BRIDGE TO INDIA hosted a webinar on January 28, 2021 to discuss solar module technology landscape. The panel included Ms. Chris Liu (Technical Head, LONGi), Mr. Ivan Saha (Chief Technology Officer, ReNew), Dr. Nikhil Agrawal (AGM Technology, Mahindra Susten) and Mr. Sai Charan Kuppili (Technical Director, Jinko).
Module technology is undergoing significant changes with more efficient cell technologies such as N- and P- type mono, Topcon and heterojunction besides bigger wafer and module sizes as well us use of bifacial modules. Adoption in the Indian market, traditionally a laggard in using new technologies, is also accelerating. According to the panellists, the market has almost entirely transitioned to mono-PERC modules this year particularly because multi-crystalline modules are being phased out in China. Use of bifacial technology, backed by successful pilots by the larger developers, is also on the rise.
Ms Liu mentioned that bifacial technology has been making rapid advances because of its higher output and its use would become very common over next 1-2 years. But a 100% transition to bifacial modules is not likely. She believes that this technology would be selected by developers based on project specific considerations including location and ground conditions (soil texture, moisture content and albedo).
Mr Saha added that the company has already been running small-scale pilots with different module technologies to gain first-hand experience of different module types. The other panellists agreed that new technologies are accepted more readily in India now but delay in BIS approvals continues to be a challenge. However, that might not necessarily be a bad thing as per Dr. Agrawal, who explained that extra time provides a useful opportunity to developers and contractors to analyse various performance parameters and gain valuable knowledge about new technologies.
According to Jinko’s Sai Charan Kuppili, levellised cost of electricity (LCOE) trumps all other considerations when project developers make module purchase decisions. He mentioned that bifacial modules yield output gains of minimum 7% without trackers and up to 14% with trackers.
Because of tight polysilicon supply and shortages of other raw materials like glass, module prices have been volatile in the past few months. Though the supply constraints are gradually easing, the module manufacturers expect prices to remain firm over the next two-three quarters.
You can view the webinar here.