“The future of solar technology is already here, its half-cell technology” says JinkoSolar CEO
What is the JinkoSolar Half Cell (HC) Product Series?
Kangping Chen: The JinkoSolar HC Series is a currently available product line that combines the half cut cell layout with different existing cell technology. The technology has increased the power output of polycrystalline modules to 285 Wp, that of mono-crystalline modules to 295Wp, and that of mono-crystalline PERC module to 320Wp. The HC series delivers an increase of 10Wp per panel when compared to its non-half-cell conventional counterparts. When compared to that of from our peers, JinkoSolar’ s half cut cell offerings, on average, have outputs 5Wp higher JinkoSolar is one of the first companies to realize GW-scale mass production of half-cell products. Looking at our product roadmap, by 2018, our HC series will take the power output of a 60 cell mono-crystalline panel to groundbreaking new heights of 330Wp.
What main advantages do JinkoSolar half-cut cells offer?
Kangping Chen: The primary advantages of JinkoSolar’ s Half Cell series are power boosting and superior price performance, achieving unprecedented price-performance ratios. The 290-300Wp 120 half-cell (60 regular cells cut in half) mono module has comparable performance to that of the mainstream mono-crystalline PERC module, but is far more afford- able. In addition, our HC series features minimization of hotspot and increased shade tolerance, enabling enhanced reliability and performance ratio in deployment conditions. Adhering to JinkoSolar’s consistent industry-leading product quality standard, JinkoSolar’ s HC series also features high anti-PID qualities.
How will the consumer benefit from the half cell technology?
Kangping Chen: Half-cell design can improve the efficiency of standard cells, increasing module output by 5-10 W without adding much cost. Customers can now select cost effective solutions without compromising on power output.
For which markets is the half-cell panel suitable?
Kangping Chen: It’s suitable for both utilities and distributed generation (DG) markets. Half-cell technology has it proven itself in Chinese Top Runner Program, which are governmental demonstration projects requiring high module efficiency and performance.
More and more utilities projects are run on tendering models, which call for better dollar per kilowatt hour performance. While there are many technologies that improve cell performance, their relative high costs limit their potential in the market and large scale adoption. When seeking to balance output and cost, half-cell modules present itself as the ideal solution. Since customers become more and more focused on dollar per kilowatt hour, combination of higher efficiency, lower cost and, lower degradation is the common requirement for project decision makers today. Under these conditions, JinkoSolar’ s half-cell technology will be well suited for large scale success due to its relatively low costs, technical value and commercial readiness.
For DG market, due to more limited project spaces, users are forced to use more efficient modules to reach the same harvesting potential. Complimentarily, energy policies like net metering and feed-in tariffs (FIT) provide economic incentives for DG users to produce larger energy surpluses. The current standard cell type is reaching its efficiency apex. The higher power and efficiency modules afforded by JinkoSolar’ s half cell technology means that customers will be able to boost their overall energy yield per square meter. These conditions make the HC series ideal for the distributed rooftop markets, where installation space is often limited. It is also the best option for technology leading project, such as the Chinese Top Runner Program which sets higher requirement on efficiency, degradation, and LCOE. The increase in power output per m² allows customers to generate the most energy out of their installation, reducing the balance of system costs for installers and system owners and ensuring solar energy remains cost-efficient.
Based on your opinion, what practical technology is next for the solar industry?
Kangping Chen: We’ve talked a lot about technologies, but the underlying force that drives everything in the PV industry is still LCOE. Further requirements on lowering dollar per kW/h will continue to drives the industry to seek new paths. Among various innovative technologies, the most fast-developing and latest industry trends across the PV supply chain is half cell technology.
Combining technical maturity and feasibility, increased power generation performance, lowered marginal cost, and increased shade tolerance markets, half cut module is expected to experience the strongest growth and achieve mainstream adoption over the next five years. Judging from where technologies have been heading, the growing popularity of half-cell modules is inevitable.
As demand for high power, low degradation, and low cost products continues to rise in the global PV market, half-cell technology will demonstrate a new wave of changes in PV cell technologies and will experience a steady momentum going forward.