Solar innovation remains a driving force that propels the industry forward as we enter the post-grid parity era. Among the latest advancements pushing the boundaries of PV module performance, n-type TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact) solar technology shines as the new standard.
Trina Solar's cutting-edge Vertex N and Vertex S+ modules lead the way in n-type by delivering unparalleled value, lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), and superior performance for utility-scale, Commercial and Industrial (C&I), and residential solar applications.
To help acquaint you with the modules, we’ve developed this two-part series outlining the technology behind these impressive modules and the benefits they offer.
What’s n-type TOPCon Solar Technology?
To begin, it’s essential to know the basics about what makes n-type TOPCon different from standard solar technology to help understand its benefits.
Unlike the boron used to dope conventional “Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact,” known as PERC or p-type solar cells, n-type cells use phosphorus. However, contact with oxygen makes boron prone to light degradation, but phosphorus doesn’t create this chemical reaction.
TOPCon stands for "Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact," a revolutionary approach that reduces electron recombination, increasing the solar cell’s overall energy conversion efficiency. The tunnel oxide layer acts as an effective barrier, preventing electron loss and enhancing the particle’s movement across the cell. The architecture allows for higher charge carrier mobility, ensuring more efficient electron transport and significantly reducing recombination losses.
This means that compared to traditional outshining p-type cells, n-type TOPCon cells demonstrate superior performance in efficiency, temperature coefficient, and potential-induced degradation (PID) resistance.
Trina’s commitment to research and development at the forefront of solar technology means investment in exploring new materials, cell architectures, and production techniques. This approach has allowed Trina to develop cutting-edge n-type TOPCon PV cells with remarkable efficiency rates and exceptional reliability, enabling the Vertex N and Vertex S+ modules to deliver superior performance, especially in challenging environmental conditions like high temperatures and low light.
Vertex N: Raising the Bar for Utility and C&I Solar Efficiency
For utility-scale solar and C&I project developers, maximizing energy output with high efficiency and guaranteed generation is paramount for minimizing operational costs. The experts agree that Vertex N achieves precisely that by offering several distinct advantages in quality, reliability, and performance over traditional PERC cells:
Supercharging Efficiency to New Heights
Vertex N represents a significant leap in solar efficiency. Its n-type TOPCon cell boasts lower recombination losses, enabling a remarkable conversion rate of up to 22.2%. This increased efficiency ensures the cell transforms more sunlight into usable electricity, maximizing energy output and making it a highly attractive choice for utility-scale and C&I solar projects.
Third-party testing by UL demonstrated that Vertex N modules’ energy yield was 3-4% higher than p-type modules.
Exceptional Durability and Reliability
In utility-scale projects, long-term durability and reliability are crucial to ensuring a stable and consistent energy supply. Vertex N is engineered to stand the test of time. Its robust design and stringent testing guarantee its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions, heavy loads, and potential damage. The modules have passed numerous extended reliability tests, including TC, DH, LeTId, PID, and UV, and compound mechanical tests conducted by authorized third parties.
This robust reliability translates into enhanced durability and reliability, leading to longer lifespans and reduced maintenance costs, ultimately lowering the LCOE and boosting the return on investment.
Improved Temperature Co-Efficient
In hot climates or during peak summer months, many solar panels experience reduced efficiency due to the temperature coefficient. The Vertex N modules exhibit improved performance by retaining higher efficiency levels when the temperature rises, making them ideal for utility-scale projects in sun-drenched regions.
Reduced Light-Induced Degradation
Another significant advantage of n-type TOPCon technology is its ability to withstand potential-induced degradation (PID) and light-induced degradation (LID). Trina Solar's cells exhibit excellent PID resistance, resulting in more reliable and durable solar modules, especially in regions with harsh environmental conditions.
Better Low Light Performance
Traditional PERC cells often struggle to produce significant power under low light conditions. In contrast, the TopCon technology in Vertex N modules enables them to capture more energy even in overcast or shaded environments, increasing overall energy harvest.
Unleash More Power with TrinaTracker Integration
Integrating the Vertex N with the TrinaTracker system proves to be a game-changer. This sophisticated solar tracking technology ensures that the panels continuously face the sun, capturing every available ray of sunlight. As a result, the Vertex N's energy yield skyrockets, surpassing fixed-tilt systems and even other tracking technologies, delivering more value for each unit of land or roof space utilized.
Trina Solar: Leading the Way in N-Type Production
By the end of 2023, Trina Solar's module production capacity is forecast to reach 95GW and cell production capacity is forecast to reach up to 75GW, with 40GW dedicated to n-type cells.
With their higher efficiency, improved temperature and low-light performance, and long-term reliability for the lowest LCOE and best value, Trina Solar's Vertex N modules are quickly becoming the preferred choice for utility-scale solar and C&I project developers, EPCs, and financers.
Check out Part 2 in this series, where we cover Vertex S+, a dedicated residential PV panel with up to 435W and 22% efficiency packed into a compact design.
Reach out to us today to learn more about the benefits of n-type TOPCon solar technology.
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