Trade Resources Industry Views China PV Module Makers Strive to Break Barriers to Shingled Array Technology

China PV Module Makers Strive to Break Barriers to Shingled Array Technology

China-based PV module makers are making R&D efforts trying to break barriers of patents concerning shingled array modules owned by Europe- and US-based firms, according to industry sources.

Shingled array technology is to equally divide every solar cell into a few pieces and closely array such pieces with borders overlapped (like shingle) to reduce space occupied by solar cells on the surface of PV modules. A conventional module consisting of 60 poly-Si cells can accomodate 65-68 cells using shingled array technology, increasing power output from 275W to about 300W.

Currently, US-based SunPower, Solaria and Flex (renamed from Flextronics International) possess several patents concerning shingled array technology.

Solaria has filed lawsuits in California against GCL Solar Energy (a US-based subsidiary of China-based PV module maker GCL-Poly Energy Holdings), China-based PV module maker Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System and PV equipment maker Suzhou Autoway System, accusing them of improperly using its trade secrets concerning shingled array technology.

GCL-Poly in November 2017 settled its lawsuit with Solaria under undisclosed terms, and Seraphim is negotiating similar settlement with Solaris.

SunPower has cooperated with China-based Dongfang Electric and Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor to set up a joint venture, DZS Solar, to produce PV modules using SunPower's patented technology. For SunPower, the cooperation can protect its patents and capitalize on the partners' manufacturing capability and sales channels in the China market.

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