Over the past decade, China’s solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has not only enjoyed a faster iteration of technical routes, but also witnessed a remarkable progress in the field of science and technology. It has thus become one of world’s leading industries marching ahead step by step. In these circumstances, PV companies can succeed in outdistancing their rivals only if they keep fighting tooth and nail on the technology and R&D front. It is evident that no leading companies in the field of PV manufacturing can stand in the long run without solid technical strength.
In line with the development of efficient solar modules in the recent years, those with double-glass ones are dominating the market, when it comes to innovation, appearance or application. They, stand out from conventional modules based on backing sheet, and are crystallization of technical wisdom from all R&D personnel in this field, creating more possibilities for application of PV products.
Earliest mass production but highest yield
When it comes to double-glass, Trina Solar’s double-glass module is the most sought after product in the market. As one of the first batch of companies that promote and commercialize double-glass modules, Trina Solar makes its double-glass modules, which has won industry-wide recognition for its high quality. By the end of 2018, Trina Solar’s sold its double-glass modules with a total output of nearly 3GW, topping the world list.
“Throughout the industry, Trina Solar leaves most of its competitors way behind in terms of the yield of our present double-glass modules,” Yin Rongfang, Executive Vice President of Trina Solar, said with great confidence while talking about Trina Solar’s double-glass modules.
“Our manufacturing yield surpasses 99.5%, several percentage points higher than our rivals. What kind of cost advantage it will be? Double-glass modules are hard to remake, because they are no longer based on backing sheet,” he continued.
Yin’s confidence comes from Trina Solar’s technical strength. During the past 20 years, Trina Solar has been constantly treading on the path of technological innovation, consistently paying high attention to investment in R&D.
Product superiority comes from technology accumulation. Trina Solar’s technical team made in-depth R&D in double-glass technology in 2012 and double-glass modules were put into mass production in 2013. Thus, Trina Solar became one of the first lots of companies possessing efficient double-glass modules and stepped on the selling journey.
It was the same year, when China’s utility-scale PV plant began to spring up. Domestic installed PV capacity has been annually growing by over 50%, even 80%, with the scale of installed capacity being larger and larger. On the other hand, power plants have been built in gradually diversified scenarios, with such PV projects as fishery-solar PV plant, tidal-flat PV plant, agricultural-solar PV plant and desertification combating works increasingly growing in number.
Double-glass module is not subject to potential induced degradation (PID) and boasts of excellent durability, low permeability, long life cycle and other superior qualities. And its many advantages have enabled it to yield unbelievable results in China’s subsequent Top Runner Program.
“China’s Top Runner Program has offered a development platform to PV enterprises with leading technologies, introducing engineering innovation and design innovation to the market and creating favorable conditions that can drive the PV market development of China. This program aims to propel the development of new technologies. From this point of view, Trina Solar is an industry-leading company that has achieved highly consistent target with the goal of this program,” Yin said when interviewed by PV-Tech.
New journey and new start after technology integration
After years of growth, double-glass modules have now become a must-have option for PV module manufacturers to sell their products. According to the statistics, double-glass modules with a total output reaching up to 12GW were sold in China in 2018. With setting up of agriculture-solar PV plants, hydro-solar PV plants, BIPV and other new PV plants, the market scale of double-glass modules will be further broadened ceaselessly.
Now in 2019, grid parity project has become a focus for development of China’s PV industry and its market penetration has been further accelerating product updating and technology iteration. Meanwhile, it has pushed the industry towards multi-technology advancement. Specifically speaking, leading module-related technologies represented by shingled-cell, bifacial, half-cut-cell and MBB modules are going to be combined with such efficient cell technologies as Mono, PERC and Poly (black silicon) to enhance reliability and power generation efficiency of PV system but lower cost per kilowatt hour.
The above-mentioned technologies can be combined together to double-glass design. Especially, there is an obvious trend now towards bifacial solar modules, so double-glass bifacial module is considered unavoidable for technology development of modules.
Double-glass bifacial module technology, with its cost performance improved significantly, has received greater attention from the capital market and industry consulting organizations. “With bifacial modules’ power generation value more recognized by terminal power companies, double-glass bifacial module is expected to become mainstream product in the future and its market share is estimated to reach up to 42% in 2021.
The double-glass bifacial module in 2019 is going to spread its wing starting from the domestic market. Under the pressure of subsidy-free plant development, such modules will be widely applied to utility-scale PV plants and then to distributed PV projects.
These modules are still at standard and field verification stage in some other markets, but in such countries / regions suffering from fierce competition of electricity price as the US, Australia, South America and the Middle East, their willing to extensively adopt these modules will grow fast. There may be an easy-to-see increase in the second half of 2019,” said Jason, Director of Strategic Consulting of Gessey.
In March this year, Trina Solar released its next generation of four module series, including its double-glass module’s updated version, and bifacial double-glass modules, which will maximize its bifacial generation performance.
For Trina Solar, the product release also means the second take-off of double-glass modules, with expanded production capacity and higher availability.
Yin said frankly, “Why is it called the second take-off? We have already realized the high shipment goal to lead the industry, now we have higher expectations on double-glass modules. At present, double-glass modules are subject to some non-technical problems, failing to make due and effective breakthrough. It is a pity. With technical breakthrough going to be made in bifacial modules and application scenarios diversified, we hope that our new product can be applied widely in larger numbers. We also hope that with our untiring efforts and the whole industry, we can put this high-performance and cost-effective product at a new application phase. “
Trina Solar is the world’s first company that obtained PID test certificate from TÜV Rheinland, it is also the industry-first company in the Asian-Pacific region that acquired fire-safety Class A certification for double-glass modules and China’s Top Runner Program Certification.
“In the future, Trina Solar will continue to guide the industry development and set the benchmark of double-glass module, and will make greater contributions in the development and technology advancement of the world’s PV industry,” Yin stated.
Written by Bei Xiao from PV Tech
Translated by Trina Solar
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