Oscar Wilde once said “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Through some in-depth research we were able to uncover the original quote and found the final part was missing some words and should actually have been “Sex is about module rated power.” 

We never knew Oscar was such a fan of high efficiency solar panels (or how that went for him), but we do think he was on to something. Power is sexy. That is, high powered solar panels are sexy…

But “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Whoever said that probably had some good NAI (non-artificial intelligence) and human-learning capability. There is real deception in the unfiltered pursuit of power, not just in life, but also in your solar panels. Eventually the raw and sole pursuit of power for powers sake never works out well.

But enough of this elegant discourse, what are we actually talking about? We aren’t sure either and that means you have come to Autarco’s Solar Satire.

Welcome to Solar Satire Volume #1. Where we promise to:

  1. Call them solar panels and not modules.
  2. Get our facts wrong at least once
  3. Offend some people with slightly inappropriate comments
  4. Be completely unbiased towards our competitors (NOT!)
  5. Educate the **** out of you

In this session we are actually talking about power and reliability. You’ve probably noticed your options for module types have increased in the past few months. It has partly to do with the removal of MIP and partly to do with maturity of the next stage in module advancements. As you know, Autarco never offered a 5BB halfcut and waited it out to directly deliver more advanced technology, our Silverpoint and multiwire halfcut panels. We wanted to explain why.

Choosing the right module technology must be about more than finding the lowest EUR/Wp or finding the highest rated power. Our approach at Autarco is to offer our partners the module with the perfect mix between price and long-term performance with a zero tolerance on sacrificing any reliability. In other words we seek to reduce EUR/kWh over systems life (LCOE if you prefer) that can be delivered with certainty and insured.

This approach resulted in a decision to not offer a 5BB half-cut module in to the market and to skip directly to multi-wire and Silverpoint technology. The additional 5Wp in powerclass delivered by 5BB halfcut was not worth the additional risk that doubling the soldering points on traditional busbars introduced. Our worship of the Gods of reliability (on your knees! NOW!) meant the increased risk of interconnection defects and microcracks was not worth the additional power class.

There is a very good reason that the vast majority of 5BB halfcut modules were sold in to the distributed rooftop market and not so much the utility space; Professional asset owners and experienced developers perceived them as risky and wouldn’t use them. How can you trust a brand that is selling you something they are not using on their own projects they have a real stake in? Component brands are the worst, don’t be fooled in to thinking they care about you or your customers.

So why are they even being produced? Well, did we mention that components brands suck? It was an easy win for them with zero consequence. Half-cut can be produced without any real upgrade or investment in to production lines and Rooftop distributors/installers wanted higher power classes to get an edge on the competition. In most cases, neither party has a long term stake in the reliability of the system so there is little motivation to consider the potential long term risks.

“Hold on!”, you might be saying, “Autarco’s new MHE series (335Wp available now) is a multi-wire halfcut solar panel, So instead of 5×120 interconnections you have 9 x 120 interconnections, by the same logic that should be more risky than 5BB halfcut.”

It’s a good question! Let us explain.

Multiwire is a completely new technology compared to traditional busbars, it is a leap rather than a gradual shift like we saw from 3 to 4 to 5 busbars. There are fundamental changes in the way multiwire technology works. You are using a thin round wire rather than a flat bus-bar which delivers reflective benefits increasing power. Two key changes in production reduce the likelihood of interconnection and microcrack related defects occurring.

  • Lower pressure is exerted on the cell during soldering
  • Lower temperature is used during soldering

As well as a reduced likelihood of defects, if a defect does occur, the impact is far more contained, effectively impacting only 1/9 of the cell as opposed to 1/5. All credit to the genius engineers at Autarco for helping with that maths.

For those of a really conservative nature and think any form of soldering would best be avoided (Oh holy God of reliability we offer up our lives) you also have our backcontact Silverpoint technology to consider, now available in 60 cell 340Wp format with insured 30yr output guarantee and eligible for our unique insured kWh Guarantee. “That’s pretty impressive” you say? We hear you.

Did you know that a 0.1% decrease in annual degradation is worth more than an extra 5Wp in rated power?  Check it out yourself and if you think it’s relevant, then come and work with a brand who shares your values.

To finish in the way we started, everyone’s favourite Mahatma is here to make our hearts glow with his gems of wisdom; “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” We dig it, Ghandi’s love was strong, Ghandi’s love endured, Ghandi’s love was reliable, so he probably won’t mind us hacking his words to bit to end on a strong note…

“The day the love of reliability overrules the love of rated power, the owner will know good returns.” 

Thanks for joining and if you have any topics you would like us to cover please feel free to let us know.

Dan

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