Panasonic, Enphase to partner on high-efficiency AC module


Panasonic Corp. of North America and Enphase Energy Inc. are partnering on the development of high efficiency AC Modules (ACMs). To support this partnership, the 320W Enphase IQ 7X Microinverter offers compatibility with Panasonic’s N Series Photovoltaic (PV) Modules HIT (N325/N330), and will be made available to distributors starting May 2018.

“Panasonic prides itself on its dedication to delivering reliable products to our customers,” said Mukesh Sethi, Group Manager, Panasonic Residential Solar Group “This partnership with Enphase Energy will enable us to combine our products and expertise to offer a new solar solution that can help our customers meet their renewable energy needs. We look forward to our future with Enphase Energy and what we are able to achieve within the residential solar industry.”

A recent Enphase market survey of installers nationwide affirmed the value-add of AC modules, with significantly lower install times, and additional savings on logistics and overhead costs, making it a preferred choice for installers. Installers and Integrators also benefit from fewer inspection steps with factory-assembled and tested ACM products.

Panasonic’s N Series HIT® Modules are among the most efficient panels on the market, with high power outputs and greater energy yields due to their industry-leading temperature coefficient of -0.258% /⁰C. Panasonic solar modules keep at least 90.76% of their initial power output even after 25 years of use.

“The N series PV Modules are manufactured for peak performance, making them an ideal partner for the Enphase IQ 7X Microinverter,” said Mr. Sethi. “With a unique heterojunction technology and advanced bifacial cells, these high efficiency panels offer homeowners state-of-the-art features and maximum solar production.”

As part of Enphase’s seventh-generation microinverter platform, the IQ 7X Micro will support 96-cell PV modules up to 400W with peak AC output power of 320W and a Maximum Power Point (MPP) tracking range of 53-64V.

When combined with the Enphase Envoy Gateway, AC Combiner 2.0 with built-in Revenue Grade Meter (RGM) and disconnects, the Panasonic-Enphase ACMs will provide highly advanced PV systems to home owners and quick installation time for integrators and installers. Compliant with Rapid Shutdown Requirements of NEC 2017, the IQ 7 Microinverter System will significantly lower overhead costs and offer homeowners a safe residential PV systems solution.

— Solar Builder magazine

What to see at Panasonic’s booth at Solar Power Northeast in Boston, Feb 5-6

Panasonic solar solutions

Are you headed to Boston for Solar Power Northeast next week? Panasonic Eco Solutions North America is and will be showcasing its high performance HIT solar panels and energy storage products at booth 208.

The HIT solar panel products that will be on display include the all-black 40 mm N320K panels that feature an industry-leading temperature coefficient of -0.258%. The Panasonic booth will also be fitted with the high-efficiency 40 mm N330 and N325 solar panels that offer 19.7% higher power output and greater energy yields, as well as a lower 0.26% annual degradation when compared to conventional panels.

The Harbor Plus smart battery, co-developed by Panasonic and Pika Energy, will also be available for viewing in the booth. The Harbor Plus is a scalable and flexible smart battery unit that offers between 10.6 kWh and 15.9 kWh of usable energy, making it simple for system owners to accommodate their changing energy needs. Alongside the Harbor Plus battery will be Panasonic’s lithium-ion rechargeable battery that can be used across a wide range of portable electronic applications.

Representing Panasonic at Solar Power Northeast will be Mukesh Sethi, Group Manager for the Solar and Energy Storage Products Division of Panasonic Eco Solutions North America, and Chris Brown, Business Development and Sales Manager. Mukesh and Chris will be available to discuss the current lineup of Panasonic products, as well as what the company has in store for 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine

Panasonic promotes three more solar installers to rank of Premium Installer

Panasonic solar solutions

Panasonic Corporation of North America is expanding its Solar Installer program with three authorized installers of HIT solar modules being promoted to the exclusive “Premium Installer” status. They are (drum roll…)

• Solar Service Inc., Niles, IL
• Arch Electric, Plymouth, WI
• HE Solar, Buda, TX

Panasonic unveiled this program last year to provide a number of value-added benefits and business opportunities to partners who are able to meet Panasonic’s high standard of excellence. Earlier this year, Panasonic announced the inaugural class of Premium Installers – nine in total – who cover both the East and West Coasts.

Panasonic’s Solar Installer program is comprised of “Authorized” and “Premium” installers. Premium installers are those companies that have completed a minimum requirement of HIT module installations and have met an annual wattage target. These installers promote Panasonic as their primary brand of solar modules, and they receive a range of benefits from Panasonic to enhance their offerings to customers.

