Suntech Holdings, which is the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, now offers a 300-watt (0.3 kW) solar panel for utility-scale power plants (power plants that are usually upwards of tens of millions of watts), as well as commercial-scale solar power projects (powering office buildings is an example of commercial use).
The new Ve-Series module has 72 multicrystalline cells and a 15.5% efficiency. In addition, it features an improved frame design and has a 1000 volt operational certification conforming to standards set by the US Underswriters Laboratories product safety organization. John Lefebvre, President of Suntech America, says the module will “lower balance of system costs and generate a better levelized cost of electricity”.
Specifically, the frame thickness has been reduced from 50mm to 40mm with the module’s overall weight reduced by 2.6lb. Certified to withstand extreme wind and snow loads, the new frame design is also intended to help reduce shipping, handling and storage costs – a pallet of the new Ve-Series modules has 19% more power than a pallet of Suntech’s older-generation Vd-Series modules, claims the company. And with more efficient module handling and installation, labour costs can also be cut.
Meantime, the UL1000V certification allows the modules to be safely connected in longer string series than previously permitted by the 600V industry standard. “Ultimately, this improvement facilitates more efficient large-scale solar project designs and reduces balance of system (BOS) costs such as inverters, wiring and combiner boxes,” Suntech says.