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  • New Sunpower NGT panels in 2019 vs X-series now

    Hello,

    Sunpower has recently released quarterly financials and is telling the equity community that they are existing the commercial market as well as project development to focus on residential. And converting e panel factory to start Next Gen Technology (NGT) panel manufacturing this fall. E-series manufacturing site converted to manufacture the new NGTs.

    Ngt panels are supposed to start shipping before 2019 and supposedly 30-40% cheaper. So at this point I am inclined to wait for the new panels instead of going with the X-series or Panasonics.

    Does anyone have any industry insight re. the new NGT panels? Supposed to be efficiency of up to 23% and 30-40% cheaper.

    Of concern is will it happen and in time for a 2019 install.

    Thoughts???

    Thanks

  • #2
    IMO don't hold your breath waiting on that new technology.

    Comment


    • #3
      Looks to me like what's happening is that S.P. will use the acquisition of SolarWorld tech. and cells in the P series modules and thus lower the price. Basically a SolarWorld panel with a Sunpower nameplate on it, and maybe something closer to what used to be a SolarWorld price. As for NGT panels, I'm w/SunEagle on not holding my breath, either on price or availability. As for 23+ % STC efficiency, so friggin' what ? Smaller footprint ? A 5 kW array will still put out the same as other 5 kW arrays. Until the LCOE of a kWh of S.P. produced electricity is <= the lowest LCOE a kWh of some other quality panels electricity, the "most efficient" marketing B.S. is still B.S.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
        Looks to me like what's happening is that S.P. will use the acquisition of SolarWorld tech. and cells in the P series modules and thus lower the price. Basically a SolarWorld panel with a Sunpower nameplate on it, and maybe something closer to what used to be a SolarWorld price. As for NGT panels, I'm w/SunEagle on not holding my breath, either on price or availability. As for 23+ % STC efficiency, so friggin' what ? Smaller footprint ? A 5 kW array will still put out the same as other 5 kW arrays. Until the LCOE of a kWh of S.P. produced electricity is <= the lowest LCOE a kWh of some other quality panels electricity, the "most efficient" marketing B.S. is still B.S.

        A 5kw doesnt produce the same as any other 5kw system. There are lots of variables that go into it like temp coefficient, efficiency, etc. saying that is like saying a 4 door sedan is going to work the same across all makes and models. In regards to the original post. If Sp comes out with a 23% panel at mono perc price like they say they are then that would definitely be a game changer. I think they are switching to using 60 cells in a panel like everyone else instead of 96 which means shorter production time, and a bump in efficiency.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Esun,

          While temperature coefficient does play a small role (unless you live in a very hot climate) I wouldn't so rapidly dismiss JPM's and SunEagle's years of wisdom an experience. While it is true that each array is unique like a delicate snowflake (insert barf) the reality of that matter is that panels have STC, NOCT, and Califonia ratings for a reason. And currently, aside from temperature coefficient, and the rates of productivity and/or LID over time, there is no scientifically rigorous data to suggest that a panel from one manufacturer with higher efficiency, more or fewer cells, mono, or poly, or PERC, of thin film produce any more of less power that their corresponding PTC ratings when installed in the same location, orientation, pitch, shading, and inverter systems. The more "efficient" panels will simply take up less roof space as JPM correctly contends.

          One might contend that some panels are manufactured better than others, and this might have an impact on long term field performance. One might also contend that some manufacturers are more or less likely than others to still be in business in 5 or 10 or 30 years. But all of the "secret sauce KoolAid" is just that. Hogwash which is unproven by the available scientific rigor.

          For example:
          More cells, less cells, Cello, front bus bars, back busbars, more busbars, fewer busbars, copper plate, pyramidal micro features, PERC, front illumination, back illumination, dual illumination, yada yada.

          At the end of the day, the MFG used what ever tech they had to get the STC rating they got. There's no secret sauce or magic pixie dust that will make one MFG's panel make any more power than any other MFG's panels given the same STC and NOCT ratings. Also note that the STC/NOCT ratio does vary across different panel MFG's so keep this in mind, too.

