Are Bigger Modules Better?

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With the advent of the grid parity era, high-quality power stations are gradually coming under the spotlight of global users.

Some people hold that larger modules bring more value. Is this really the case?

As is known to all, modules, which are the core component of a PV power station system, have a crucial impact on the stability, durability and efficient operation of the station.

Comprehensively considering reliability and safety, the proper increase in module size can improve the product power and decrease the LCOE.

On the other hand, we shall clarify misunderstanding. That is, bigger is not better. What the market needs is always a product with optimal quality and value.

Just the Size
Only focusing on larger size will cause a series of problems and risks to power stations and even do harm to revenue.

*When the revenue growth approaches zero, increase in module size will contribute to more risks.

Which size

is the best choice for a quality station?

Let’s start from the entire life cycle.

Transportation

PV modules are shipped to all parts of the world mainly by container.
The current most widely accepted method for loading modules into a container is to place them on a pallet vertically in landscape orientation.
The standard module size is designed based on international container sizes and is calculated against various parameters, taking into consideration the risk of cracks and other damage during transportation.

“BIG ≠ SUITABLE”

(1) Risk of microcracks or breakage during transportation increases if the module size is too large.
(2) Risk of falling increases if the modules are laid upright.

Installation

In combining ergonomics and design, the optimal module width is derived from the natural expansion width of human arms.

“BIG ≠ BEST”

(1) The size of the module should be designed for easy handling by two persons, ensuring both safety and reliability.
(2) Too large a module size will cause problems in handling and installation.

Application

Various factors need to be taken into consideration when defining module size.
An excessively large size may, for example, result in risk of hot spots and may also bring challenges and risks to load capacity. At the same time, the resistance of the module will also decrease. The larger module is, the more likely the glass is to break under external forces such as sand and gravel.

“BIG ≠ RELIABLE”

It takes time to verify long-term reliability under extreme weather conditions.

Conclusion

Unlimited expansion of module sizes should not be the first choice to reduce the LCOE.
Bigger modules may result in inconvenience during product installation and maintenance.
A continual increase in size will also hinder the standardization of module products and impact the healthy and sustainable development of the industry.

It is essential to comprehensively consider reliability and safety during the entire life cycle of a power station when designing PV modules.

Which size PV module is the best choice for high-quality power stations in the grid parity era?

To be continued…

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