Mono based PERC modules to drive bifacial market entry in 2018

The PV ModuleTech 2017 meeting starts tomorrow (7 November 2017) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, showcasing the key module issues that will guide site design and construction for large-scale solar sites in the next 12-18 months.

Scanning through the speaker presentations in the past 48 hours highlights the continued drive to push technology improvements rapidly through to GW-scale module supply.

This article discusses how the industry has shifted so rapidly from a p-multi based market a couple of years ago, to one where mono PERC based bifacial modules could become a mainstream product offering exiting 2018. I also took the opportunity to catch up with the company that almost single-handedly created the mono revolution in the industry that can be seen across almost all leading c-Si suppliers today, LONGi Solar, ahead of the opening keynote presentation by Dr. Zhu Qiangzhong at PV ModuleTech 2017 tomorrow.

Mono shift was simply a matter of time

Anyone tracking the solar industry during the past 20 years has been acutely aware that mono-based solar modules are the route to higher efficiencies and panel power ratings, whether on n-type or p-type wafer substrates.

However, the only issue holding back mono becoming the leading technology by market share was the lack of a 10GW-plus low-cost ingot manufacturer that could compete at a wafer $/W level with the multi wafer powerhouse that GCL Poly had established in China.

GCL Poly, and numerous other Chinese companies that added casting furnaces during the period from 2008-2012, created a sheer volume of supply that led to p-type multi cell production completely dominating global module supply until the end of last year.

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