PV Tech reached its own little milestone of having reported and analysed the R&D spending habits of the same 12 key PV module manufacturers for 10 years. The results have just been published in sister technical journal Photovoltaics International as part of the annual leaders and laggards of R&D spending for 2016.
The significance of PV-Tech’s forthcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur – PV ModuleTech 2017 – has just moved to a new level, with the key company executives from all members of the Silicon Module Super League (SMSL) giving presentations on stage about the quality, reliability, and performance of their solar modules.
Updated: With the solar industry transitioning to high-performance products backed with innovation, Solar Power International 2017 in Las Vegas is showcasing an ever increasing portfolio of solar modules exceeding 300 watts in the standard 60-cell format. However, 72-cell modules exceeding 360 watts are also entering the mainstream and 400 watts is just around the corner. Driving the high-performance wave is PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell), bifacial and the migration to 5 busbars and beyond, whether with multicrystalline or monocrystalline wafers. The growing use of half-cut and multi-cut cells that reduce cell to module losses, boosting overall performance are also becoming mainstream as well as heterojunction (HJ) modules.
The use of third-party cell and module sourcing has seen a massive uptick in the solar industry, during the past 2-3 years. The appetite of leading global module suppliers to rely on outsourced cells and modules has been clear to see in the past 12-18 months, but tends to go through almost quarterly tactical adjustments, often driven by factors that are potentially creating risk for long-term downstream asset holders of utility-scale sites.