GCL introduces mono-like solar panel – is it already economical?

Solar module from GCL System Integration Technology made of cast mono wafers
With 310 W, GCL-SI’s 60-cell mono-like module ranges between multicrystalline PERC (305 W) and mono PERC (315 W) – Image: GCL-SI

Chinese solar cell and module producer GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI) has started mass production of solar modules made of cast mono (also known as mono-like or quasi-mono) wafers from its affiliate GCL-Poly Energy Holdings.

GCL-SI, which currently has a total module production capacity of 6 GW, is planning to reach a capacity of 3 GW for mono-like modules in 2019.

Featuring 310 W, the highest power class of the 60-cell mono-like module ranges in the middle between GCL-SI’s equivalents of multicrystalline PERC (305 W) and monocrystalline PERC (315 W) modules.

Cast mono ingots are produced like their multicrystalline counterparts through directional solidification of liquid silicon in a crucible, but using monocrystalline seeds on the bottom.

The approach promises to combine the lower cost of multi-casting with the higher efficiency of monocrystalline cells. The key issue, however, is reaching a high monocrystalline yield and a tight cell efficiency distribution; otherwise, the process becomes uneconomical.

Therefore, Canadian Solar explained on a poster presented at the EU PVSEC last week that “cast mono still needs a long way to go into industry.”

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