ADVANCED AND LOW COST: THE CURIOUS CASE OF HALF-CELL MODULES
20 Nov 2017
Both technically advanced and low cost seems like a dichotomous notion that rarely coexists in a singular form. However, things are about to change in solar as one of major technical advancements, half-cell modules, hits the market. Many Tier 1 manufacturers have already been heavily focused on developing half-cut designs. Industry experts expect that half-cut cells will continue to gain market share over the next 10 years.
Take JinkoSolar as an example. Half-cell has been a technology that the company has been very excited about as the company finds that the performance gains by cutting the cells in half are well worth the extra manufacturing requirements. Compared to its conventional full-cell product, at JinkoSolar, half-cell products has a roughly 5-10 W output advantage based on different modules. The gains from half-cell technology are the most significant when applied to standard monocrystalline products.
Given the performance and economical strengths of half-cell products on monocrsytalline products, the conversation today when picking high performance modules is no longer about whether to pick monocrsytalline or polycrystalline module, but about figuring out what dollar per kW/h to opt for. Traditionally, you have the flagship Monocrsytalline PERC, which has extremely high output figures with a very substantial price-tag. Thus, if your project is not extremely space constraint, then the monocrystalline half-cell product may fit your high output needs without costing you an arm and a leg.
Taking a deeper dive, the range topping PERC products current has an output of over 305-310W. Guess what? So does the ranging toping half-cell products. JinkoSolar’s half-cell mono series puts out a respectable 300W and can reach peak as high as 310 W. Yet, the half-cell products are significantly cheaper than PERC modules. Half-cell mono module can achieve far more generation at a far less marginal cost. Beyond price, half-cell modules also have much better shade tolerance than that of full-sized modules, so if you’re doing a residential project where there may be a lot of shade, you might even getter better output from half-cell modules than PERC modules.
So, if you thinking about installing a conventional mono PERC module, it might be time to give take a look at half-cell mono. Put both products through a comprehensive set of benchmarks to find out which is best – take a deep dive into output, degradation, prices and LCOE too. While some Mono PERC users will continue to use Mono PERC if they face heavy space constraints, I see Mono half-cell launching a very strong campaign against to unseat Mono PERC as the high-efficiency module of choice.
However don’t worry too much, as JinkoSolar has been raising the bar when it comes to monocrystalline module. Both of JinkoSolar’s Mono PERC and Mono half-cell have been a hit. So if quality panels with a great price-performance ratio are what you seek, you won’t go wrong with either of JinkoSolar’s modules.