Bifacial Solar Panels: Residential Uses and Trends
If you knew there was a solar panel system for your home that delivered up to 50% more solar power compared to conventional solar panels, would you be interested? Then look no further than bifacial solar panels.
Industry insiders predict that the market for bifacials will increase tenfold in the next four years. The primary reason is that production costs are becoming competitive with those of the industry standard: monofacial solar panels.
This statistic represents a veritable explosion in solar technology since bifacial solar panels hit the market only about a decade ago.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about bifacial solar panels. Included is information on the companies spearheading this solar energy technology and how to purchase their bifacial solar products for your home solar energy project.
At the end, there’s a checklist to determine if bifacial solar panels are right for you.
What is a bifacial solar panel?
They are different from monofacial solar panels which only use one side for solar energy production. The word bifacial comes from the prefix “bi-” (meaning two), and “facial” (for face).
Bifacials are equipped with solar cells on both the top and the rear of the panel. They are usually monocrystalline, although polycrystalline can be used. Because they are slim, they resemble thin-film panels. Bifacial solar panels are frequently frameless, too.
The top of each solar module is covered in protective glass. The flipside may be glass or a clear backsheet. This is different from conventional solar panel systems with opaque backings.
Here is a diagram of a side view of a bifacial solar panel:
The hardware used to mount a bifacial solar array is designed to minimize shading. This means there are only very narrow support rails and corner-only vertical supports.
The typically backside-placed junction box─the electronic guts and brain of your solar panel system─is smaller than in traditional solar arrays. So, it takes up less space and casts less shade on the back solar cells. The result? solar power for you.
How does a bifacial solar panel work?
The top solar cells of a bifacial solar panel system face the sun, so they capture incident sun rays directly, absorbing only certain wavelengths. The top solar cells function like those of a conventional solar panel array.
The bottom solar cells absorb light that is reflected off the ground. This light is called albedo light. White or light colors reflect better than dark colors. Painting a white or silver surface on a roof or concrete driveway under the panels provides the same effect, too. Studies show that a white surface reflects more than 80% of albedo light. (Grass, by comparison: 23%).
To optimize the operation of the underside cells, using superior silicon in monocrystalline cells is preferable.
Unlike monofacial solar panel systems that are placed in racks parallel to a surface such as a rooftop, bifacials produce more energy when they are angled off of the roof or ground at varying degrees.
In these types of titled installations, there is a great amount of reflection. Because sunlight bounces off of all objects reflectively at many different angles, bifacial solar panels are better able to capture more of it. They are even productive on cloudy days when monofacial solar cells are at a greater disadvantage.
There are other installation setups that capitalize on the earth’s daily rotation in relation to the sun. To produce two energy peaks throughout the day, half of the bifacials in an array can be tilted toward the east to capture sunrise and morning rays; the second half, to the west, to soak up afternoon intensity and sunset rays.
Another installation alternative places bifacials vertically. This arrangement will also have a double peak each day. During each peak, the reflection of sunlight on the other side of the solar panels will also contribute to energy production. An advantage of a vertical system is that snow or sand blown over in weather events won’t block its functioning.
Due to glass covers on both sides of bifacial solar panels, they are more durable than conventional solar panel systems. As a result, warranties, in some cases, are typically 5 years longer (that is, 30 years versus 20–25 years).
Efficiency comparisons between bifacial and monofacial solar panels
Efficiency refers to how well a solar cell converts the total amount of solar energy impinging on its surface into electrical energy.
You may think that bifacial solar cells would exactly double the efficiency of a monofacial solar cell—since there are twice as many solar cell surfaces—but this is not yet the case.
A 2018 study by LONGi Solar showed that bifacials can increase efficiency by 11% compared to a conventional solar panel system.
The bifacial solar cell efficiency increase can be as high as 27% with a solar tracking system that tilts solar cells continuously toward the sun during its trajectory across the sky. This system maintains a perpendicular panel orientation toward the sun throughout the day for maximum direct exposure of the cells to radiant solar energy.
To achieve the same degree of solar power as a typical monofacial solar array, fewer bifacial solar panels are needed. As the bifacial solar panel price becomes competitive with monofacials, consumers searching for maximum efficiency with fewer panels, (because of limited space, for example), would do best by choosing bifacial solar panels.
Here’s a summary table that illustrates the differences in solar cell efficiencies between the major commercial options in solar power today.