Module Evolution: What big-time PV improvements will boost panel efficiency?

Premium installers will be part of continuous efforts with Panasonic to promote the HIT brand among the installers’ area of operation. They will receive leads generated through Panasonic’s website, where the installer will be listed as premium. Premium installers are also the beneficiary of cooperative marketing funds provided by Panasonic, at twice the level of funds provided for Authorized Installers, to help grow their business and attract even more customers.

“We’re pleased to see our Solar Installer program thriving with the promotion of three new Premium Installers, for a total of twelve, in just a few short months,” said Mukesh Sethi, Group Manager of the Solar Division of Panasonic Eco Solutions North America.

As the Solar Installer program continues to expand, Panasonic will aim to bring industry leading companies into these mutually beneficial relationships.

— Solar Builder magazine

PV Pointers: Silicon heterojunction solar cell technology moves beyond the lab

There’s been lots of buzz about silicon heterojunction [SHJ] solar cells and rightly so. SHJ is one of the more promising solar panel technologies to come along in some time due to its proven ability to improve conversion efficiency. In addition, panels employing SHJ cells have been able to improve overall temperature coefficient power output — to as low as 0.258 percent — helping to solve a problem that has caused more than a few solar panels to sputter on especially hot days.

How we got here

PanasonicThe history of SHJ goes back to 1980 in a lab at Sanyo Electric (now Panasonic). Sanyo engineered the world’s first amorphous silicon solar cells but given their low conversion efficiency — less than 10 percent — practical applications were limited. In the late 1980s, Sanyo continued to tinker, eventually developing solar cells with laminated amorphous silicon and thin-film polysilicon. Bucking the prevailing wisdom of the day, the amorphous silicon was used only as a conductive passivation material rather than as an electricity-generating layer. The result was greatly improved junction characteristics, and the SHJ solar cell was born. Sanyo researchers presented their findings at the Fifth Photovoltaic Conference in Kyoto, an international gathering of the photovoltaic research community, and excitement quickly spread. Ensuing milestones include the attainment of 20 percent efficiency in 1994 followed by the 1997 rollout of the world’s first commercially-marketed heterojunction solar cell. Since then, SHJ has seen continued improvement with the technology underpinning current records for conversion efficiency and reduced degradation rates.

Why are SHJ cells superior?

Let’s start with base materials. SHJ solar cells are made using a combination of amorphous silicon layers and monocrystalline silicon wafers, a material less prone to degradation under prolonged, intense light exposure. This unique construction lets the solar cell produce electricity at both the front and rear of the cell. Further, the use of multiple materials allows for the insertion of wider bandgaps, which lets the cell respond to multiple light wavelengths. The net result is superior conversion and the ability to maintain near-peak efficiency at higher temperatures.

Given the proven benefits of silicon heterojunction technology, why are some manufacturers sticking with older, more conventional technologies that use amorphous silicon only? While the benefits of SHJ have become widely accepted, high production costs have remained a stumbling block. But with recent advances in the metallization process that leverages SHJ’s ability to be processed at lower temperatures than amorphous silicon cells, SHJ may finally be moving into the mainstream. While SHJ panels still demand higher upfront costs than non-SHJ counterparts, higher conversion efficiencies, guaranteed performance metrics and longer warranties — up to 25 years from some manufacturers — have shortened the payback window enough to win over consumers who see the wisdom in committing to solar energy for the long haul.

Mukesh Sethi is group manager, residential solar team, at Panasonic.

— Solar Builder magazine

See Panasonic’s new 40mm frame HIT solar modules at SPI


At SPI, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America will exhibit be showing off several new products and presenting on the latest advancements in HIT high-efficiency PV modules with innovative silicon heterojunction technology at booth 6701.

The solar panel products that will be on display are the HIT N315K and N320K, Panasonic’s new line of all-black solar panels that have an industry-leading temperature coefficient of -0.258 percent, as well as the N335 and N330 solar panels, the latest in Panasonic’s line of high-efficiency solar modules with a new 40mm frame. These solar modules are manufactured with “N” type cells, which reduce the annual performance degradation from 0.70 percent to 0.26 percent when compared to conventional solar panels.

Earlier this year, Panasonic and Pika Energy Inc. partnered to create the Harbor Flex and Harbor Plus, DC-coupled solar smart batteries with industry-leading performance specifications. Panasonic will also be exhibiting a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, with a wide range of portable electronic applications.

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— Solar Builder magazine