With the invention of solar panels, a scope of better and more sustainable energy resources also became a part of our lives. Up till now solar panels and their basic three types namely monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film PV panels have catered to the demand for solar panels. But did you know there is a half-cell solar panel also available? Never heard about it? Well then, get to know about this today along with what are half-cell solar panel types.
What is Half Cell Solar Panel? What is the Purpose of a Half Cell?
A solar panel comprised of wired half-cut solar panels is known as a half cell solar panel. Traditional silicon solar cells are cut into half with a laser and then wired together to form a panel. This solar panel has double modules, as a standard 60 cells or 72-cell solar panel has 60 and 72 cells whereas a half-cell solar panel of 60-cell module will have 120 half-cut cells and a 72-cell solar panel have 144 half-cut solar cells. The following characteristics will help you understand what is the purpose of a half cell
1. Improved Low-Light Performance
As compared to traditional solar panels, half-cell solar cell has the least influence of shade and low light conditions. It is due to a minimal wiring difference in both types. Half-cut solar cells are connected in sequence with double rows. If a row is shaded there will not be much power loss as only a sixth of the whole energy production is affected.
With double the number of cells and rows overall durability of a half cell solar panel also increases, making it more reliable and less sensitive to micro-cracks. Their overall performance also increases.
3. Fewer Hot Spots
With half-cut solar cells, twice cell strings are used with this only half amount of heat is produced which causes the least possible damage to the panels that increase module longevity by improving resistance to hot spot damage.
4. Price Performance
With an ensured lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), the overall cost of a solar panel system is also reduced. These solar cells have a quicker payback period with no compromise on their quality and output.
5. Reduced Power Loss
Power losses in a solar panel system are common due to high resistance, which is reduced with half-cut solar cells. Twin cells (two pieces of half-cut solar cells) are wired together that enhance current transport throughout the system. The movement of electrons in the circuit is restricted by a 5-busbar design which in turn increases transmission and the power of internal resistance is reduced.
6. Shade Tolerance
Loss of power from the shaded portion and not the entire panel is restricted by bypass diodes. A new path is created within the circuit for current to effectively avoid shaded parts and travel to unshaded parts. In partial shadow conditions, efficiency is increased with this method with reduced effect of shading. After this, let’s learn what is half cell technology.
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What is Half Cell Technology?
Laser technology is used in cutting a solar cell into two halves which are then known as twin cells. Then a half cell solar technology that incorporates cutting-edge technologies improves the durability and efficiency of a single solar cell and a solar panel as a whole. Further, in what is half cell technology there are two producers.
- REC Solar is a pioneer in half cell technology, and it introduced its first in 2014.
- Trina Solar also manufactures extra-large solar panels with half cell technology.
Also See: Multi Busbar Technology in Solar Panels
How Half Cut Solar Cell Works? Can a Half-Cell Work Independently?
The current produced by a half cut solar cell is also half in a half cell solar panel than a complete solar cell. Also, resistance will be reduced to 1/4th. Another step in how half cut solar cell works is wiring. Half cut solar cells are wired together to make a solar panel work just the same and produce the same amount of current as a standard solar panel, but resistance will be halved. Internal current within these half-cut cells is divided throughout the system thus improving its performance.
Are you wondering can a half-cell work independently? No, a half cell cannot work independently because it needs to be wired with its other half for current to flow through the strings. After this, let’s learn about half cell solar panel test.
What is Half Cell Solar Panel Test?
A half cell solar panel undergoes similar efficiency tests to its counterpart full cell solar panel. Its tests matter as it determines the efficiency and other important characteristics of solar panels. Every solar panel needs to meet Standard Test Conditions (STC).
1. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC): It sets the standards for other testing facilities to adhere to.
- IEC 61215 Standards for crystalline silicon terrestrial PV modules: Test for electrical characteristics like insulation resistance and wet leakage current, mechanical load test for wind and snow. Along with climate tests for hot spots, humidity-freeze, hail impact, UV exposure, and outdoor exposure.
- IEC 61730 Standard for PV module safety addresses the safety aspects of solar panels considering their construction for evaluating electrical, thermal, fire, and mechanical safety.
