When it comes to powering your house with solar energy, standard PV solar panels could be a good option. However, you might be interested in trying out the new cutting-edge technology of shingled solar panels.
Shingled panels cut solar cells into strips and overlap them inside the framed module. Intercell gaps are removed, and more silicon cells can be crammed into one module, increasing power output and module efficiency. Shingled solar panels are likely the rightmost limit of crystalline silicon solar development. It is the highest power and efficiency you can get with traditional, undoped crystalline silicon.
Why Use Shingled Technology?
The most commonly used solar panel these days looks like the split cell solar modules. You will notice that each cell has been cut into two halves. The reason why manufacturers’ do this is the reduced electrical current passing through the solar panel.
Why reduce the current? Well, a lower current means a lower temperature and less heat, which leads to better efficiency and reliability.
A split cell panel starts with a single cell, which is cut in half – hence the name “split cell or half-cut cell”. While Coulee shingled solar panel cuts a cell into 5 or 6 strips, therefore reducing current even further, making a solar panel have less chance of suffering from hotspots. Thin strips are overlapped like a shingled roof structure, saving space and therefore making the overall solar panel smaller, which improves the efficiency rating.
Also, shingled panels have the potential for flexibility in the size and shape of modules, better aesthetic appearance, and improved tolerance to shading.
Higher Power Density
Shingled solar panels can produce higher power per square meter than conventional solar modules since they no longer require several meters of ribbon across the module, allowing a full effective area of utilization. This means there are more solar cells exposed to sunlight and producing more energy. Consequently, as shingled panels are not spaced apart using multiple busbars (MBB) or soldered ribbons like in conventional ones, their modules can achieve a higher power density in less space.
Panel Efficiency: Depending on the cell type and interconnection, the quality of the energy conversion process will vary. Whether you are using mono PERC, half-cut MBB, or any other available solar technology, the percentages of panel efficiency range from 15% to 22.6%. Nevertheless, the shingled panels can achieve efficiencies from 18% to 20.5%.
Furthermore, like many other solar module advancements, singling solar can be combined with glass-glass and bifacial techniques. Since more of the module can be covered by solar cells, shingling solar is a very suitable method for bifacial modules. More light can be absorbed, and “back-escape” losses can be reduced, which normally occur when light passes through the gaps in traditional bifacial modules.
Solar module strength against external forces (such as wind and snow) is an important aspect when it comes to the reliability of any solar panels. Thus, solar module load testing is a must in the manufacturing process.
According to various static and dynamic tests of mechanical loading, the shingled solar cell approach is more resistant to a failure caused by external forces being applied to the panel when compared to conventional solar cells.
For example, while a conventional half-cut cell module has some micro-cracks and a slight power attenuation of around 1% when it’s tested by the means of an IEC standard 5,400Pa positive load, shingled solar cells have no power attenuation and no micro-cracks after the same test.
While standard solar modules might not be the most attractive as they have several circuitries visible across the modules’ area, shingled solar cells improve the building design by getting rid of many of the ribbons and busbars used in conventional modules.
For people who are focused on aesthetics, it is one of the nicest-looking solar panels out there. There are quite a few “all-black” panels that have a black back sheet and frame and to be fair, they look awesome as well. But, due to increased heat retention in the panel, you lose a bit of efficiency going all-black. Thus, Coulee shingled panels have achieved a unique all-black look by hiding the visible circuitry under the overlapped cells, giving a sleeker line as well as obtaining higher power output.
Lower Energy Loss
Conventional solar modules commonly have their individual cells wired in series, so when a particular portion of the modules is shaded, a bypass diode will be activated turning off that side of production and leaving only the remaining cells of the module, resulting in power loss.
In contrast, since shingled solar cells are wired in parallel, a lower amount of cells will be affected by the shading effect in a section of the module. This translates into substantially reducing energy losses.
Moreover, using shingled panels greatly reduces the ohmic losses as the current is lower (which also improves temperature performance) than traditional ribbon-connected strings because of the smaller area of the “shingles”.
Are Shingled Solar Panels Right For You?
As we have seen, shingled solar panels are currently innovating a wide range of advanced features in terms of solar energy optimization. Major developments of this technology have taken place in the residential sector so far, while it might take more time to achieve a relevant presence in the commercial and industrial market.
Nevertheless, solar shingled panels are a quite promising technology as more manufacturers and retailers are diving into them, which is resulting in a greater supply and decreasing prices. Therefore, they are progressively becoming more accessible for all types of consumers.
Additionally, if you are someone who likes to have the latest cutting-edge technology then you would need to compare solar shingles and shingled solar panels. In this aspect, shingled solar panels have a few significant pros that can make them considerably better to choose from.
Since solar shingles are a structural part of your house roof, manufacturing and installing them is not a simple task that has to be thoroughly analyzed to match your energy requirements, thus, it’s costly.
On the other hand, the simple manufacturing process of shingled solar panels makes them much less expensive than solar shingles. The smaller current in the cells also offers opportunities to reduce the cell manufacturing costs by a reduction in the usage of silver.
Shingled solar panels require very little to no maintenance to function. The only thing they need is a periodic cleaning to make sure dirt, leaves, and other debris aren’t obstructing the sunlight. The only time you may need more extensive maintenance is during periods of extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall.
Solar shingles have more difficult maintenance. Since they are integrated into the building, if one shingle cell gets damaged, it will result in a much bigger issue to replace it.
Is it for you?
Long story short, solar shingled panels are a great option to consider, mainly in the residential market, so it is applicable to any homeowner who wants to have solar on the roof just as with traditional solar modules.
Considering all the benefits of using them, such as enhanced power production, highly efficient energy conversion, great reliability, better performance under shading, and improved aesthetics, this makes them valuable products that can improve your carbon footprint and lead to energy savings.