Despite much of the world being on lockdown for a big chunk of 2020, there are few who could say it has been an uneventful year. And while the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will be what defines 2020 for many, in the solar industry there’s plenty more to shout about, from the rapid rollout of high-powered modules to a drastic increase in carbon-neutral pledges from companies and governments around the world. Across five installments, pv magazine takes a look back at the year in solar. First up were the U.S. election and carbon neutral pledges, followed by auctions and green bonds. For day three, you can read about big modules and renewable grid support.
Throughout this year, a fast-moving story has played out in PV module technology, with the introduction of larger wafers and subsequently larger module formats seeing the industry break into two camps, backing either 182 mm or 210 mm wafers. It remains to be seen whether one or the other will become a new industry standard, and both sizes will likely be plentiful on the market for the next few years at least. pv magazine takes a look at how we got to this point.
Looking to answer one of the year’s big questions concerning solar technology, energy consultancy DNV GL was invited by Trina Solar to compare the performance of its modules based on the 210mm wafer with the 166mm and 182mm dimensions also introduced recently. The analysis revealed an advantage for modules incorporating the largest wafer, based on simulation of bifacial systems at two locations in Spain and the United States.
It is now a well-established trend. After the switch to larger wafer sizes played out in 2019, this year has seen virtually all of the biggest PV manufacturers introduce new modules in dimensions above the 2-meter mark, and with power ratings in excess of 500 W – in some cases, as high as 800 W. As these modules begin to roll off production lines in larger quantities, it’s vital to take a look at the challenges and opportunities they bring to system design, installation, and long-term operation.
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