EDF signs for millions of modules from Canadian Solar

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From pv magazine USA.

At the beginning of the year, pv magazine revealed a tsunami of projects were applying for interconnection with grid operators across the United States – one of many signs 2019 was going to be a big year for large scale solar in the U.S.

Increased solar development activity inevitably means tight conditions for the supply of components so it makes sense to lock in as much as possible at the lowest prices.

As such, Canadian Solar’s announcement it has signed a deal to deliver a whopping 1.8 GW of high-efficiency and bifacial modules to EDF Renewables for projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico is another indication of the project boom under way.

The Guelph, Ontario-based PV manufacturer noted the contract is the largest supply deal in its history and, given the wattage ratings of the products involved, it will comprise more than 4 million modules, making it the second-largest module deal in North America seen by pv magazine, following JinkoSolar’s 2.5 GW agreement with NextEra.

Canadian Solar described the deal as an “anchor” for more than 3 GW of contracts related to North America through 2023 – the last year in which to complete projects safe harbored under the United States’ 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

Multi comeback

This deal comes at a time when monocrystalline solar is threatening to monopolize the market. That shift was under way for years but has been accelerated by the massive volumes of mono wafers Longi is producing in new ingot and wafer factories across China.

The rise in availability and fall in cost of mono is inevitably a motivation for LONGi’s multicrystalline rivals, with GCL Poly unveiling “mono-like” products at Intersolar Europe – essentially mono wafers made in DSS (directional solidification system) furnaces that have conventionally-manufactured multicrystalline silicon wafers.

Canadian Solar’s HiKu module. Image: Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar is bucking this trend, as all of the products it is providing to EDF are based on multicrystalline technology. However, it is not just any multi tech, but high-efficiency designs.

The modules will be a mix of Canadian’s HiKu (CS3W-P – data sheet) modules, which feature passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) and half-cut cells, achieving efficiencies up to 18.8% and 415 watt ratings, and its BiHiKu (CS3W-PB) – a new module series which features black silicon, PERC and bifacial technologies – as well as a shingled cell design – in one product.

Canadian Solar announced BiHiKu at Solar Power International last year but we haven’t seen datasheets yet, nor do we have any idea what the mix is of standard and bifacial products that will be delivered to EDF.

However, this could be another indication bifacial is taking the market by storm.