At Comera Energy, we carefully source our solar PV panels. Because of this, we’re careful to keep our fingers on the pulse of this ever-changing market to ensure we’re delivering the best value for money for our customers. In this article, I’ll cover one of the key trends that have occurred over the last 6 months, the increase in output from, availability of and reduction in cost of 72 Cell panels, and what this means for the construction industry.
What are 72 cell panels?
72 cell panels are oversized solar PV panels (typically 2.1m by 1.0m) which feature an extra row of cells within the panels. As these panels are larger, installations are often able to generate the same output as smaller panels whilst using fewer electrical connections and panels. Not only does this reduce costs; it also reduces installation time as there are fewer modules and connectors to configure. Using fewer panels also invariably results in lower shipping and maintenance costs.
72 cell panels are a great option for price-sensitive contractors looking to increase value for money without investing in premium high-efficiency panels such as the Sunpower Maxeon 3.
Over the past 6 months, this type of panel has become widely available from Tier 1 manufacturers including JA Solar, Canadian and Longi, with outputs reaching 450 watts. New mounting systems can accommodate these larger cells with just a small increase in cost. The price per watt of energy has also dropped over the last year, whereas the cost of installation, mounting systems and connectors have stayed largely the same.
What does this mean for contractors?
This has important implications for contractors, as the relative change in the costs of panels, mounting systems and installation now favours the speedy installation and fewer elecrical connections offered by the larger 72 cell panels. This makes them an even better option for contractors looking to secure the best value for money. Contractors should be wary, however, that the larger panels do not yet offer the ~22-23% efficiencies offered by some of the premium high-efficiency panels on the market. Where this level of efficiency is a requirement, the premium panels may therefore be a better option.
How we can help
Comera Energy is not tied to any specific panel provider, and so are experienced in working with most of the common panels on the market. This means we are well placed to advise on which solution may be right for you and design a system which is bespoke to your needs. If you have any questions or would like advice on choosing the right panel, you can email me at Richard.Percival@comeragroup.co.ukor call me on 0117 971 8121.