By Fitch Solutions
- Solar module manufacturers continue to make advancements towards the commercial deployment of ultra-high efficiency solar modules, with the latest generation exceeding 600W capacity – an increasingly important benchmark in a highly competitive market.
- We expect the more powerful and highly-efficient modules will reduce costs throughout the solar project value chain, supporting our outlook for significant sector growth over the next decade.
- We also note that manufacturers of other solar power equipment components, such as racking, inverters and trackers, have released products that are compatible with these ultra-high power modules – removing key barriers to widespread adoption within the industry.
Major solar module manufacturers continue to make technological advancements, with several now offering modules that are equal to or exceed a power output of 600 watts (W). In June 2020, we highlighted the solar module manufacturers push towards offering high-efficiency solar modules that are equal to or exceed 500W capacity, with Risen Energy being the first to announce a 500W+ module in late 2019. Over the past year, manufacturers have continued to advance towards the commercial deployment of even larger and more highly-efficient solar modules, with 600W becoming an increasingly common benchmark in a highly competitive market. Among the companies that have announced 600W+ modules, we highlight:
Trina Solar: Trina Solar has announced several 600W+ modules since March 2020. Most recently in March 2021, the company introduced its 670W Vertex module with an efficiency up to 21.6%. As of May 2021, there have been reports that mass production of the 670W module has begun and that production of the module is now on the agenda at the company’s Vietnam-based plant.
Risen Energy: In June 2021, the company unveiled its NewT@N solar pv module which will have an output of up to 700W – one of the first mass produced 700W+ modules in the world. Risen has stated that the module will yield an overall efficiency of 22.5%.
JinkoSolar: In August 2020, the Chinese pv module manufacturer revealed its upcoming 610W Tiger Pro TR solar module which yields an increased conversion efficiency of 22.3%. This is higher than the company’s current suite of 500W+ Tiger Pro modules, including the 585W Tiger Pro 78TR monofacial module that has a 21.4% efficiency.
Canadian Solar: In October 2020, the company revealed two 600W+ modules – the BiHiKu7 bifacial solar module with power up to 655W and the HiKu7 monofacial module. The new models will boast efficiencies of up to 21.4%. As of April 2021, Canadian solar has started mass production for both modules.
JA Solar: In August 2020, the Chinese solar equipment manufacturer released the design for their 800W JumboBlue Module – currently the world’s most power pv module. That said, as of June 2021 there are few details on the timeline for mass production.
Tongwei: Also in August 2020, Tongwei unveiled its upcoming 760-780MW modules, although as of June 2021 there are few updates on the model. The 5 models within the range will have efficiencies between 21.5% and 21.9%.
Other panel manufacturers which have revealed 600W+ modules since mid-2020 include Suntech, HT Solar Group, Jolywood, DZS Solar, Astroenergy, and Goldi Solar. While companies such as Trina Solar and Canadian Solar have started mass production on these modules, most have yet to begin mass production – we anticipate that production will begin to ramp up on these modules throughout the industry over 2021. We expect that the 600W generation of models, as well as further advancements of ultra-high efficiency modules over the coming years, will help the above-mentioned companies either maintain, or gain market share as developers look towards utilizing products which reduce costs and boost output. We previously highlighted Risen Energy and Trina Solar as two companies that were likely to benefit from the early mover advantage as they were the first to send out orders of 500W+ modules in March and May 2020, respectively. We anticipate Trina Solar and Canadian Solar will see additional benefits from being the first to reach mass production of 600W+ modules.
The increased power capacity of these solar panels will help project developers lower system costs throughout the solar project value chain for both commercial and industrial (C&I) and utility-scale projects. We expect that developers who utilise these 600W to 700W+ modules, which boast higher power outputs and maximum efficiencies, will be able to use fewer modules in order to hit their desired capacity targets. This in turn will reduce costs throughout the solar project value chain, as using fewer modules will reduce the amount of racking, tracking and balance of system (BOS) components, labour hours, and in some cases even the land that will be needed for a project. For example, according to a case study by Trina Solar, its 670W Vertex increases total power generation within a string of modules by 34% in comparison to its 540W module. Additionally, using the higher-power module reduces installation costs five to seven percent and transportation costs by up to 12%, creating opportunities to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar projects.
|Solar Project Components||Component or Cost Reduction|
|Number of Modules||24% reduction in number of modules needed for 100MW project|
|Racking||15% reduction in racking|
|Foundation||17% reduction in foundation costs|
|Cable||11% reduction in cable costs|
|Installation Costs||5% to 7% reduction in installation costs|
|Logistic/Shipping Costs||12% reduction per container|
Note: Cost Reductions determined by case study from 100MW solar project in Minnesota, US.
Source: Trina Solar 670W Vertex Module Product Brochure
The decreasing costs for C&I and utility-scale solar projects support our forecast for strong growth within the global solar sector over the coming decade, in which we forecast total solar capacity will increase from 715GW in year-end 2020 to 1,703GW in 2030. We anticipate these modules to become a common choice in markets around the globe over the coming years, as seen with the increasingly widespread use of 500W modules over the past year. We expect substantial cost declines from technology advancements such as improved modules will lead to strong solar capacity growth in countries around the globe, and forecast 45 markets will add at least 1GW of solar capacity additions through 2030. We note the potential for widespread use in markets such as the United States, China, Chile, Brazil, and Spain as these countries have substantial large-scale solar growth prospects with robust solar project pipelines and solar growth targets at either the subnational or national levels.
We also note that manufacturers of other solar power equipment components, such as racking, inverters and trackers, have released products that are compatible with these ultra-high power modules – removing key barriers to widespread adoption within the industry. We note that a key challenge to the widespread adoption of high-power, ultra-high efficiency solar modules has been a lack of compatible solar project components such as inverters and tracker systems for modules with a 210mm wafer size. The 210mm size is increasingly becoming the standard size for many of these new ultra-high efficient modules, including those from SunTech, Risen Energy, Canadian Solar, and Trina Solar – less powerful modules generally range between 166mm to 182mm. We highlight that since early 2021, manufacturers along the entire solar value chain have designed products that will be compatible with this next generation of larger, more efficient modules. These include several inverter product manufacturers such as Huawei, Sungrow, and SMA as well as more than eight leading tracker manufacturers including Array Technologies, Nextracker, Soltec, and TrinaTracker.
This report from Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research is a product of Fitch Solutions Group Ltd, UK Company registration number 08789939 (‘FSG’). FSG is an affiliate of Fitch Ratings Inc. (‘Fitch Ratings’). FSG is solely responsible for the content of this report, without any input from Fitch Ratings.
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