- IEC 62716 Ammonia corrosion testing of photovoltaic (PV) to determine the resistance of solar panels to ammonia. These are mostly for panels installed on farms and near livestock.
- IEC 61701 Salt mist corrosion testing for if panels will be installed on a beach house. Sprays of salt mist are used to inspect physical damage like delamination or corrosion of panels.
- IEC 60068-2-68 Blowing and sand resistance testing to determine how well a panel withstands in a sandy desert environment.
2. Underwriters Laboratories (UL): a United States-based global safety certification company.
- UL 1703 tests panels for stimulated climatic and aging along with fire, mechanical, chemical, and electrical hazards.
- UL 61730 combines testing procedures and standards of UL 1703 and IEC 61730 with complete international approval in terms of the safety and performance of solar panels.
Also Read: How Many Volts Does a Solar Panel Produce?
Why Half-Cell is Called Half-Cell? What are Half Cell Solar Panel Types?
Well, a half-cell is called half-cell because a full cell is cut into two halves with a laser. Together they are known as twin cells. I guess you wondered why half-cell is called half-cell.
In half cell solar panel types, you get both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panel options. People prefer monocrystalline half-cut solar panels because they are traditionally highly efficient, and their performance increases more with half-cut solar cells. After this, let’s learn about half cell solar panel advantages and disadvantages.
Also See: 3 Leading Types Of Solar PV System
What are Half Cell Solar Panel Advantages And Disadvantages?
Reduced resistance is a plus point of a half-cell solar panel. Here is a list of half cell solar panel advantages and disadvantages.
- Increased Efficiency: During installation, space is saved to increase the spatial distance of the cells thus increasing efficiency.
- Increased Power Generation: With more internal light reflection from the back sheet into the cell there is an increase in power generation.
- Less Metal Coating: Reduced metallization is required that reduces internal resistance with increased current flow.
- Reduced Operating Temperature: With the proper balance of current between shaded and unshaded regions of solar panel, the overall operating temperature is also reduced.
- Expensive: Cutting a solar cell in half with laser technology along with other additional technological advances makes manufacturing prices higher, thus overall cost also increases.
- Soldering: It is possible that cells are soldered together which can reduce efficiency and durability.
- Internal Misfunctioning: There is a possibility of this after cutting a cell into half which is left unnoticed may reduce the overall durability and efficiency of panels.
Also See: 10 Ocean Energy Advantages and Disadvantages
Are Half-Cell Solar Panels Better? What is Half Cut Solar Panel Efficiency?
After learning about half cell solar panel advantages and disadvantages, you must also want to know are half-cell solar panels better. The answer to this is yes, half-cell solar panels are better in terms of efficiency and performance. Half cut solar panel efficiency is more than their full counterparts. Here is a list of things that make them more efficient.
1. Box design: A split or dual junction box design is another feature of a half cell solar panel as it is a single unit connecting the solar panels to the rest of the system via a bypass diode. The junction box in a split cell technology is divided into 3 parts and each part has a bypass diode as well as an internal string.
2. Cell passivation technology: The process of depositing a unique dielectric layer on the back of a solar cell above an aluminum metallization layer is known as passivation. This along with Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact (PERC) technology enables a better output even in low light performance, thus increasing efficiency.
3. Number of busbars: Solar cells are metalized with busbars that are thin strips at the front and back of each solar panel. These strips link the panel together and allow the flow of direct current (DC). In half-cut solar panels number of busbars increases and with that there is increased current flow. After this, let’s learn about half cut cell solar panels price.
Also Read: How Much Power Does a 100w Solar Panel Produce
What is Half Cut Cell Solar Panels Price?
Usually, a half-cut cell solar panel’s price range begins from about $100 per piece for 400W. You have to pay more if you prefer higher voltage panels. However, other factors affecting the price are
- Power capacity
- Space required for installation
The price range of half cut cell panels is more than traditional solar panels as manufacturing costs are also high.
Well, today you learned about half cell solar panels which was an interesting piece of information about solar panels. What is the purpose of a half cell? The answer to this question lies in continuous efforts and steps undertaken by industrialists to increase the efficiency and performance of solar panels. By the way, do you have full cell solar panel or its half counterpart? We would love to hear your feedback on the same.
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