SolarKobo Score: 4/5
The makers of Canadian solar panel modules, Canadian Solar, was founded in 2001. Based in Guelph, Canada, and with about 14,000 employees and over 500 researchers and engineers, Canadian Solar is currently ranked as the fifth-largest solar panel manufacturer in the world by volume with over 8.5GW of solar panels produced in 2019 and about 52GW shipped since inception.
The bulk of Canadian Solar's manufacturing facilities are located in Canada and China. Its manufacturing plant at Ontario has a production capacity of over 500 MW per year. Canadian Solar also has production facilities in Indonesia, Vietnam and Brazil.
Canadian Solar performs nearly 400 internal quality tests on its cells and modules. Canadian Solar is publicly traded on NASDAQ.
Range of Solar Panels
Canadian Solar produces solar panels designed for residential, commercial and utility-scale applications. Like most other large volume brands, Canadian Solar has transitioned to using higher efficiency monocrystalline PERC half-cut cells in almost all its new generation panels. Canadian Solar also recently introduced a new range of bifacial solar panels.
Residential Solar Panels
In its range of residential solar panels, Canadian Solar offers the Ku, HiKu and HiDM ranges all of which are available in both polycrstalline and monocrystalline varieties with the HiDM in the shingled form. Panels in these two ranges are available from 295W to 335W for the Ku, 325W to 375W for the HiKu and 320 to 345W for the HiDM. Canadian Solar uses cast mono-crystalline PERC half-cut cells with either 5 busbars or multi-busbars (MBB). PERC stands for Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell or Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact.
PERC is a new technology that adds a dielectric passivation layer on the rear of the cell. The extra layer is to allow more sunlight to be captured and turned into electricity with the goal of increasing the efficiency of PERC cells over traditional solar cells.
PERC modules now have an efficiency that is at least 1 percentage point higher than that of standard modules.
Canadian Solar mostly uses the half-cut technology for its panels. Traditional full-cell panels are made with 60/72 cells on the entire panel. In a half-cell or half-cut module, the number of cells on the entire panel is doubled into 120 or 144 cells per panel. The panel is however, the same size as a full cell panel but with double the number of cells.
Commercial and Utility Panels
Canadian Solar also offers its HiKu, Ku, HiDM panels under its range of commercial solar panels adding the BiHiKu and the BiKU ranges. They are available in both polycrystalline and monocrystalline varieties. The larger format ranges, BiHiKu and BiKU are much more powerful and available in a wider range of cell configurations and power rating up to 545W.
The standard HiKu series use common poly or mono PERC half-cut cells, while the new and higher HiKu5 and HiKu6 series uses mono and poly MBB cells in a more efficient zero-gap cell configuration to reach a maximum efficiency of 21.3%. The BiHiKu6 uses the bifacial technology and promises an additional 30% more power from the rear side. It comes with a 30-year warranty.
Canadian Solar offer a standard 12-year product warranty period on most models, and a 25 year performance warranty. Except for the BiHiKu which comes with a 30-year product warranty and the HiDM series which come with a longer 15-year product warranty period. On the HiDM, the performance warranty details specify a slightly lower guaranteed output of 83.1% after 25 years.
Canadian Solar guarantees that their panels will have no more than a 2% drop in the first year, and an average 0.55% annual power decline per year over the remaining 24 years. This equates to a final output power rating of no less than 84.8% after 25 years of use.
Canadian Solar have a strong reputation in the Nigerian market as high-value and high-performance solar panels. At the same time, they are very cost-efficient. They belong to the mid-range brands that offer great performance, durability, strength and quality at competitive cost.
As always, SolarKobo helps its clients make the best possible choice of solar electricity products based on their power needs and budgets.