Longi claims new record for bifacial half-cut module as production equipment orders pour in

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Chinese solar manufacturer Longi has announced its 72-cell bifacial half-cut solar module has set a new record with an energy output of more than 450 W. The company said the result was confirmed and certified by German testing and certification organization TÜV-SÜD.

“[The] Longi monocrystalline half cell module combines monocrystalline PERC [passivated emitter rear contact] cell technology and bifacial half cell module construction to effectively reduce package loss and increase average output by 5 to 10 watts,” said the company’s vice president, Lv Jun. “Half cell [technology] has obvious advantages in power generation under weak light and shadow conditions, and excellent heat spot resistance.”

The company added, its 60-cell bifacial version reached a record output of 360 W in April 2018.

In December 2017, Longi announced an 82.15% bifaciality record for the cell used in its bifacial modules. Bifaciality is commonly defined as the ratio of output measured from the rearside of a cell over the output measured from the front side. According to Longi, the level for standard bifacial PERC products is around 75%. “If the back side power yield increases the overall module efficiency by 10%, the power of [a] bifacial PERC module can reach 330 watts for [a] 60-cell module – [with] 300 watts from the front side – and 396 watts for [a] 72-cell module, [with] 360 watts from the front side,” Longi said at the time.

Previous landmarks

Three months earlier, Longi had announced 22.71% efficiency from its monocrystalline PERC solar cells.

The Xi’an-based company – one of the manufacturers subject to a patent infringement lawsuit lodged by Korean rival Hanwha Q Cells – last week announced aggressive plans to expand its ingot and wafer production capacity.

Longi launched its 2018 annual results by outlining plans to add 8 GW of production facilities to take it to 36 GW of annual capacity this year. The company intends to further expand to 50 GW next year and 65 GW in 2021.

That prompted speculation of a windfall for ingot manufacturing equipment supplier Dalian Linton NC Machine Co Ltd, not least because the Chinese sales partner of the New York state-based Linton Crystal Technologies had announced plans to bring its activities under one roof in a new base in Dalian, in the Liaoning province of China.

Those rumors were confirmed by the equipment supplier yesterday, which revealed the extent of a $200 million order received from Longi for 1,041 Czochralski (CZ) process silicon crystal growers, 144 wire saws and “more than” 30 grinders, to be delivered within a year.

Equipment contracts

And Rochester-based Linton was not the only equipment manufacturer celebrating as the effects of the expand-at-all-costs strategy being pursued by the big beasts of solar were felt around the world.

Netherlands-based Eurotron, which supplies equipment for the manufacturing of back contact solar modules, on Saturday announced it had received an order for the Wuxi manufacturing facility of Chinese cell and module maker Sunport Power.

Although few details of the order were revealed in a statement issued by Eurotron, part of the Dutch Eurogroep, the website of the Nanjing client describes an annual production capacity of 1.4 GW across sites in its home city, Xuzhou and Wuxi. With Eurotron announcing the order would raise Sunport’s output to 2 GW per year, it appears the Dutch firm could supply equipment for a 600 MW expansion in production capacity.