Black & Veatch Study Confirms Trina Solar Vertex 660W PV Modules Offer Lowest BOS and LCOE


Black & Veatch, a global engineering and construction company that has done many solar projects around the world, has completed a capital expenditure (CAPEX) and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) assessment, comparing the new generation of ultra-high-power modules, that use 210mm diameter wafers, with modules that use 182mm, 166mm and 158mm diameter wafers.


The 210mm wafer modules used in the study were Trina Solar DEG21C.20-660W and Trina Solar DEG19C.20-545W modules. The 182mm wafer modules were a generic brand of 535W module, the 166mm wafer module was the Trina Solar DEG17MC.20-450W and the 158mm wafer module was the Trina solar DEG15VC.20-480W.

The results show the 210mm Vertex modules perform the best overall for reducing CAPEX and LCOE among all the module types (Figure 2). The study found that compared to the 166mm 450W module, the 210mm 660W modules reduce both CAPEX and LCOE by more than 9%. Compared to the 182mm 535W modules, the 210mm 660W modules reduce CAPEX up to 4.58% and lower LCOE up to 3.94%. Additionally, Trina Solar’s 158-84 cell piece layout with 480W peak wattage performs better than standard 166-72 cell piece format regarding CAPEX and LCOE savings.

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In terms of cost difference, the increased value stems primarily from the reduced BoS (Balance of System) costs. BoS costs are impacted by the module string length, overall module wattage and the number of modules required to meet the constant capacity assumption made throughout the hypothetical projects. A project utilizing a module with lower wattage will require more modules and therefore have higher BoS costs, including additional costs for acreage, siting, clearing and grading, racking quantity, cabling, and more.

The 210-660W required the least number of modules to reach the hypothetical project capacity of 100MWac (125MWdc), with 88,383 fewer modules needed. This equals savings of up to 32%. Compared with 166-450W modules, the Vertex 210–660W module achieve additional cost-saving benefits across the board of:

  • BoS material savings: ~$1.6M
  • BoS installation savings: ~$979K
  • Rack and Post installation savings: ~$1.8M
  • Indirect Construction savings: ~$1.9M
  • Administrative and EBT savings: ~1.1M 
  • Total initial cost CAPEX savings: ~$9.6M
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Project Details

Location: Texas, U.S., Latitude: 34.36° Longitude: -99.89°

Annual GHI: 1,865 kWh/m2 Average temperature: 17.5°C

Project size: 100MW

Module Wafer sizes (4): 166 (M6), 158(G1), 182 (M10), 210 (G12)

Module types (5): 166-450W, 158-480W, 182-535W, 210-545W, 210-660W

Method of installation: Nextracker 1P design

Ground coverage ratio (GCR): 0.35

DC/AC ratio: 1.24

Inverter type: Central Inverter: Sungrow SG3600UD-MV

Regular lot shape, flat terrain, no irregular shading.


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Figure 1: Configuration of the PV Project

Initial Construction Costs, LCOE Comparison

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Figure 2: Comparison of Initial construction costs and LCOE 


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Figure 3: Historic Average Monthly Weather Conditions at the Project Location

About Black & Veatch

Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch is a global employee-owned engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and consulting company with a 100-year legacy of innovations in sustainable infrastructure. The company specializes in infrastructure development in power, oil and gas, water, telecommunications, government, mining, data centers, smart cities and banking and finance markets.

About Trina Solar 

From 2020 to 2021, Trina Solar launched the Vertex 210mm 410W, 510W, 555W, 605W and 670W modules, leading the industry into the new era of 600W+. The Vertex series has been widely recognized by customers globally, opening a new channel to reduce the cost of electricity and guarantee the long-term stable returns of power plants. As the world’s leading provider of PV smart energy and energy solutions, Trina Solar is committed to bringing its product advantages into working with global partners to accelerate the global application of smart energy and create a new world of carbon-free energy.

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