The route to best LCOE

By Trina Solar

Since the launch of Trina Solar’s 600W+ Vertex modules, their LCOE advantages and value have been the subject of evaluation and study by leading design institutes and third-party organizations. Fraunhofer ISE has now completed an assessment of CAPEX and LCOE of Trina’s 210mm (G12) ultra-high power modules and 182mm (M10) modules  from other manufacturers.

The results of the study show that the 210mm and 182mm modules perform better than conventional 166mm (M6) modules in terms of both CAPEX and LCOE, while M10 540W mono-facial modules are superior to their M10 585W equivalents.

The study also found that, among the G12 modules represented by Trina Solar’s Vertex series, the 550W, 600W and 670W modules are superior to M10 modules in both CAPEX and LCOE. The CAPEX of a Vertex G12 670W is 4.2% lower than that of an M10 540W module, with LCOE also 4.1% lower. The LCOE of a Vertex G12 670W is 4.5% lower than that of an M10 585W module and up to 7.4% lower than that of an M6 455W module.

Assessment site: Germany

Module types: M6 mono-facial 455W, M10 mono-facial 540W and 590W modules plus G12 mono-facial 550W, 600W and 670W modules

Method of installation: Fixed-tilt (landscape)

Inverter: String inverter

The assessment took place in a typical photovoltaic site in Germany for design input.

Figure I: Assessment parameters

Results: The new generation of high-power modules perform better than M6 modules in terms of both CAPEX and LCOE; G12 performs better than M10, and M10 performs better than M6. In particular, the cost of trackers and electrical systems for M10 and G12 are significantly lower than for other modules. 

1. Vertex G12 modules have the best CAPEX and LCOE. Compared to M10 modules, the G12 600W and 670W modules perform particularly well, reducing CAPEX by up to 1.5-2 €cWp and LCOE by up to 3-4.5%. Compared to M6 modules, the LCOE could be reduced by 6.5%-7.4%.

Figure II: Calculation results of CAPEX

Figure III: Calculation results of LCOE

2. The superior performance of the G12 600W and 670W modules is largely due to savings on the fixed-tilt mounting system, which are up to around 0.5~1€c/Wp or 11% compared to M10 modules.

3. Due to the innovative design concept of low-voltage and high-string power of G12 modules, the 210mm 550W, 600W and 670W modules have an excellent performance in electrical system cost savings, which can reach approximately 14.1~21.4% compared to M6 modules.

4. Another reason for the superior performance of the G12 600W and 670W modules lies in their lower transportation costs. Within the same 40-foot container, the power of loadable modules of this type can be increased by some 12%.

Figure IV: Comparison of items in CAPEX research results

The comparisons show that the G12 series of ultra-high power modules represented by Trina Solar’s Vertex can significantly reduce CAPEX and LCOE in particular, thanks to their low-voltage, high string power design and efficient power generation capacity. Compared to conventional modules, the single string power is boosted by a significant  36%. In turn, it can save DC terminal material and labour costs, lowering initial investment,  saving BOS costs and reducing LCOE. 

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