Solar Energy World’s most-read tales of 2020

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Solar Power World's most-read stories of 2020

For a year like no other, Solar Power World has worked hard to bring solar installers, developers, and manufacturers the features and news they need to do better. SPW editors knew it was more important than ever to keep readers updated with the latest articles without having to attend conferences to catch up on the latest products and trends in the industry.

We are proud to be counting down the 10 most read stories on solarpowerworldonline.com after an unusual year. Don’t forget to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news and investigative functions in the US solar industry.

10. Solar’s silent killer: Backsheets shorten some project times

New investigations into solar module failures pointed to a surprising culprit: cheap backsheets. Greater testing options and industry awareness have since helped developers choose more reliable models, but there’s no easy fix for faulty backsheets in the field.

9. Perovskite solar cells: hero, villain or just a fantasy?

Perovskite solar cells are an often misunderstood new technology, but they can offer higher efficiency at exponentially lower costs. Its uniquely simple manufacturing process could also make it quickly scalable to meet global zero emissions targets.

8. Forget about 400 watts. JinkoSolar launches a 580 W solar module for the utility market

JinkoSolar’s Tiger Pro module series offers a maximum output of up to 580 W – 40% more than the current 72-cell mainstream modules. The company uses half-cut cells, nine bus bars, and tile tape technology to improve performance.

7. Sunflare’s newest thin film solar panel fits between metal roof seams

Thin-film solar module manufacturer Sunflare has released a unique module that fits between seams on metal roofs. The 60 W CIGS panels are mounted on the roof with peel-and-stick butyl adhesive backing.

6. Petersen-Dean files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The solar and roof installer Petersen Dean filed for bankruptcy in Nevada in June. The company said the voluntary restructuring was triggered by the pandemic.

5. Tips for installing solar inverters on commercial roofs

Although the ideal location for installing inverters is a locked, air-conditioned room, this is often not possible. Instead, many installers choose to mount standard inverters on the same level as the modules. However, mounting inverters on the roof requires special considerations.

4. How concerned should the solar industry be about battery fires?

Fires caused by energy storage systems, while rare at the moment, can become a bigger problem as the adoption of Solar + storage increases. Safe storage of batteries and consideration of the local climate can help minimize risk.

3. SMA launches its first 1,500 V solar inverter with a direct 480 V output

SMA America presented the Sunny Highpower PEAK3 125 kW for floor-mounted projects with a 480 VAC connection. The new inverter is best suited for municipal solar, agricultural aggregate gauges and other large projects.

2. Inverter competition leads to consolidation and exits

The competitive production area for inverters turned out to be even more challenging than usual in 2019, as we reported in this trend piece from early 2020. Price pressures and competition resulted in a number of acquisitions and exits from solar electronics companies.

1. Pro Tip: Never use soap to clean dirty solar panels

While soap was recommended for disinfecting hands and even food in 2020, it shouldn’t be used to clean solar panels. Instead, experts advise project owners to scrub modules with deionized water or special cleaning concentrates.

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