Bifacial solar panel installations: Is it right for your home?
Until recently, most bifacial solar panel installations have been large-scale commercial ones. Electric utility companies may also use bifacials for their greater efficiency.
Residential applications of bifacial solar technology are also possible, but it depends on your:
Here’s an example of a pergola on a home in Oklahoma:
In this example, bifacials make a great awning for shade or rain/snow protection while slashing your electricity bill. Integrated into your home’s appearance, bifacial solar panels provide aesthetic—and functional—appeal.
Checklist for residential bifacial solar panels
If you’re considering a bifacial solar panel installation for your home, consider each of these questions before purchasing them. If you check off even one of them, a bifacial solar panel installation would work for you. If you select more than one, bifacials are for you!
- Are you considering a ground-mount solar system for your property?
- Is there snow cover on my property for a significant part of the year?
- Is there a sandy area on my property (desert, beach), or would I be willing to create a mini desert or mini beach on my property?
- Do I have or would I like to construct one or more pergolas (elongated or small) on my property?
- Do I have or would I like to add awnings around the outside of my home or above Windows?
- Is my roof white or silver or could I paint it one of these colors or install a white or silver covering?
Because bifacial solar panels take up less space to provide the same amount of solar power as some conventional solar panel systems, you don’t need as much land, but you do need a light-colored surface for optimal performance.
Bifacial solar panel manufacturers
There are many bifacial solar panel makers around the world offering a wide variety of bifacial solar panels. For a great start locating bifacial solar panel manufacturers, check out this general directory. Here are some of the major ones and their products taken from that list.
- Amerisolar: based in California with modules made in the USA and in China; maker of bifacial solar panels; list of sales offices around the world
- Silfab Solar: North American manufacturer of bifacial solar panels committed to onsite sustainability and end-of-life recycling; contact Silfab to find local distributors
- Sunpreme: RD located in California and production in China; can install a ground-mount system with 3 daily peaks; Sunpreme has several sales partners around the world
If you’re interested in the bifacial products of a specific manufacturer, the next step is to contact them about local availability. Sometimes, your local solar installer can special order them for your project if they don’t already carry them.
Major takeaways on residential bifacial solar panels
One of the newest solar power innovations─projected to grow exponentially in popularity in the next few years─is bifacial solar panels.
Bifacial panels have solar cells on both sides. The front captures incident sunlight while the back absorbs reflected light. captured sunlight means greater solar cell efficiency compared with traditional solar arrays with only frontside solar cells.
Now competitively priced with conventional solar panel systems, bifacials deliver greater efficiency and can take up less space. Residential uses are most productive on light-colored surfaces. Bifacial solar panels work well as awnings or pergolas.
There are many manufacturers of bifacial solar panels all over the world, contributing to the renewable energy revolution. comment
Reviews and information on the best Solar panels, inverters and batteries from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.
June 18, 2023 Jason Svarc
In the solar world, panel efficiency has traditionally been the factor most manufacturers strived to lead. However, a new battle emerged to develop the world’s most powerful solar panel, with many of the industry’s biggest players announcing larger format next-generation panels with power ratings well above 600W.
The race for the most powerful panel began in 2020 when Trina Solar revealed the first panel rated at 600W. Not long after, at the SNEC PV Power Expo in China, JinkoSolar unveiled a 610W version of the Tiger Pro panel. Around the same time, Trina Solar announced that a more powerful 660W panel was in development. Amazingly, close to 20 manufacturers at SNEC 2020 showcased panels rated over 600W, with the most powerful being the Jumbo 800W module from JA solar. However, this panel was enormous at 2.2m high and 1.75m wide and will most likely not become commercially available.
Despite the publicity around the many high-powered panels, many PV cell technologies enabling these higher power ratings are universal. Traditional commercial and residential panels have also increased in size and power, with 400W to 500W panels now standard. The considerable increase in power is primarily due to increases in efficiency thanks to many innovations, which we describe later in the article.
Designed for utility-scale systems
The main driver for developing larger, more powerful solar panels stems from the desire to decrease the cost of utility-scale solar farms and ultimately reduce electricity prices. Since larger panels require an equivalent amount of connections and labour compared to smaller panels, the installation cost per kW is reduced, resulting in lower overall cost and decreased LCOE. As explained below, the new high-powered panels are much larger than the ones used on residential rooftops. Those wishing to use ten 700W panels on their home rooftop to get an easy 7kW will be a little disappointed. At this stage, most high-powered panels will only be available for commercial and utility-scale systems, plus the extra-large size is not well suited and challenging to handle on most residential rooftops.
