Getting more out of sunny days

19 April 2017 | Research
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SERIS’ new solar panel is more durable and produces up to 40 per cent more electric power than existing modules

The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at NUS has developed a new solar panel that is more durable and produces up to 40 per cent more electric power than existing modules in the market. The full-sized solar panel is covered with a mosaic of high-efficiency interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells on its front and rear surfaces, which enables it to produce up to 400W of electric power, much higher than conventional solar modules which generate power between 270W and 290W.

The new module uses 60 solar cells from the International Solar Energy Research Center Konstanz. All the contacts of the uniquely designed solar cell are placed on the back, which maximises the area available to catch sunlight, thus achieving higher current and efficiency output. The module is also able to absorb light from its front and rear sides, enabling higher power generation in the real world by converting sunlight received as a result of reflection from the ground and the surroundings.

The newly developed IBC bifacial module is a testimony of SERIS’ R&D capabilities in the PV module technology sector.

The module is structurally robust and is able to offer a warranty period of at least 30 years due to the double-glass insulation, a technique perfected by SERIS since 2009. In contrast, existing modules usually last for around 20 to 25 years.

SERIS’ innovative module uses low temperature interconnection technology which help to prevent the solar cells from getting warped from heat. In addition, a custom-designed electrical junction box prevents the rear surface from being shaded to ensure optimal exposure to light.

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Head of PV Module Development Group Dr Khoo Yong Sheng (left) and Research Engineer Mr Chai Jing with the full-sized IBC bifacial module

Dr Wang Yan, PV (photovoltaic) Module Director at SERIS, is delighted with the new product. “With SERIS’ new module design, each 60-cell IBC bifacial module will produce a stunning 400 Watts of power in the real world,” he said.

Speaking of the module, SERIS CEO Professor Armin Aberle explained, “The newly developed IBC bifacial module is a testimony of SERIS’ R&D capabilities in the PV module technology sector. The prototype module serves as a proof of concept for mass production. The next step will be to transfer the technology to industrial partners.” Prof Aberle believes that such a high power product could be available in the market within two years.

SERIS’ full-sized IBC dual-sided PV module will be on display at the booths of its industry collaborators during the SNEC 2017 International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai, China from 19 to 21 April.