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Press release of the week for me – LONGi Solar Achieves a New World Record for PERC Cell Efficiency – Fraunhofer ISE CalLab of Germany certified a photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 22.71% on the company’s monocrystalline PERC cell. In April 2017, LONGi’s 100MW pilot cell line achieved efficiency of 22.17% in mass production. At the end of August, efficiency improved to 22.43%. With continued R&D optimization, we believe the monocrystalline PERC cell can reach a conversion efficiency of greater than 23.0% in the near future. We plan to introduce the 22.0% efficient PERC cell technology into the production line at the end of 2017. 340W-345W module ratings for a 60-cell format by 2018. Tons of information! 22.71% – wow! More watts per square foot. 100MW line that’s making these cells? Awesome – that means it’s in real life, not labs. 23% in near future – not surprising with the pace being set. 340-345W module in 2018. Cool… question is though – will any of these panels make it to the USA with a global solar tariff? Hrmm….
A Roadmap Toward 24% Efficient PERC Solar Cells in Industrial Mass Production – I don’t have access to the paper yet, but I thought it was good to include with the LONGi press release. 22.7% isn’t that far from 24% at first glance…
Transparent solar technology represents ‘wave of the future’ – Two data points from the document interested me: Highly transparent solar applications are recording efficiencies above 5 percent and But in terms of overall electricity potential, the authors note that there is an estimated 5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States. And with that much glass to cover, transparent solar technologies have the potential of supplying some 40 percent of energy demand in the U.S. – about the same potential as rooftop solar units. The 5% number is cool to know – but really – the second number was the one that blew me away. Our glass surfaces alone in the USA could supply up to 40% of our electricity needs. These aren’t rooftops, parking lots, fields or anything else…but windows. There will be a time soon where all glass will plug-in. Why not? I bet there is conduit within inches of 90% of that glass. Solar panel level electronics in the world on a per panel basis – I see no issue with simple hardware and glass windows.
Indian solar panel manufacturers win bid vs Chinese panel manufacturers – 30¢/W – 300MW bid for projects in India. There are two variables that would increase the Chinese solar panels vs the Indian, 1. Shipping. Even if it’s only 1¢/W – it’s now a 3.3% price hike! Moving solar panels across the USA one shipping container at a time is 1.5-3¢/W, and 2. 5% import tax on solar panels. If we combine these two factors (1.5¢/W for shipping used) – the Chinese solar panels would have to cost just over 27¢/W to compete with Indian solar panels. Almost a full 10% cheaper…that’s going to be tough. Glad to see the competition between the two largest countries globally.
Look at that first chart, growth of wind(GW)+solar(GW)+battery(GWh) capacity – batteries are projected to grow in huge amounts. This change is coming hard and fast folks.
A few days ago there was a report from Reuters pushing hard that solar was growing in ‘Trump country’ – well – here is some of that evidence.
Featured image is of Belectric’s PEG solar racking system. I found the image here. It really interests me because it’s so simple looking and packs the panels really dense. I wrote the manufacturer asking about wind code compliance as it looks like a breeze will toss these units, but, maybe the panels are tied together somehow. This racking material was part of a project that got under $1/WAUD for small scale projects. Pretty cool stuff.