up to 330 W in a typical 60-cell footprint.
In the monocrystalline class, some manufacturers have begun to provide half-cell designs. With its 120-cell half-cut monocrystalline PERC module, LONGi Solar recently topped 360 W in testing. Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.PEAK DUO-G5 solar module, a 120-half-cell, six-busbar monocrystalline module, won the Intersolar Award 2018 Photovoltaics category. To prevent shadowing on the cells, the Hanwha module employs round wires instead of flat ribbons for busbars. Hanwha also offers half-cut designs in polycrystalline for the 72-cell market. Its Q. PLUS DUO L-G5.2 polycrystalline half-cell module has a 370 W maximum output.
Because half-cell designs are now the biggest trend, a manufacturer just has to alter a few items on its lines to stay current. The cell cutting and stringing processes are the two most difficult aspects of moving from full-cell to half-cell manufacture. The cell itself is relatively fragile since half-cells are generally PERC cells to begin with. It’s a delicate technique to laser-cut the cell along the center without it shattering. Four or more busbars are often used in half-cells. The use of precision technology is required to string these extremely fine connecting strips over a smaller area. On half-cell modules, the junction boxes are also different. Most manufacturers use several, smaller junction boxes, allowing each module half to work independently. Aside from that, half-cell module assembly is the same as full-cell manufacturing.
Because half-cell modules generate more power and are more efficient and dependable than full-cell modules, their adoption may save the installer time and money.
All things considered
The goal of continual solar technology innovation is to provide a solution that will help create more energy, save more money, and achieve greater sustainability. As with Twin cell solar panels, this technique favors places with limited area since just a few panels are needed to provide the same quantity of electricity. It allows for faster installation and requires fewer components, lowering the total cost of the system significantly.
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