The solar industry has been slowly shifting towards larger, higher-wattage panels. The front runners in the race were traditionally Trina Solar, Jinko Solar, Canadian Solar, Risen Energy and JA Solar as these well-known companies were the first to launch ultra-power panels with ratings above 600W over the last two years. However, more recently, Jolywood, Huasun and the lesser-known company Akcome have moved forward with panels rated above 700W utilising more efficient N-type TOPCon or heterojunction (HJT) cell technology.
Interestingly, premium module manufacturers SunPower (now Maxeon) and REC are not racing to develop larger format high-power panels. Instead, they are focusing on supplying their traditional residential and commercial customer base with high-efficiency panels. That being said, Sunpower has revealed a larger 540W panel in the next-generation ‘Performance 5’ series.
Most Powerful Solar Panels
List of the most powerful panels currently in production or soon to be released with a maximum panel size of 2.4m high x 1.35m wide. Availability and release dates may vary for different regions.
|Akcome||iPower 7||730 W||210mm||N-Type HJT Bifacial||23.5 %||Q3 2023|
|Huasun||Himalaya G12||715 W||210mm||N-Type HJT Bifacial||23.0 %||Q1 2023|
|Risen Energy||Titan||710 W||210mm||N-Type Bifacial||22.5%||Q1 2023|
|Jolywood||JW-HD132N||700 W||210mm||N-Type TOPCon||22.5 %||Q2 2022|
|Trina Solar||Vertex N||690 W||210mm||N-Type TOPCon||22.2 %||Q2 2023|
|TW Solar||210TNC||690 W||210mm||N-Type TOPCon Bifacial||22.2 %||Q2 2023|
|EGING PV||Aurora Pro||685 W||210mm||N-Type TOPCon||22.0 %||Q2 2023|
|Canadian Solar||HiKu7||675 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.7 %||Q2 2022|
|Astronergy||Astro 6||670 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.6 %||Q1 2022|
|Yingli Solar||Mono GG||670 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.6 %||Q1 2022|
|Suntech||Ultra X Plus||670 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.6 %||Q1 2022|
|Seraphim||S5 Bifacial||670 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.6 %||Q1 2022|
|Talesun||BiPRO||670 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.6 %||Q1 2022|
|AE Solar||Aurora||665 W||210mm||P-Type PERC||21.4 %||Q2 2022|
|Jinko Solar||Tiger Pro NEO||620 W||182mm||N-Type TOPCon||22.3 %||Q3 2021|
|AIKO||Hole Series||625 W||182mm||N-Type Back Contact||23.7 %||Q3 2023|
|JA Solar||Deep Blue 4.0X||625 W||182mm||N-Type TOPCon Bifacial||22.4 %||Q2 2023|
HC = Half-cut cells, MBB = Multi busbars. Maximum panel size = 2.4m high x 1.35m wide.
Larger panel sizes
In the past, most increases in power came from efficiency gains due to advances in solar PV cell technology. While that is partly a driver behind the massive jump in panel wattage, the main factor is the new larger cell and panel sizes being developed together with a higher number of cells per panel. These new cell formats and configurations mean the panels have become physically larger in size. Generally, these large-format panels are best suited for utility-scale solar farms or large commercial installations.
Traditionally, solar panels were available in two main sizes. the standard format 60 cell panels (roughly 1.65m high x 1m wide) used for residential rooftops, and the larger format 72 cell commercial size panels (roughly 2m high x 1m wide). Then half-cut cell panels emerged in roughly the same size but with double the amount of half-size cells at 120 cells and 144 cells. Besides the standard sizes, a few premium manufacturers, such as SunPower and Panasonic, produce unique 96 and 104-cell panels.
The industry-standard panel size for much of the last decade was built around the 156mm x 156mm or 6-inch square cell format. However, the new panel sizes emerging are up to 2.4m long and 1.3m wide and built around the larger 180 and 210mm wafer cell sizes. This is a size increase of 20% to 30% compared to the traditional 2.0m x 1.0m 72-cell panels, which naturally corresponds to a considerable boost in power.
