The development structure of high-efficiency PV modules has further deepened since 2021, and the development of 600W+ ultra-high efficiency modules is now the focus of the industry. As indicated by the study of EnergyTrend, leading makers had shipped more than 35GW of high-efficiency modules between January and September, and the tendency of applying high-efficiency modules (182 & 210mm) in various scenarios, including ground and industrial & commercial projects, is gradually established. It is expected that more than 60% of high-efficiency module makers will be equipped with production capability for 210mm modules by the end of 2021, which is going to elevate the penetration rate of the high-efficiency module market by a great extent.
Exponential Increase in Demand: Driven by High-Efficiency Modules
More than 30GW of domestic module tenders were accumulated between January and September 2021, and the significant increase in the average size of module tenders has confirmed the trend of large-sized and high-efficiency modules. The tender demand for high-efficiency modules is now on the rise.
The 26.3GW projects that can be confirmed in scale exhibit an apparent market concentration, where leading makers occupy 16.9GW of winning tenders at a ratio of nearly 65%. According to statistics, high-efficiency modules accounts for 83% among domestic tender projects for large makers between January and August this year.
Unimpeded Supply: Accelerated Shipment of High-Efficiency Modules
Leading module makers continued to accelerate shipment of large-sized high-efficiency modules in 2021. According to the study of EnergyTrend, leading makers had attained a combined shipment of 92.8GW between January and September, where high-efficiency (182 & 210mm) modules accounted for roughly 35GW at a ratio of 37.5%, and each maker had achieved 50-70% of their annual shipment target. Among them, Trina Solar produced a shipment ratio of nearly 60% for 210mm modules, and more than 10GW of 210mm high-efficiency products, between January and September. Due to a stronger cost-performance ratio, leading makers have been amplifying the shipment progress of large-sized modules, especially with high-efficiency variations, with a further acceleration expected in the shipment scale of high-efficiency modules during the fourth quarter.
Diagram: Shipment of various sized modules from leading module makers between January and September 2021。Source: TrendForce
Size Iteration: Expeditious Capacity Expansion from Module Makers
The arrangement for large-sized high-efficiency modules (182 & 210mm) has been tempestuous in 2021. As indicated by the study of TrendForce, there were nine module makers who are capable of producing high-efficiency modules back in 2020, and the figure is expected to rise to 44 in 2021, where nearly 60% of the production lines are compatible with the production of 210mm module products.
Diagram: Capacity ratio of various sized modules。Source: TrendForce
According to the study of TrendForce, the overall capacity added in 2021 was primarily compatible with 182-210mm modules. Large-sized modules added 195.8GW of capacity in 2021, and are expected to combine to more than 60% in market share at the end of 2021. 156/158/161mm modules have been upgraded and transformed in production lines due to market demand and the high-efficiency tendency, where partial old capacity has been terminated.
600W+ Module R&D: 210mm Gets a Head Start
The R&D of high-efficiency modules has become a consensus within the industry. New mono-Si PERC modules had achieved a mainstream coverage of 550W in 2021, with a dense distribution of 182 and 210mm modules. Among these, the availability of 600W+ ultra-high efficiency modules is focused on the 210mm P-type or N-type products of Trina Solar, Risen Energy, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, and JA Solar. Specialized businesses such as Jolywood and Tongwei are relatively prioritizing on the arrangement of N-type technology that is primarily used in PV power generation scenarios with a high surface reflectance, restricted land area, and high labor cost.
Comprehensively speaking, 210mm products are currently the leader pertaining to power range, number of businesses, and technical category among 600W+ high-efficiency. Mainstream module makers, including Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Jinko Solar, Risen Energy, Huansheng, Jolywood, Suntech, Tongwei, and Sunport, have released 600W+ ultra-high efficiency modules. The era of ultra-high efficiency is inevitable with the rapid increment in the capacity ratio for 210mm modules, and the popularization of the N-type cell technology.
Diagram: Arrangement of high-efficiency products by mainstream module makers (unit: W)
BOS Cost Calculation: Significant Advantages in Cost Reduction for 210mm High-Efficiency Module Systems
As denoted by the calculation of the two authoritative institutions Fraunhofer ISE and DNV, 210mm modules guided by Vertex of Trina Solar, among new generation ultra-high efficiency modules, possesses the best value in electricity, transportation, and bracket installation.
The results of DNV indicate that the 210mm Vertex double glass module of Trina Solar is able to conserve a CapEx of €0.012/W compared to 182mm double glass modules, which is about RMB 0.09/W, and a reduction of 2.29% for the power per watt. The study and calculation of Fraunhofer ISE yielded that 210mm modules can also save 5% in the electricity segment of BOS. Both institutions have rendered identical logic and tendency in terms of conservation for BOS and LCOE.
Diagram: differentiated CapEx % for 182-535W。Source: Trina Solar, DNV
On the other hand, 210mm ultra-high efficiency modules are able to effectively reduce module quantity, as well as the cost of transportation and installation. From the bracket end, a smaller quantity of modules can reduce the number of materials for installation and connecting parts, such as purlins, which in turn conserves bracket costs. The innovative packaging design can increase the carrying capacity of containers by more than 10%, which adequately decreases transportation cost and further lowers initial capital investment. The innovative packaging form of 210mm high-efficiency modules will exert excellent results in cost saving for medium and large projects amidst current high shipping prices. In addition, mainstream inverters and tracking brackets in the world are fully compatible with 210mm high-efficiency modules, which accelerates the application progress of 600W+
As the era of total parity arrives, large ground power stations serve as the main application scenario for high-efficiency modules in the current phase, where the cost advantages of BOS and LCOE for 600W+ ultra-high efficiency modules are most prominent amidst the thriving applications of distributed PV. Summarizing previous reports, the Da Qaidam Base that utilizes the 210mm Vertex 670W modules has an overall installed capacity of 112MW, and had officially generated electricity by connecting to the grid at the end of September. Trina Solar was awarded earlier with the 600MW wind power and PV base project in Ordos. An 850MW power station project in Brazil during the second half of this year is fully adopted with the 210mm Vertex 600W+ module by Trina Solar. As for distributed scenarios, a 2MW industrial and commercial project in Linyi fully adopts the 210mm Vertex single-sided ultra-high efficiency 600W+ modules by Trina Solar.
The evolution of 600W+ modules has become a new contributing factor to cost reduction and performance enhancement. Module makers should establish a standardized system for PV modules in the hope of striving for the best level of benefits for end users, and help the PV industry in marching towards a smarter era that is more efficient.