Understanding the Wafer Sizes in Solar Panels
On the PV array side, the larger, more powerful wafer offers cost savings. Balance-of-system costs can be reduced per watt peak installed by using a larger wafer, which includes base pilings, support racks, or trackers, as well as all electrical components such as inverters, junction boxes, and cables. As a result, PV plants have a lower levelized cost of power and a higher return on investment.
August 02, 2022. By News Bureau
The wafer is the PV module’s power-generating component, accounting for roughly 40% of overall module costs. Generally, the power output of each wafer grows as the wafer area gets bigger. However, the cost of production may remain unchanged or increase by a modest amount.
On the PV array side, the larger, more powerful wafer offers cost savings. Balance-of-system costs can be reduced per watt-peak installed by using a larger wafer, which includes base pilings, support racks, or trackers, as well as all electrical components such as inverters, junction boxes, and cables. As a result, PV plants have a lower levelized cost of power and a higher return on investment.
When looking back over the last 40 years in the PV sector, the increase in wafer sizes has been a consistent trend. Mainstream wafers were only approximately 100 mm long forty years ago, but by the 2000s, they had grown to 125 mm. The M0, with a 156 mm edge was promoted in 2012. Over the last few years, wafer sizes expanded in modest steps, from M1 (156.75 mm length/205 mm diagonal length) to M2 (156.75/210 mm) to M4 (161.7/211 mm).
By 2018, 156.75 mm wafers accounted for over 80% of the market. The revolution reached 158.75 mm wafer sizes in 2020. The module outputs here range from 370 to 390 watts, and depending on the design, the dimensions are around 10 to 30 millimetres larger than a traditional 72-cell module - making them still quite easy to carry and process. The 158.75 mm cell, which was introduced only a few years ago, is, however, only accessible in restricted quantities.
M6 wafers with a 166mm length and height have entered the module market. This size appears to have become the most often installed module by 2021. This is a 144 cell (Half cut) with 435 to 460 watts of power.
However, it appears that there is no end in sight. The current trend suggests that something bigger is feasible. Wafers in the diameters of 182 mm (M10) and 210 mm (M12) are now available. A new power class has emerged as a result of the new cell sizes: M10-based modules have between 535 and 560 WP. In terms of manufacturing costs, prominent businesses claim that modules with 182 mm and 210 mm wafers are superior to modules with smaller wafers. As a result, modules with these wafer sizes are likely to win out in the long run, making up the majority by 2023.
If you are still unable to decide which option is ideal for you, experts at Navitas Solar, a Surat, Gujarat-based leading provider of end-to-end solar systems, can help you out. Navitas Solar provides solar equipment, design, and permitting services for both residential and commercial solar projects. You can easily get in touch with Navitas Solar for a free design consultation if you’re ready to go solar.
- Vineet Mittal, Director & Co-founder, Navitas Solar
please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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