Australian manufacturer unveils new 400W module as demand grows

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Tindo Solar has unveiled its new Karra 400P Mono PERC module as it looks to satisfy booming demand in the domestic market while the new-generation module is also being exported to Vietnam after that sales pipeline had delivered 10,000 modules in an 18-month period before it was interrupted by restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tindo Solar CEO Shayne Jaenisch said the disruptions triggered by Covid had presented some challenges but it had also provided the company with an opportunity to grow as consumers became more demanding.

“What generally happens with PV is the retailer dictates what gets sold but when Covid hit, consumers began dictating to the retailer: ‘I want quality solar and it has to be Australian made’,” Jaenisch told pv magazine.

“At the start of 2020 we were 90% reliant on direct sales through our own retail arm. Covid hit in March and we had a 70% increase in our wholesale orders.

“That’s when the industry changed for us. Our inquiries went from about 60 wholesale client pre-Covid and now we’ve got nearly 1,000.”

The new 400 W module, which replaces the 380 W model in the Karra series, is already among Tindo’s most popular modules.

It is manufactured with 72 full square monocrystalline G1 cells and utilises 5 Busbar technology. It measures 2000 x 1005 x 40mm and weighs in at 22kg with a maximum efficiency of up to 20.1%. The open-circuit voltage is 49.32 V and 41.3 V and the short-circuit current is 10.42 A.

Tindo Solar CEO Shayne Jaenisch with a load of Australian-made modules destined for Vietnam.

Image: Tindo Solar

Tindo has updated its traditional MC4 connectors on the module to MC4-EVO 2 Staubli connectors, increasing the maximum system voltage for the module to 1,500 V, which the company said makes it ideal for both commercial and residential applications.

The module can be used in operating temperatures of between -40 degrees Celsius and 85 degrees Celsius and the operating temperature coefficient is -0.37% per degree Celsius.

The Karra range also includes 60 and 66-cell versions with power ratings of 330 and 365 W respectively and an efficiency rating of 19.8%.

The module features 3.2mm coat tempered glass wrapped in a black anodized aluminium frame. The module comes with a 12-year product guarantee and is said to be able to operate at 80% of its original performance after 25 years.

“Our panels are mounted and performing everyday at the Desert Knowledge Testing Centre in Alice Springs. The Karra series panels are consistently one of the highest performing panels at the centre,” the company said in the data sheet.

Jaenisch said Tindo’s fleet failure rate is some 200 times lower than its competitors and if the module is purchased direct or through a reseller the module is supported by a 25-year product and replacement warranty.

“Only the best products in the market are carrying a 25-year replacement warranty and we are one of them,” he said.

The 60 MW capacity current production line will be increased to 150 MW.

Image: Tindo Solar

Jaenisch said the growing demand for the Australian-made modules has forced the company to double its manufacturing output at its existing 60 MW capacity production line in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

“Previously, we could pretty well manufacture enough in an eight-hour shift to satisfy our export market to Vietnam, our retail market and the wholesale clients that we had but when Covid hit, we had to go to two shifts just to keep up with that extra wholesale demand,” he said.

That issue is set to be resolved later this year with $10 million invested to boost capacity at the Mawson Lakes plant to 150 MW per annum.

A new factory building has been completed and the production equipment is set to be installed by August.

The shift will also see Tindo transition to the latest M10 cell technology with Jaenisch revealing a 550 W 144-cell and a 400 W 120-cell split cell module are on the horizon.

“The future is looking really, really good for us,” he said.

“One of the reasons we have flown under the radar a bit is, if our orders grew any faster, our current line wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, but the new line is 150 MW which allows us to be a little bit more serous with our wholesale market. It’s come at a really good time for us.”

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