2012 Crystalline Silicon Module Guide

Manufacturer Profiles and Product Specifications

The past year has been a tumultuous one for PV manufacturers, marked by notable events such as the escalation of the trade case against China and the exit of several manufacturers from the market, including SCHOTT Solar. Market analysts are projecting that global module supply will exceed global demand by 100% in 2012, and all indications point toward a significant consolidation of the PV manufacturing industry over the next 2–3 years. While the PV manufacturer landscape will likely change, perhaps dramatically, in the next few years, integrators are currently faced with more module options than ever before.

As part of our research to determine which manufacturers and models met the criteria for inclusion in our 2012 c-Si module specifications dataset, we reached out to all manufacturers with products listed to the UL 1703 standard that were also eligible for the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program. We consider the latter requirement to be a good indication of a manufacturer’s commitment to maintaining or establishing a presence in the North American market. We used the information we collected, coupled with information published on the various manufacturers’ websites, to develop profiles for each manufacturer that responded to our queries. We include background details for the companies and their products, as well as recent technological or business developments. For integrators interested in sourcing domestically made products, we present ARRA and Buy American Act compliance details for manufacturers that are producing products in the US. Products that have not been tested to IEC standard 61215 are noted.

The manufacturer profiles presented in this article compliment our 2012 c-Si module specifications table, which contains more than 900 c-Si PV models currently available in the US. Products included in the dataset have rated outputs of 200 W or higher and were listed as eligible for the CSI program per SB1 Guidelines as of June 15, 2012. An additional requirement is an established physical presence in the US that includes sales offices and product warehousing. Due to the large number of manufacturers and module models that met these criteria, the version of the dataset published in this article is abbreviated. The full dataset is available in Microsoft Excel format by clicking HERE and includes additional specifications, such as temperature coefficients, connector type, series fuse rating, frame and backsheet details, and materials and performance warranty information. SolarPro permits and encourages the integration of the Excel-based data with databases your company has developed for internal product tracking and system design activities.

MANUFACTURER PROFILES

Advanced Solar Photonics. Advanced Solar Photonics (ASP) is a US-based manufacturer of poly and mono c-Si modules. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueChip Energy. Headquartered near Orlando, Florida, in Lake Mary, the privately held firm commenced manufacturing and product sales in the US market in 2009. ASP purchases cells and assembles modules ranging from 175 W to 410 W. According to the manufacturer, the company has a production capacity of 100 MW and is currently the second-largest producer of c-Si modules in the US. ASP products are Buy American Act compliant for government, military and municipal projects. ASP recently launched a new series of bifacial doubleglass modules at Intersolar North America. The new module line was not listed as eligible for the CSI program at the time of publication.

Astronergy. Astronergy is a subsidiary of the Chint Group, a Chinese low-voltage electronics supplier headquartered in Hangzhou, China. Astronergy began manufacturing modules in 2006 and introduced product to the US market in 2008. The company reports a global PV manufacturing capacity of 700 MW. Astronergy’s US sales office is located in South San Francisco. Warehousing locations include South San Francisco and Hayward, California, as well as Edison, New Jersey, and Wilmington, North Carolina. Astronergy offers poly and mono c-Si products with power outputs up to 310 W. A separate subsidiary of the Chint Group, Chint Power Systems, has been increasingly active in the North American string and central inverter market in 2012.

AU Optronics. Formed in 2001, AU Optronics (AUO) is currently one of the largest manufacturers of liquid-crystal displays worldwide. The publicly traded Taiwanese company extended its market into the solar industry in 2008, and is currently active in polysilicon, ingot, wafer, cell and module processing and manufacturing. AUO operates three PV manufacturing facilities located in Taiwan, China and the Czech Republic. In 2012 AUO established a new division and solar brand, BenQ Solar. The division is active in residential, commercial and utility-scale project development on an international basis. BenQ’s US headquarters and sales office is located in Milpitas, California. AUO and BenQ Solar recently partnered with microinverter manufacturer SolarBridge to launch a listed ac module, the AC Unison.

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