What are the recent trends in Smart Solar Module Technology

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Mr. Sai Charan Kuppili, Technical Director, South Asia, Jinko Solar

Solar PV Modules across the Globe has experienced an immediate shift to Mono PERC from Poly Technologies. The shift of Technology is clearly visible in India for all 2020 deliveries.

Jinko always leads PV Industry on Technology fronts. It has platter full of different High efficiency PV Products to cater different market needs across the Globe. Specific to India, we could notice the inclination is more towards P-Type Mono PERC with majority market share with Mono facial modules.

Mono facial Solar PV modules reached the power class of 470 Wp with Jinko’s Tiger Series, which is the maximum power available in the market as a mainstream product with 20.93% Module efficiency. 9 Bus-bar and tiling ribbon technology paved a path in achieving the maximum power even at a lower wafer size of 163.75mm.

Also JinkoSolar could observe more acceptability on Swan Bifacial modules with Tedlar based Transparent back sheet and preferred to widely use bifacial technologies for all textures of land which has got low soil moisture (barren lands). 

Rooftop & Distributed generation markets of other regions has major acceptance on Smart Modules which comes with integrated optimizers to increase the number of modules per string.

N Type products have advantage with degradation factors but has a challenge with limited manufacturing capacity across the Globe.

Mr. Max Ma,Product Director, Zhejiang Trunsun Solar Co. Ltd.

Smart modules are solar modules that have power optimizer embedded into the solar module at the time of manufacturing.

1) Module level: Assembled with the AC optimizer and its easy for installations for Rooftop projects;

2) Cell level: The power optimizer is embedded in the junction box of the solar module with a purpose to maximize the power generation;

Smart modules are different from traditional solar panels because the power electronics embedded in the module offers enhanced functionality such as panel-level maximum power point tracking, monitoring as well as offers enhanced safety.

Recent trend: 

  1. Monitoring
  2. Shut-down
  3. Minimize the energy cost of the smart module itself;

Smart modules are different from traditional solar panels because the power electronics embedded in the module offers enhanced functionality such as panel-level maximum power point tracking, monitoring and enhanced safety.

  1. Module-level Smart modules are easy to be installed on the rooftop, will save about 30% cost of the labour;
  2. Module-level Smart module project do not need inverter again and will save the cost;
  3. Cell-level smart modules are optimized in the strings of the cells and have the optimization on the cell level, maximum the power output.10%-25% more output;
  4. Cell-level smart modules could reduce the risk of the hi-spot and also the loss of the hi-spot;
  5. Save the land cost

Highlight challenges towards implementation of smart solar modules at the ground level:

  1. Cost;
  2. Lifetime;
  3. Electromagnetic interference(EMI)

Future industry outlook for smart solar module manufacturing in India and Asia:

Future lies in developing the smart module which could have the low cost of production with an in-built shut down and the monitoring function. Cost reduction of AC smart module is of the top most priority to be effective in large scale deployment

Mr. Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies

Rooftops have many specific challenges like limited space, local shading to name a few, so conventional module is not an optimum option. Hence, a novel design upgradation along with large wafer size and half cut solar cells was developed. Introducing 400 Wp modules – The first product with such power output in Indian PV market. The modules utilize larger wafer size and highly efficient full square Mono PERC solar cells. The modules are available in 2 variants mono facial (Super 400) and Bifacial variant (Super 400 Pro).           

The super 400 series modules use half cut cells which directly halves the current output from the cell. Halving the current reduces the resistive losses (I2R) of the module by one fourth. Primarily this reduction in resistive losses directly reduces the nominal module operating temperature (NMOT). Additionally, such gain is improved significantly with increase in irradiance as the current output of the module is directly proportional to the irradiance.

Compared to the traditional modules, the excited electrons in the super 400 module have to travel almost half the distance before they are connected at the module’s junction box (JB). Comparing to traditional module, the electron faces less resistance which further increases the power output of the module.

For a rooftop site, there may be times when a module experiences shadow. Such shadow may be due to many reasons such as expansion of nearby building, shadow due to nearby trees, bird shit, cloudy atmospheric conditions etc. which may be temporary, for few hours or days or even permanent. Shadow even if on any cell(s) in the string hampers the generation of the string and hence the solar module. Under normal operation, both the traditional and doublet module produces the desired power output. But when all the strings of the traditional module are under shadow all 3 bypass diodes of the module are activated resulting in zero power output from the module. Whereas in case of super 400 module, the bypass diode is in between the two strings of upper and lower half of module. While the lower half is under shadow, the upper half of the module is continuously generating power. Hence, 50% of power under shadow conditions is retained.

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