With so much chatter surrounding the differences between modules using 210mm wafer sizes versus those using 182mm ones, sometimes the numbers need to speak for themselves.
So Trina Solar put its new generation of ultra-high-power 600W+ Vertex Series with 210mm wafer sizes to the test. We brought in Black & Veatch, a global independent services provider to solar projects, to complete a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) assessment.
The assessment compared the LCOE of a hypothetical 100MW installation in Texas using Trina's 660W Vertex Series with 210mm wafer sizes to PV systems using modules with wafer sizes of 182mm 535W (M10), 158mm 485W (G1), and 166mm 450W (M6).
Results of the Assessment
The higher power output of the 210mm 660W Vertex Series meant the PV system deploying them needed fewer modules to achieve the same energy generation as the systems using modules with smaller wafer sizes. Compared with the 182mm 535W system, the 210mm 660W Vertex Series required 44,240 fewer modules, saving 18.9%.
A PV system with fewer modules and higher power substantially reduced the overall CAPEX and BOS costs, resulting in the 210mm 660W Vertex system achieving the lowest calculated LCOE of the five modules assessed. Compared to the 182mm 535W modules, Trina's 210mm 660W modules reduced CAPEX up to 4.58% and lowered LCOE up to 3.94%.
The resulting LCOE calculations for each of the five types of modules were:
- Trina DuoMax 450W 166mm had an LCOE of $24.99
- Trina DuoMax 480W 158mm had an LCOE of $24.32
- Tier 1 Generic 535W 182mm had an LCOE of $23.59
- Trina Vertex 545W 210mm had an LCOE of $23.27
- Trina Vertex 660W 210mm had an LCOE of $22.66
The difference is clear.
Low-Volt, High-String PV System Design
Having higher-powered PV panels alone isn’t a game-changer. These large-format modules need an intelligent system design to fully optimize the system and lower LCOE.
So Trina Solar's research and development team introduced an innovative low-voltage, high-string design to improve PV system efficiency and reduce BOS costs. Compared with other modules, the 210mm Vertex Series provided savings of $843,000 for the rack and post material and installation – 4.5% of the project costs. Indirect construction had savings of 20%, and BOS material and installation saved 21% due to the 660W Vertex modules having the highest power output. All these additional BOS savings further drive down LCOE.
The Black & Veatch LCOE assessment did not include the added value of bundling the modules in the TrinaPro smart utility solar solution, which streamlines procurement and optimizes interconnection. Nor did the assessment include the TrinaTracker system, which provides efficiency gains of up to 30%. But when coupled with the 210mm Vertex Series, this advanced solar ecosystem is ushering in a new era of 600W+ PV to continue driving down LCOE and boosting PV system value.
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