by Hope O’Shaughnessy
2016 marks the launch of Panasonic Eco Solutions North America’s solar panel that incorporates the company’s most innovative solar technology. The company’s photovoltaic module HIT® N330 and N325 offers module efficiency of 19.7% and 19.4% and cell efficiencies of 22.09% and 21.76% respectively. These solar panels offer Panasonic’s unique ‘heterojunction’ solar cell for which it was recognized in 2012.
In 2012, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Corporate Innovation Award recognized the achievement of Panasonic’s revolutionary technology when they awarded the company the IEEE Corporate Innovation award. Other recognition has included a number five ranking overall and number one electronics company in Interbrand’s 2014 annual “Best Global Green Brands” report.
“The high efficiency market is going to grow and the residential market will grow as well,” Mukesh Sethi, Group Manager of Panasonic’s Eco Solutions Solar Products Group shared at the recent Solar PV Conference in Boston.
According to Sethi, Panasonic achieves this industry leading edge through several unique product attributes. He pointed out that the Panasonic HIT® range of solar panels use 96 cells compared to the typical 60-cell panel, which allows Panasonic’s panel to make the best use of space. The company also provides a 15 year product warranty for the HIT® panels.
Another product attribute that Sethi shared is Panasonic’s unique pyramid cell structure that allows higher sunlight absorption. The amorphous silicon layer also has unique property, which allows the panel to outperform other panels at high temperature due to minimal drop in performance at high temperatures. Lastly, the panels include a water drainage frame to avoid water accumulation and staining.
Panasonic brings 40 years of investment in the solar field and, with the recent R&D developments, will provide additional impetus for the U.S. consumer to adopt this technology. Panasonic sets the bar higher for its competitors as it demonstrated with the 2014 announcement in a white paper by Shingo Okamoto (Solar Business Unit, Eco Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation) that the company had achieved “an unprecedented conversion efficiency of 25.6% for silicon solar cells without a concentrating function.” It also announced in March 2016 that now it holds the record for highest efficiency at module level as well which is 23.8% module efficiency. This was attained at the research and development (R&D) level.
Expect more to come from Panasonic in overall sustainability as well. Another innovation visiting the U.S. market is the smart sustainable city. According to Sethi, Eco Solutions will begin work this year with the City of Denver to pioneer the first sustainable smart city in the U.S. The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town in Japan is a completed smart sustainable city, developed by Panasonic and the government that includes all aspects of living and sustainability from electric-car charging stations to water consumption and ridesharing. Fujisawa was created also in response to the need to create a disaster-resistant city following the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan.
You can find Panasonic solar panel information at http://business.panasonic.com/products-solutions-solarpanels.
Hope O’Shaughnessy is a New England-based writer who has written for western Massachusetts publications including the Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA) and The Republican (Springfield, MA).