Larger cell sizes
To decrease manufacturing costs and gain efficiency, most manufacturers moved away from the standard 156mm (6”) square cell wafer size in 2020 in favour of larger wafer sizes. While there are a variety of cell sizes under development, a few sizes have emerged as the new industry standard; these include 166mm, 182mm and 210mm. Many of the leading manufacturers, including Jinko, Longi and Canadian, aligned with the 182mm format. Trina Solar is pushing the larger 210mm wafer size, while Longi, the world’s largest mono silicon wafer manufacturer, uses 166mm and 182mm sizes, depending on the application.
To remain competitive, many smaller volume manufacturers may need to align with one of the new wafer sizes to utilise common wafer and equipment suppliers. For a complete history and insight into wafer and PV cell sizing standards, this detailed article from PV Tech examines the various wafer and ingot sizes, technology changes, and manufacturing trends around current and future PV cells.
Along with the different cell sizes, there is a myriad of new panel configurations built around the many cell combinations. The three most popular which have emerged are 66-cell (half-cut 132), 78-cell (half-cut 156), and 84-cell (half-cut 168) panels. The extra-large 210mm cells are also well suited to unique cell dividing formats such as 1/3 cut cells; where the square wafer is divided into three segments rather than the common half-cut or half-size cell.
To achieve these impressive power ratings, panels and cells have not just increased in size, but cell efficiency has improved substantially using numerous new technologies (listed below) along with more advanced rear-side passivation techniques like TOPCon.
- MBB. Multi-busbars
- PERC/PERC. Passivated emitter rear cell
- Heterojunction (HJT)
- TOPCon. Tunnel-Oxide Passivating Contact
- N-type silicon cells
- High-density cells. Reducing inter-cell gaps
Manufacturers are exploring ways to increase power and cell efficiency by spending big on research and development. N-type silicon wafers are one of the best ways to boost efficiency but have traditionally been more costly. However, the price gap between P-type and N-type silicon is reducing as the economies of scale lower the cost of manufacturing the high-performance N-type silicon wafers used as the basis for more efficient HJT and TOPcon cells. In the future, Perovskite cell technology is expected to become stable and viable, allowing manufacturers to create next-generation tandem cells with power levels up to 800W.
Of the many cell improvements, the most common technology used to increase efficiency has been multi-busbars (MBB). Traditional ribbon busbars (5BB or 6BB) are being rapidly phased out in favour of nine or more thin wire busbars (9BB). Some manufacturers, such as REC have even moved to 16 micro-wire busbars in the new Alpha panel series. Wider cells also mean more busbars can fit across the cell surface with 10 or 12 busbars cells also becoming more common.
Bifacial panels featuring MBB are also growing in popularity due to the increased power output by utilising the rear side of the panel to achieve up to 20% or more power (roughly 80W extra). However, bifacial panels are generally only beneficial over light coloured surfaces such as light sandy or rocky ground used in large MW scale solar farms located in more arid areas.
To further boost panel efficiency and increase power, manufacturers such as Trina Solar have introduced techniques to eliminate the vertical inter-cell gap between cells. Removing the typical 2-3mm vertical gaps and squeezing the cells together results in more panel surface area being available to absorb sunlight and generate power. Manufacturers have developed a number of techniques to minimise or eliminate the gap with the most common being to simply reduce the cell spacing from around 2.0mm to 0.5mm. The reason for this gap was due to traditional larger ribbon busbars requiring 2.0mm to bend and interconnect the front and rear of each cell. However, the transition to using much smaller wire busbars enabled the gap to be reduced significantly.
LONGi Solar is another manufacturer that managed to reduce the inter-cell gap down to 0.6mm by using what the company describes as a “Smart soldering” method using integrated segmented ribbons. This new technology uses a unique triangular busbar design across the front surface of the cell, with a very thin flattened section that bends and runs behind the cell to form the interconnection.
TR. Tiling Ribbon technology
Jinko Solar, currently the world’s largest panel manufacturer, developed what the company refers to as Tiling Ribbon or TR cells. Tiling Ribbon cell technology is the elimination of the inter-cell gap by slightly overlapping the cells creating more cell surface area. This in turn boosts panel efficiency and power output. The tiling ribbon technology also dramatically reduces the amount of solder required through using inter-cell compression joining methods rather than soldering. Shingled cell panels, such as those used in the Sunpower Performance series, uses a similar technology where overlapping thin cell strips can be configured into larger format high-power panels.
