Solaria Technology To Be Licensed By SunEdison For 400 W Modules

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Solaria’s manufacturing technology will be licensed by SunEdison to make its 400-watt solar modules, which are called ZERO WHITE SPACE. So what is the Solaria advantage? It’s probably better to let the company describe it: “We start with proven materials – standard crystalline silicon solar cells. Using advanced proprietary semiconductor manufacturing processes, the cells are singulated into highly uniformed strips, packaged, and tested. The improvements in efficiency, thickness and silicon cost are unmatched, while delivering highly customized solutions and high power density.” The Solaria technology will help SunEdison mass produce the 400-watt modules.


The SunEdison modules reduce electrical losses and increases the active area, which creates more output. With Zero White Space, there is less unused area on the front surface of the solar module, so they can fit better into tight spaces. They also have a black finish, which some customers prefer. ZWS technology allowed solar modules with a 350 watt peak to be increased to 400 watt peaks.

“SunEdison’s solar materials team has completed the development of the new 400-watt SunEdison ZERO WHITE SPACE solar module. This architecture squeezes more electricity out of the module by reducing the amount of  unproductive white space surrounding each cell. By licensing Solaria’s state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, we’re able to get SunEdison ZERO WHITE SPACE modules to market much quicker. These new modules are our most efficient yet, and are ideally suited for home and business applications where space is limited,” explained Bang Nguyen, a SunEdison executive.

Solaria is located in Fremont, California and employs about 13 people. SunEdison has its headquarters near St.Louis, Missouri and has about 7,000 employees. The connection between the two companies is intriguing and seems to indicate there might be a potential for acquisition, if the licensing deal goes well.

Solaria is one of a number of cleantech companies located near or in Silicon Valley.

Image Credit: Solaria

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11 thoughts on “Solaria Technology To Be Licensed By SunEdison For 400 W Modules

  • This is huge. 350W modules are just coming onto the market, so really, a lot of the projects out there still use 300 – 330W modules. At 400W and with module conversion / active area efficiency driving most of the output, this means about 25% less land / roofspace needed plus 25% less racking, mechanical support, wiring, etc. In addition, I don’t know if they’re keeping the same number of cells in the modules, but it sounds like these modules will increase their output more through an increase in operating current as opposed to operating voltage. While increasing the current may seem more like a problem, this allows for more power (in W) to be produced by the same sized string (in V) since string voltage is the determining factor in how many modules the inverter can handle. This will enable a lot more residential jobs to go to one string or bigger residential jobs to go to two. This eliminates the need for combiner boxes, fusing, homerun cable length and might even reduce the number of inverters some jobs would require. For jobs using micro-inverters, this will definitely reduce the number required per kW of output as well.

    • Well there was this “applications where space is limited,”. Presumably that implies that the panel cost per watt is at enough of a premium that it doesn’t pay unless you are space limited.

      • Maybe. They also said they use proven materials and the cell material is “singulated” (whatever that means) into strips. Don’t know if this is a revamp of defunct Evergreen Solar’s silicon ribbon process or something entirely different.

        Anyway, the extra cost may come from this “singulation” process, changing the module fabrication process to accommodate it, or even just the licensing fee going to Solaria. Sun Edison modules were already not the cheapest but provided good overall value nonetheless. By bringing up module wattage to 400W, who knows if the $/W went up, down or stayed the same, it all depends on the hard price quotes on the product. My point still stands on lowering BOS costs and land lease costs (for utility projects) where these modules are used. With competition tight in the module industry, I doubt Sun Edison wants to be an outlier on price at the high end.

        • If space limited projects are willing to pay a premium price, and there is only a limited supply of highly efficient modules, it would make sense to charge what the market will bear.

    • What is the area of this 400W panel ? What is it’s full area efficiency ? Are you certain that it has increased by 25% over existing 300-330W modules ?

      • No idea. 25% is a WAG based on the move from 300W to 400W being a 33% increase. I would assume the zero blank space approach plus any efficiency gains over their existing product could provide a lot of the power gain since significantly larger modules might not be compatible with existing manufacturing lines.

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    • I don’t know if it’ll double SE’s margin, but it’s definitely one piece of the puzzle in lowering costs and increasing output.

  • Does anyone know if these panels are the same physical size as current 250w panels or are they just bigger panels?

    • Yes same physical size.

      The SolarCity ones are meant to be the same physical size.

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