Efficiency improvements to boost ratings for 60-cell PV modules - Solarbuzz
Aug 18, 2014 - The power rating of industry-standard 60-cell multi c-Si solar modules is seen hitting 275 W in the next 12 months thanks to increased industry efforts to boost cell efficiency, NPD Solarbuzz said today.
In the past months, photovoltaics (PV) makers have managed to bring 60-cell multi c-Si (crystalline silicon) modules to a power rating of 265 W apiece without much process step changes at the cell stage - they simply turned to higher quality multi c-Si wafers. Now, however, technology upgrades are needed to move output further up. Finlay Colville, vice president of NPD Solarbuzz, says that such a move “has the potential to drive solar manufacturing into the first widespread technology buy cycle seen within the industry”.
According to the market intelligence company, upgrading existing PV cell manufacturing lines to rear-side cell processing, known as passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC), can add 10 W to the power rating of 60-cell modules using multi-crystalline silicon. This process is expected to push multi c-Si modules to 275-W ratings, which will translate into lower system costs and higher profit margins for solar panel installers.
For monocrystalline silicon cells, the gain from PERC upgrades could be even greater at up to 15 W, NPD Solarbuzz calculates.
PV modules assembled from c-Si cells are the most widely used technology by PV installers. In the second quarter of this year, such modules accounted for 92% of all module production. The rest was thin-films.