Several other leading manufacturers such as Q Cells have taken a similar approach to boost efficiency by completely eliminating the inter-cell gap. However, most manufacturers have taken the more common approach and reduced the inter-cell clearance as much as possible leaving a very small 0.5mm gap; this effectively removes the gap without having to develop new cell interconnection techniques.
N-Type TOPCon silicon cells
Cells built on an N-type silicon substrate offer improved performance over the more common P-type silicon due to a greater tolerance to impurities which increases overall efficiency. In addition, N-type cells have a lower temperature coefficient compared to both mono and multi P-type cells. N-type cells also have a much lower rate of LID or light-induced degradation and do not generally suffer from LeTID (light and elevated temperature induced degradation) which is a common problem with P-type cells.
TOPCon or Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact refers to a specialised rear side cell passivation technique that helps reduce the internal recombination losses in the cell and boosts cell efficiency. The process has been available for several years but is now becoming the new industry standard as manufacturers strive to increase efficiency and performance.
Everything You Need to Know about the Highest Wattage Solar Panels
Dec 5th 2022
Everything You Need to Know about the Highest Wattage Solar Panels
There is a growing belief that the highest wattage solar panels are always the best. But is this really true? Does a highest wattage solar panel offer the most value to a buyer?
The answer may surprise you because it’s neither simple nor straightforward. In short, highest watt solar panels offer the most value to a specific type of customer that can use these panels effectively, while ignoring their disadvantages. For most people, buying a panel with the industry’s highest wattage may not be the best choice. Having said that, anyone, including you, can still purchase and enjoy the benefits of a highest watt solar panel.
In this article, we look at the following:
What is the highest wattage solar panel?
Solar technology is improving at a Rapid pace. What was once thought impossible is being proven possible only a few years later.
This is especially the case in regards to the wattage of solar panels as before 400W solar panels were not available but now, they could not be more common.
Solar panels can be divided into two categories, which are:
2.Residential solar panels
Currently, for commercial panels, the highest wattage solar panel available on the market is 700W. These 700W panels, with a whopping 144 half-cut solar cells that maximize the power output while minimizing the resistance, are being produced by several manufacturers.
It’s important to note that 700W solar panels are mainly geared towards commercial use such as in solar farms and other large-scale businesses.
For residential panels, the highest wattage solar panels available are around 500W, which is more than enough for residential use. The wattage for residential panels is limited to 500W due to the need to ensure that the panels’ size will fit on most rooftops.
How do Highest Wattage Solar Panels work?
Highest wattage solar panels work the same way as other panels. So how other solar panels work? Check out more details in this article: How Solar Panels Work: Breaking It Down For Beginners. The biggest difference between higher wattage and lower wattage panels these days is the number of solar cells fitted onto the solar panel.
In other words, higher wattage panels have higher wattage simply because they are bigger (more solar cells). Not because they are technologically superior.
But this wasn’t always the case. Before, improvements in solar panels depended upon the technology and not the size of the panel.
So if somebody wanted to improve a solar panel’s wattage, they improved the efficiency of the panel. In doing so, they increased the panel’s power output by reducing the energy lost during conversion.
Now manufacturers are increasing power output using three methods:
1.Increasing the size of the panel to accommodate more solar cells.
2.Reducing the size of solar cells. The panel size can accommodate twice as many half-cut solar cells.
3.Double-siding solar panels so that both faces of the panels can generate electricity. Double-sided panels, AKA bifacial solar panels, are not suitable for rooftop installations.
4.Slightly increasing the panel’s efficiency. The efficiency of solar panels is currently capped at around 23%.
Pros and Cons of highest watt solar panels
As previously mentioned, highest wattage solar panels are attractive to a certain kind of customer because of the benefits they provide. These benefits include the following:
Pros of Highest Wattage Solar Panels
Highest Wattage: Buying the industry’s highest watt panels means you can enjoy the latest technology it has to offer.
Reduced Number of Solar Panels: The panels’ higher wattage means that you use a smaller number of panels. For example, to generate 6000W of power you would need 12 x 500W solar panels instead of 16 x 375W panels.
Reduced Wiring: The reduced number of panels in your solar installation means that you have fewer connections to make. For example, if you set up a 60000W solar farm, you would only have to connect 120 x 500W panels instead of 160 x 375W panels.
Bifacial Solar Panels Produce Power: The double-sided nature of bifacial panels means they produce more electricity while occupying the same space as a mono-facial panel. As a result, it takes a smaller amount of solar panels to produce the same wattage
On the other hand, highest wattage solar panels have a couple of disadvantages.
