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BYD Betting On “Glass-Glass” PV Modules

Image Credit: BYDOne of the major players in the solar energy, electric vehicles, and next-gen batteries markets — BYD Company — will be pursuing “glass-glass” photovoltaic (PV) module technology as it begins expanding its solar panel manufacturing operations, according to recent reports.

The company’s General Manager of Global Solar Sales, Tom Zhao, recently stated that owing to the cost reduction potential of glass-glass photovoltaic modules, the company will probably transition away from conventional module production completely (completely).

In recent years, glass-glass PV modules have become increasingly common in the broader solar energy market (see: SolarWorld Introduces Glass-Glass Solar Panel, Amid Debt Crisis; for an example). The main driver for this is that glass-glass modules possess longer working lifetimes, and come with longer warranties (as well as reduced balance-of-system costs), owing to the protective glass encapsulation on both the front and the back.

Part of the reason for the use of the approach are the recent developments in the area of cost-competitive thin solar glass — thereby facilitating cheaper production.

All of this being true, dual-glass modules still make a minority position in the broader market. With a growing and notable firm like BYD backing the technology, though, this may soon change.

“I don’t want to produce traditional modules anymore,” Zhao stated bluntly in a recent interview with pv magazine. “This is because with traditional modules there is no further chance for cost reductions.”

Whereas, elsewhere, cost reductions can be achieved “because its 430 silica gel module is frameless, that one process step and material cost can be removed. Reducing silver usage is also a cost reduction lever targeted by BYD production of the module.”

Other reasons for the choice include: “improved” module performance, reduced potential induced degradation, and improved balance/of-system costs.

“The most important thing is that this module is not only reducing the cost of the module itself, but also it is the first module that reaches high voltage to 1500V DC, and it is the first module of its type in the market now.”

“We have the strong confidence to go 100% glass-glass because the cost advantage is very significant and as the volume of production goes up the cost comes down even lower,” stated Zhao.

A timeframe for the transition is currently unclear, though. Zhao was unwilling to state anything firm on that subject.

Image Credit: BYD

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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