Designing a New Product
Many technical parameters and challenges must be considered when bringing to life a new design for the global solar energy market. After an in-depth technical analysis of current market needs, Upsolar went to work with its top-tier partners for more than a year to create an improved design to better meet the needs of its customers. Building off the in-field success of Upsolar’s monocrystalline modules containing 5-inch cells with efficiencies up to 195 Wp, its new module design featuring 6-inch cells can reach wattage of up to 250 Wp in a 60-cell configuration. Upsolar firmly believes this new design will adequately cater to the gap of high-wattage product offerings in the monocrystalline module market.
By introducing a 6-inch monocrystalline option in the 60-cells module design, the wattage level is increased to 250 Wp with cell efficiency of up to 18%, a total max power increase of 4%. The increase in the monocrystalline cell size will ultimately increase the DC current output to facilitate a higher power capability. Whereas a standard Upsolar polycrystalline module can reach up to 240 Wp, utilizing this same design type with monocrystalline cells can alternatively achieve an output of up to 250 Wp. This transformation effectively brings to market solar PV modules with the highest efficiency power levels available commercially. This module type will have a maximum power PV module range from 235 to 250 Wp with every 5 W difference in model type. This gives customers greater leverage when assessing their unique needs, providing a wide range of premium quality products from Upsolar’s PV module catalogue.
Although an increase in cell area naturally raises concerns about the physical stability of both the cell and module, all Upsolar modules have successfully passed testing for high winds and snow loads of up to 5,400 Pa which is equivalent to 190 KM/hr of gusty wind. Additionally, impact of 1040 gms steel ball testing from a 1.21m vertical fall (ANSI/UL 1703 standard) further demonstrating the stability of the Upsolar PV module design. The comprehensive analysis performed at Upsolar’s PV testing research and development center has adhered to the standard testing practices based on the physical and environmental degradation aspects of module design, with its products meeting or exceeding all requirements. Upsolar’s highly professional design and test engineers have also approved the design after conducting various electrical performance tests. Utilizing 6-inch monocrystalline cells with a thickness of 200 μm ± 20 μm, the Upsolar module has proven capability of resisting the physical instability concerns inherent to solar photovoltaic technology.
Furthermore, according to a cost sharing distribution analysis, a staggering 70 to 75% of total module manufacturing costs stem from the cells themselves, with the remaining 30 to 35% coming from all the additional components. This statistic lends additional support to the necessity and importance of implementing higher efficiency cells. Due to their high stability and high power output, 6-inch monocrystalline cells can be the smartest component choice in the vast module market for a variety of applications.
PV module manufacturers are constantly facing a higher demand pressure from their customers, especially those in Europe and the United States. This improved design from Upsolar can an ideal solution to these concerns and is expected to create a win-win situation for the company and its customers.
Improvements in Overall System Design
From the broader perspective of PV system design, a higher current module will reduce the number of module strings in the overall PV system thus decrease the overall number of modules feeding the central inverter. This design aspect will appreciably reduce the racking system size, installation time, and cost to the end user. Six-inch monocrystalline cells represent one of the highest current outputs available in PV cells, generating more than 8.5A of current per module. The resulting higher current monocrystalline Upsolar modules will ultimately improve the efficiency of both the installation and energy harvest of solar PV systems. These modules are positioned to not only be the market choice of PV power generation systems, but due to the high power density, they are also the logical choice of residential PV systems installed to generate power on limited rooftop spaces.
Upsolar PV modules are known for their quality components and proven designs. Upsolar’s monocrystalline PV modules featuring 6-inch cells have successfully passed all necessary design qualifications and safety test standards. They come standard with a power guarantee of 90% for 10 years and 80% for up to 25 years. The design warranty will also cover five years for all power ranges of PV modules.
The 6-inch monocrystalline cell Upsolar modules, featuring 14A rating junction boxes, will be available to the market in Q1 2011 in both white and black styles to provide customers with options in terms of aesthetics.
From its state-of-the-art module manufacturing plants, the Upsolar design team is currently working on a transparent 6-inch monocrystalline module type. Once the design passes Upsolar’s exceptional quality standards, this option will become commercially available through its global distribution channels.
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