Cons of Highest Wattage Solar Panels
Expensive: On average, the industry’s highest wattage solar panels cost more than the average panel.
Heavy: Due to their increased size, higher wattage panels are also heavier. Some might find the added weight hard to maneuver for rooftop installations.
Large and unsuitable for rooftop installations: Their size and weight make them unsuitable for installations on residential rooftops because they are hard to carry and may not fit on some rooftops.
They are not technologically superior to smaller panels: Higher watt solar panels work on the same technology as smaller panels.
As you can see, highest wattage solar panels are just the same as other panels. The only differences are that higher wattage panels are bigger, heavier, and have a higher output.
Maybe you can have a better understanding by having a look at what solar panels are made out of.
Are higher wattage solar panels better?
The question remains if higher wattage panels are always better.
But to answer this question we have to understand what ‘better’ means clearly. Let’s compare the two kinds of panels to find out which are ‘better’ in terms of the technology used, cost, power output, and ease of installation.
Highest Wattage Solar Panels vs. Standard Wattage Solar Panels
Highest wattage solar panels are not technologically better than lower watt panels. Higher wattage panels work using much of the same technology used in lower wattage panels. So higher watt panels are not better technologically; they are only bigger.
Highest wattage panels have the same efficiency, temperature coefficient, and other metrics as their smaller counterparts. So you will be paying a steeper price for the same technology that’s not proportional to the increase in size.
Cost of Panels
Compared to standard wattage panels, highest wattage panels are much more expensive due to several reasons like the higher cost of production.
So if the price (cost per watt) is a major concern for you, highest wattage solar panels are not better for you. For more information on average solar panel costs, you can check out this How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost.
Highest wattage panels are better than standard panels in terms of their power output. For instance, the highest wattage panels range from 500W to 700W of power output, whereas the power output of standard panels is below 400W.
Ease of Installation
This one’s a tie because the two types of panels excel in different areas.
Highest wattage panels are easier to install for large-scale use or on-the-ground installations. In contrast, standard solar panels are easier to install on residential or smaller rooftops. You may click here for information on ground-mounted solar panels.
After comparing higher wattage panels to their lower wattage counterparts, it’s hard to say if higher wattage panels are better. The best assessment that can be made is that it depends on the situation. Bigger solar panels might boast a better wattage but they certainly don’t guarantee a better installation.
If you only care about getting the most wattage per panel without any regard for cost or space, higher wattage panels are better for your needs.
On the hand, if you are concerned about the overall cost and limited installation space, standard wattage panels might be better suited for your purposes.
Who are the highest wattage solar panels designed for?
Highest wattage solar panels are most suitable for commercial use due to their large physical size, high cost, and top-tier wattage.
Examples of situations where highest wattage solar panels provide the best value are:
Large-scale commercial installations.
Off-grid residential complexes.
Highest watt panels are ideal for such situations because of the large amount of space, solar panels, and power involved.
That being said, if you still desire to use the highest wattage solar panels for your home or business, we recommend our space-efficient panels like the Renogy 550W Monocrystalline panel or the Renogy 450W Monocrystalline panel. You will find that these panels provide the highest wattage while making efficient use of your limited space.
Are highest wattage solar panels worth it?
Highest wattage solar panels are worth it if your situation fits any of the following criteria:
If you plan on building a high-output solar farm.
If you plan on using bifacial solar panels.
If you are designing a solar installation for large-scale commercial usage.
If you’re going to do an on-the-ground installation instead of a rooftop installation.
On the other hand, if your situation fits the following criteria, highest wattage solar panels are not the best idea:
If you plan on doing a rooftop solar installation.
If the available space for solar panels is not suitable for large panels. For example, the space might be irregularly shaped so that only smaller panels can fit and make efficient use of the available space.
If you are looking for the most affordable solar panels.
Overall, highest watt solar panels are worth it if your intended system will have many solar panels.
The best solar panels for your solar installation. Renogy’s solar panels
Across the world, companies and residentials are switching from fossil-fuel energy to renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, and others.
In fact, the increasing frequency of power cuts makes solar more attractive to homeowners and businesses because it’s affordable and easy to set up.
So if you are thinking of getting solar or upgrading the system you already have, your timing couldn’t be better. The cost of solar is at an all-time low but before you take advantage of these great savings, here’s what you need to know:
1.The wattage of your panels doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. What matters is the wattage of the whole system. So whether you use 12 x 500W panels or 20 x 300W panels to create a 6000W system. The total power of the system is still the same.
