Photovoltaic solar modules continue to grow in wattage, and that often means increasing their size, too, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. In this episode of Solar Spotlight, Lucas Moura, product marketing manager for international module manufacturer Trina Solar, discusses the significance of the compact yet electrically potent N-type TopCon solar module.
A written portion of this podcast is below but be sure to listen to the full episode on your favorite podcast service.
How are N-type modules changing the game for residential installers and homeowners?
Unlike utility and C&I solar industries, which are trending into larger format solar modules, the residential installers want something smaller and lighter modules, but they still want higher output wattages. So how do we square that circle? The Trina Vertex S+ N-type TopCon cells is the higher power, smaller footprint module. Another big trend is the value-added benefit which is becoming an increasingly important differentiators for installers. The manufacturer’s warranties, local support, a bankable partner become extremely important.
What are the technical aspects of n-type topcon modules that benefit homeowners and installers?
The takeaway is higher efficiency and lower degradation We see a tremendous opportunity for cell efficiency growth with TOPCon. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great ride with Mono Perc, but we are at the very top of Perc technology efficiency. The higher efficiency TopCon cells will allow for more power, better performance on the roof and ultimately will translate on a faster return on investment.
Let’s dig into the tech a bit more. What makes N-type different?
For you nerds out there, TOPCon is an acronym and it stands for “tunnel oxide passivated contacts.” The biggest difference in it is the chemical composition — boron vs. phosphorous — which is used in the cells to improve the efficiency. The Ntype is doped on phosphorous and eliminates the oxygen pockets and ultimately allows for lower degradation and higher efficiency compared to PERC cells.
How can installers decide what matters when getting N-type modules?
First is the module availability at multiple distributors. N-type is the direction the industry is going and installers need reliable access to inventory. N-type Topcon makes it easier for installers to install. Plus, the higher power and efficiency means they don’t have to install as many panels to generate the same power output. This ultimately saves them on BOS (balance of system) costs and installation times. It gives Installers the ability to choose the “best” part of the roof with more sun access, so they can get away from vents, pipes, chimneys or anything that might partially shade the modules.
What are a few concerns for homeowners as they decide what panels to put on their roof?
Homeowners, they worry that the solar panels will fail and not perform to their expectations. That’s why the TrinaProtect 25/25 Warranty Program helps deliver that peace of mind for homeowners. While a 12- or 15-year might sound good, don’t settle for anything less than 25 years on a warranty. To the warranty point, a warranty is just a piece of paper unless the company that issued it is still around to honor it. So, you want to look into the company’s bankability. How long have they been in business, what do other industry experts have to say about them?
This podcast is sponsored by Trina Solar