Silevo, Inc., Fremont, California-based solar cell innovator and photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturer, announced the industry’s first greater than 350 Watt-peak (Wp) solar module made with 72 of Silevo’s proprietary Triex 156-millimeter (mm) solar cells.
Silevo’s 72-cell Triex solar module measured an output power of 355 Wp in both indoor and outdoor third-party testing by Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), a TÜV SÜD America’s partner for PV testing. Triex technology, a hybrid solution of proven thin-film and crystalline silicon (c-Si) materials, delivers high efficiency and high energy yield with scalable, cost-effective manufacturing processes.
The Triex 355 Wp module provides more power output per given area, compared to today’s conventional c-Si solar modules, which typically range from 200 Wp to 300 Wp. Silevo’s additional output power significantly reduces the overall cost of a solar system by lowering balance of system (BOS) costs, which account for two-thirds of a conventional system’s cost. With an output of 355 watts, Silevo’s module requires less rooftop space or land, mounting and electrical components are reduced and systems can be built faster and more efficiently, reducing labor costs.
This achievement was made possible by scaling up Silevo’s production-proven Triex solar cell technology to a larger cell substrate of 156mm through R&D work conducted in Fremont, Calif. Today’s production-proven efficiency leaders that produce cells above 20 percent conversion efficiency struggle to scale cell sizes beyond 125mm substrates, due to fundamental limitations of cell architectures and choice of materials. However, 125mm cells create non-standard module form factors that require unique mounting structure and system designs, thereby limiting economies of scale and cost savings. By contrast, Silevo’s hybrid tunneling junction architecture overcomes these limitations to produce greater than 21 percent efficiency on 156mm size substrates. Silevo’s cells can therefore be seamlessly integrated into industry-standard 60- and 72-cell module form factors serving the rooftop and utility-scale market segments.
“Integrating solar cells with greater than 21 percent efficiency into industry-standard module sizes helps to enable the next wave of PV system cost reduction,” said Zheng Xu, CEO at Silevo. “Currently, for typical system designers to take advantage of greater than 20 percent efficiency cells, they must redesign the balance of system to accommodate non-standard size technologies. With Silevo’s combination of standard-size form factor and high performance, a designer can use existing BOS components seamlessly while increasing the output power of the system, leading to a significant reduction in overall costs and a greater ROI.”
Silevo’s successful scale-up of Triex cells to 156mm was achieved through a close collaboration with SunEdison (formerly MEMC Electronic Materials), and its high-performance Silvantis family n-type wafers which enabled Silevo to optimize its cell-processing steps to create high-efficiency solar cells that were then packaged into this 355 Wp module.
Silevo is on track to increase its current production capacity during the first half of 2014 with dedicated 156mm cell lines, which will provide greater than 350 Wp modules in the marketplace.