2.If installation space and cost of panels are not an issue, you can get the highest wattage solar panels that will still be relevant a few years later as solar technology continues to improve. We recommend Renogy 550W Monocrystalline panels or the Renogy 450W Monocrystalline panels that will still be ranked among the best high-performance panels in the years to come.
On the other hand, if you are concerned with the cost of your panels and getting the best value for your money, we recommend getting the affordable Renogy 200W panels or Renogy 320W panels that currently offer you the perfect blend of cost, wattage, and space usage you could ever need.
Good news! Hot sales are on the way on Renogy store. Up to 40% discounts are offered. Check them out right now.
How the new generation of 500 watt panels will shape the solar industry
With three models of 500-watt solar panels officially unveiled, here’s a look at what that means for the future of project development and the solar industry at large.
- Balance of Systems
- Commercial Industrial PV
- Cost and prices
- Markets Policy
- Modules Upstream Manufacturing
- Optimizers Inverters
- United States
Image: Vincent Shaw, pv magazine
There are two solar module manufacturers, Risen Energy and Trina Solar, that have unveiled first-of-their kind 500W, 50-cell, PV modules.
The Risen modules accomplish the feat using 50 half-cut monocrystalline PERC cells, witch each individual cell being 210 mm in size., The Trina panels use the came 210 mm silicon wafers, with the difference between the two companies being that Trina’s are tri-cut. What this results in is a 500W module that comes in just slightly larger than 72-cell designs with 156.75 mm wafers.
How will the advent of 500-watt solar modules change the solar industry?
“For applications where you have a lot of area, particularly commercial and especially utility-scale, it’s really significant,” CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems Barry Cinnamon told pv magazine. “You could just use fewer modules, it reduces handling costs and overall balance-of-system costs go down.”
If there are less modules needed to reach the capacity specifications of a project, that means overall project costs will go down as these modules become economically viable. A significant area that will see cost reduction will come from the racking and trackers.
“It’s going to drive down the cost of racks and trackers per watt,” said Matt Kesler, head of technology at OMCO Solar, an Arizona-based racking and fixed tilt tracking manufacturer. “It’ll reduce the cost per watt of installation labor. It’s also going to give a premium on racks and trackers that are designed for ergonomics. As these things get bigger they’re going to get heavier and wider. if there are features in the trackers and racks that assist in the placement of the modules, that’s going to have more value.”
The consensus among the installers interviewed by pv magazine was that the average module installed checks in at 380W. This means that Trina and Risen’s panels deliver around 31% more power than the average installed panel. Cinnamon said that 10 years ago, the average module output was about 250W.
As neat as that calculation is, these panels have a long way to go until they are industry standards, let alone the benchmark for the average installation.
“It takes about five years for the industry to change all of its assembly equipment to a new size,” said Cinnamon “It’s a lot of work to buy new equipment because often it can’t be reprogrammed… We’re talking three to five years to change out all of that equipment.”
“The most common sector is going to be CI,” said Jock Patterson of Fronius USA, an inverter company. “I see these on rooftops where space is limited and they want higher efficiency modules. Large suppliers are going to feel the pressure to supply an inverter that’s 1,500 volts. Those who aren’t providing that are going to feel like they’re missing out on those larger rooftop projects.”
That change will not be industry-wide. The residential solar market will see little direct impact as these modules become commercially available — as 72-cell modules have always been too large to be practical for home installations where roof space is limited, work spaces are angled and workers have to be able to carry the modules individually up ladders. Anything beyond the standard 1-meter by 1.6-meter 60-cell module is too cumbersome.
The hope for the residential installers that pv magazine spoke with was that the technologies used to get these modules to 500W will eventually tickle down to their 60-cell brethren. In turn, this would mean that residential installations would be able to take up less roof area while providing more power, ultimately driving down balance-of-system costs.
Risen claims that it could easily reach 600Wp of output with a 60-cell panel, but the size would make the panel too large to be handled by a single person.
Edit: This article was edited on 3/9/20 reflect that the modules are 50-cell, not 72-cell, as was initially reported. We apologize for the mistake.
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Tim Sylvia was an editor at pv magazine USA. Tim covered project development, legal issues and renewable energy legislation, as well as contributed to the daily Morning Brief.