Trina Solar aims for 26% TOPCon solar cell efficiency by 2027


pv magazine: Last year, Trina Solar launched its first n-type TOPCon solar modules based on 210 mm cells. What makes this product different from other TOPCon panels?

Zhang Yingbin: The 210+N series products have outstanding characteristics, including low-temperature coefficient, low photovoltaic attenuation, high bifacial rate, low first-year attenuation, and linear attenuation, and also adheres to the advantages of high-power output, high efficiency, high power generation, and high reliability of the Vertex family, which the module power is 30 W to 70 W higher than n-type competitors on the market.

Efficiency improvement and cost reduction are the eternal themes and unremitting pursuit of the entire PV Industry. Trina Solar led the 600 W-plus alliance which has established a strong industry chain alliance with high power output, high conversion efficiency, high reliability, and low cost of electricity. While the combination of 210 mm wafer and n-type cell tech will be an amplifier for module performance. Compared with 182 mm wafer products, 70 W more power will be generated for each piece of panel, and the efficiency is around 0.2% higher. At the same time, the low voltage design can increase the string power with a same string voltage.

In terms of power generation, according to our more than half year long verification study with TUV and CPVT in areas with different latitudes, the experimental data has proved that the 600 W-plus product based on 210 mm wafer can increase the power generation gain by about 1.6% to 2.1%, which mainly from the better low-irradiation performance of 600 W-plus product. The latest sales data also reflects the growing popularity of 210mm products. To third quarter 2022, nearly 76 GW of 210 mm modules have been shipped worldwide, among which Trina Solar has shipped a cumulative total of 40 GW.

The 210+N series includes different products. For which applications are these panels intended?

Currently, Trina’s main n-type products are the new generation of Vertex N 605 W, Vertex N 695 W, and Vertex S+ 445 W. The Vertex N 605 W module is suitable for utility-scale power plants and some C&I distributed PV, adhering to the advantages of the Vertex family, with high power, high efficiency, high power generation and high reliability, etc. The highest power output reaches 605 W, compared with the competitive n-type modules on the market, the power is increased by up to 30 W, and the module efficiency reaches 22.4%. Based on 210mm rectangular silicon wafer (210R) cell technology, with extreme shape design and low voltage advantage, n-type 605 W module perfectly utilizes the tracking bracket length of 104 meters. Compared with the industry's general n-type 72- and 78-cell modules, it can string 6-12 more modules on each string, without wasting any length. It is the “best partner” of tracking bracket. This can help to reduce the cost of BOS.

Vertex N 695 W module is with significantly higher power, 70 W higher than similar general n-type competitors on the market. The efficiency is also increased to 22.4%, and perfectly suitable for various utility-scale power plants. Ultra-low attenuation for the whole life cycle of power generation escort, optimized bifacial power generation performance to bring higher bifacial income, ultra-low operating temperature coefficient makes power generation more secure, coupled with the innovative low voltage, high power design to achieve higher string power, reduce the cost of electricity to a new lower level.

Vertex S+ is for rooftops and some C&I scenarios, specially designed for European and Asian households based on EU and Asian regulations. With size of less than 1.8 meters, weight of less than 22 kg, this 1.6 mm+1.6 mm double glass module is accessible for individual to move alone.

Does Trina Solar have an efficiency roadmap for the 210+N series?

Trina Solar started the research of n-type solar cell since 2015. We built a pilot line of 500 MW in 2018 with promotion of the PV Top-Runner Program. In 2022, our total 8 GW n-type capacity has a mass production efficiency of around 25%, hopefully the efficiency will climb to 25.5% in 2023 and 26% in 2024 with an average annual increase of 0.4-0.5%.

Does Trina Solar plan to build up capacities for this module series?

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In H2 of 2022, Trina Solar started mass production of new generation 210+N module products, and by the Q1 of 2023, Trina Solar will have a total of over 10 GW of n-type module capacity which is expected to grow to 30 GW by the end of 2023.

Trina Solar has set up a new production facility of 210+N in the Integration PV Industrial Park located in Xining, Qinghai province. The new production base is expected to have annual capacities of 300,000 tons of silicon metal, 150,000 tons of high-purity polysilicon, 35 GW of ingot casting, 10 GW of wafers, 10 GW of solar cells, 10 GW of PV modules and 15GW of supporting module auxiliary materials. We planned to complete all construction and commission all the capacities by the end of 2025. The company is also investing in the construction of 15 GW of solar cell and 15 GW of PV modules per year in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province. We provide full guarantee of the supply of n-type production capacity and optimize the overall layout of the upstream and downstream of the n-type industry chain.

I think the production capacity will increase quickly along with the quick acceptance of 210+N by the market. Besides, vertical integration will eliminate the shortcomings of the p-type era of unexpected bottlenecks.

How will Trina Solar's shift to n-Type technology affect the industry and the market?

The concept of 600W+ has become a global consensus. By the end of 2022, there was total 90 GW module capacity achieved for 210 mm based products, and the penetration grew to 10% and is now heading for a 30% market share. We believe the 210 and 600W+ are collaborating a new ecosystem of the industry value chain.

The concept of 210+N is somehow an extension of 600W+, which will become the trend of the whole solar PV industry. As you know, not only TOPCon, but also HJT and IBC can be based on 210mm product technology platform.

What is your view on future technology development? Will TOPCon compete with heterojunction?

I think the 210+X is the direction. There are more cell technologies rather than n. 210+N solves the ecological problems we faced before including glass, junction box, frame, bracket, and etc., and greatly reduces the duplication investment in the industry.

Those in line with the four high and one low (higher power, higher efficiency, higher power generation, higher reliability, and lower LCOE) will become mainstream.

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