500 W-plus panel race intensifies with JA Solar’s new module and Risen’s first shipment

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From pv magazine global

Chinese module giant JA Solar has announced plans to join the bevy of manufacturers launching 500 W-plus solar modules by claiming its high-power product has achieved an industry record output of 525 W under standard test conditions.

The manufacturer, however, did not confirm whether the 525 W figure had been independently verified, nor did it provide technical details for a product it says will be available in the second half.

“At JA Solar, we have been focused on technological innovation and committed to [providing] high-efficiency and reliable photovoltaic products for our global customers,” said CEO Jin Baofang. “Our value of [being] ‘customer centered’ has driven us to achieve this breakthrough, which enables us to win recognition from both the PV industry and our valued customers.”

The manufacturer last year announced plans to add 10 GW of new module manufacturing capacity at a cost of around RMB3.82 billion ($538 million).

Risen shipment

Shortly before the Covid-19 outbreak heralded widespread restrictions on PV production in China, Risen Energy had presented a new 500 Wp+ module series. Five months on, the company said it has shipped its first batch of the product. 

The manufacturer said 20 MW of high-power modules had left the factory gates at its headquarters in Ninghai, in Zhejiang province, on April 30. The modules are in transit to Malaysia where Tokai Engineering will be the first customer to unbox them.

Achieving power ratings of 500 W and beyond was largely made possible by a shift to larger cell dimensions from the standard, 156.75mm M2 layout to the G12 – initially named the M12 – wafer format, which measures 210mm by 210mm.

Larger wafers mean more significant power output, not least because the total power-producing surface area of the module can be increased. Risen touts a 20.8% module-level conversion efficiency for its 500 W product and claims the levelized cost of energy from its panels can be reduced 6%, and balance of system costs 9.6%.