Longi Solar has launched a brand new module series, and introduced a ‘hybrid passivated back contact’ cell technology. The new Hi-MO 6 series will initially run in four different formats primarily targeting rooftop and distributed generation projects, and includes products supplied with integrated module-level power electronics. The series will also be available in a range of colors suited to BIPV applications.
In solar manufacturing, 2022 has largely been defined by manufacturers either switching to heterojunction (HJT) technology, or upgrading their existing PERC capacity to produce tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) cells. By moving to produce back-contact technology, Longi is aiming at even higher efficiency, albeit with a less-established technology that’s still thought to have huge potential.
Datasheets for the new product range promise module efficiencies of up to 22.3%. Additionally, Longi expects to be able to achieve a maximum of 22.8% in manufacturing. And with its new cell technology, the company also expects to gain many of the advantages seen with TOPCon and HJT.
“Modules equipped with HPBC cell technology can generate a greater volume of energy under high-temperature and low-irradiation conditions, and also have superior power degradation performance,” the company stated. Longi added that its simulations show an average yield increase of up to 10% compared to PERC in typical installation scenarios.
With Hi-MO 6, Longi is sticking with the 182mm cell format that it introduced a few years back. The modules will be offered in 54, 60, 66 and 72 cell formats, with power ratings between 410 W and 575 W.
Artist and Guardian
Alongside the new cell technology, Longi is introducing several other module innovations likely to appeal to customers in the rooftop/distributed segment. One module in the series named ‘Guardian’ is to be supplied with built in module-level power electronics, in the form of Longi’s smart optimizer. This allows for flexible system design, real time monitoring and optimization, and rapid shutdown capability – increasingly a requirement in many rooftop markets.
Another module in the series, marketed under the name ‘Artist’ will be available in various colors and highly customizable to suit building-integrated projects. Back-contact technology itself promises improved aesthetics, since the modules can be designed with minimal gaps between cells and no busbars, making for a smoother appearance.
The series is rounded out by two more products, the ‘Explorer’, which will be available with a black backsheet, and ‘Scientist’, which targets the highest possible efficiency.
All of the modules will be supplied with a 15-year product warranty and 25-year performance warranty, which specifies 0.4% annual degradation from year 2 to year 25, leaving the module with 88.9% of its initial performance after 25 years in operation.
Following today’s announcement, Longi expects to have the full Hi-MO 6 range in mass production before the end of 2022.
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I’m eager to learn more technical details about these cells. How much silver per watt for their metallization? The higher silver consumption for heterojunction and TOPCon over PERC has been one of the few downsides of the migration to N-type cells. I’m also curious if these new cells need any indium-bearing transparent conducting oxide, since that’s another potential resource limitation affecting the heterojunction approach.
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