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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SunPower delivers larger module with 315W Peak Power

Solar Power 2006 begins with Opening Reception in Expo Hall at San Jose McEnery Convention Center

When I first read about the new SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) SPR-315 module on News.com (SunPower boosts solar panel output), I was a bit confused. I didn’t understand how the new module could have more high efficiency cells, higher power, and the same cost per watt all in the same module form factor. Well, a quick stop by the SunPower booth cleared up this contradiction. The SPR-315 module is 248mm (millimeters) wider than the SunPower SPR-220 module. The increased size is driven by the use of 96 series connected solar cells in the SPR-315 versus the 72 solar cells used in the SPR-220.

The SPR-315 panel uses Gen2 back contact solar cells with 22% conversion efficiency and made from larger monocrystalline silicon ingots so they are more square. There is less spacing between the cells in the module, and module efficiency has increased to 19.3% from 17.7% for the SPR-220. The SunPower press release, SunPower Announces High Power, Higher Efficiency Solar Panel, states the new modules will be available in the second quarter of 2007. Instead of highlighting the new, larger module form factor as an innovation, the press release fails to mention the SPR-315 module is 1559 x 1046mm in size. The SPR-315 delivers over 43% more power than the SPR-220 with 31% larger module area.

After attending EU PVSEC and Intersolar 2006 in Germany, it’s refreshing to be at a US trade show in San Jose, California. While free WiFi is common place here, the problem WiFi + Free is almost impossible to solve in Germany.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the dimentions Gunther. If you worked backwards from the press release quote you could get the same efficiency factor but I don't know why they didn't come out and say this in the first place. Curious. I know it won't be for a while but passing the 20% module efficiency doesn't seem far off.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Efficiency could be meaningless if the panel has a poor negative tolerance rating ! Their 200 and 215 watt solar panels only had a negative 8 percent negative tolerance rating.

Many solar panels on the market have a better negative 5 percent tolerance rating (Lower is better) For example their 215 watt solar panel has a negative 8% tolerance so this manufacturer would only guaranty that you would get 197.8 watts right out of the box even though you paid for 215 watts.

It says so right on their specification sheet, see (peak power tolerance) So if this new panel only has a peak power tolerance of negative 8 percent, you would be paying for 315 watts but they will only guaranty that you'll get 289.8 watts right out of the box. So much for efficiency !

9:00 PM  

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