          I wish there was more scientific data (or at least consumer reports type data) comparing one panel to another, but alas, like Mattresses no one seems to want to do a real comparison. Thank goodness for Tirerack at least,

          Comment


          • #6
            Old ancient proverb:

            It take long time to recover energy not harvested today if one waits for better deal tomorrow.
            Dave W. Gilbert AZ
            6.63kW grid-tie owner

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Esun View Post


              A 5kw doesnt produce the same as any other 5kw system. There are lots of variables that go into it like temp coefficient, efficiency, etc. saying that is like saying a 4 door sedan is going to work the same across all makes and models. In regards to the original post. If Sp comes out with a 23% panel at mono perc price like they say they are then that would definitely be a game changer. I think they are switching to using 60 cells in a panel like everyone else instead of 96 which means shorter production time, and a bump in efficiency.
              Well, they do. At least in north county San Diego. To my experience, and after ongoing measurements and monitoring of about 10-12 systems of well over 100 in my HOA of over the last 8-10 years.

              Also, and a big(ger) smoking gun, if you look at PVOutput.org you can see that arrays that are near one another pretty much all over the developed world that have similar orientations and are unshaded will produce about the same output over the same measurement period, and entirely regardless of which equipment is installed.

              I own a 5 kW Sunpower system. Long story, but I chose S.P., not because it was the most productive in terms of annual output per installed STC W (it simply is not), and certainly not because it was the most cost effective (In fact, it was the least cost effective equipment when I acquired it, although I paid less per STC Watt for Sunpower than anyone else in CA paid for Sunpower stuff to that time). I bought Sunpower over other mfg. equipment to verify or refute, at least in my own mind and as best as my training and experience would enable, their claims of "most efficient" for myself. Any 28 day running output of my array compared to the other systems of similar orientation that I monitor (but not as extensively for the others as for my own array - just total 28 day running output for the others, measured every 7 days for those 10 -12 nearby systems). My array's output is constantly monitored at 5 minute intervals and also measured instantaneously (if the sky ids cloudless) at the minute of that day's minimum solar incidence angle on the array). BTW, 3 of those nearby systems use Sunpower panels. Their output seems indistinguishable from the others, at least to me. All output of those arrays is typically the same per installed STC W.

              Please tell us, what is the basis for your claim that systems of the same size using different panel mfgs. produce different output. Please tell us you have something beyond the Sunpower hype, or what you may have read or heard from folks who drank the Sunpower kool-aid and got to pay extra for the Sunpower hype they swallowed. Please tell us you've hung your hat on something you've measured and verified and not simply advertising hype. meant to separate the solar ignorant from their assets.

              With respect to the variables you mention, in reality and for reasons too complicated to go into here, that temp. coefficient of power matters little, either on a short term, or a long term basis. And as JSchnee21 points out, that efficiency, as used, is an AREA efficiency. You will not get, say, 21/19 more output/STC W from a 5 kW array with a 21 % STC efficiency panels vs a 5 kW array with 19 % STC efficiency panels. You'll get about the same total output regardless of published spec sheet efficiency, either in terms of power or energy (power integrated over time) per installed STC W from either array, but area efficiency will not lower your electric bill and in fact will only cost more up for what's very likely to be little if any economic benefit, with any energy output benefit being too small to differentiate from instrument uncertainty.

              If 10 arrays, each using a different panel, one of which is Sunpower, with each array consisting of about 1,000 STC W, are placed side by side, independent of one another and each with the same orientation, inverter and wiring arrangement, and carefully monitored and maintained for a year, the smart money will be on the annual output per installed STC W of each/all of them most likely being very similar to one another, and probably within the limits of the variation or uncertainty of the measurements. My guess is that output for all the systems will be within a % or 2.

              As for your vehicle analogy: The purpose of a vehicle is transportation. Vehicles go from point A to point B. Some cost more. Some have different purposes. That one 4 door sedan performs the basic function of transportation while costing more, is an analogy I'd use in comparing fit for purpose PV equipment.

              A 4 door Bentley is as adequate a grocery hauler as a 4 door Toyota. Which of the two is more cost effective at performing the basic function ?

              The basic function of a PV system is to produce electricity. That's it. PV systems are an appliance, not a lifestyle statement. Most all quality PV equipment that is designed and installed in a safe and professional manner will most likely be fit for purpose for as long as required. That includes Sunpower equipment. The Sunpower stuff simply costs more.

              As for what Sunpower has up its sleeve, I know not. I suspect, but certainly don't know that what Sunpower will be doing over he next year or two will amount to rebranding the Solarworld stuff they bought to a "more economical" Sunpower label, while fiddling with the spec sheet data to wring a bit more claimed efficiency out of the rebadged stuff at the expense of a bit less headroom and conservativeness in the output claims of all their stuff. It's all about marketing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bmwr69s View Post
                Ngt panels are supposed to start shipping before 2019 and supposedly 30-40% cheaper. So at this point I am inclined to wait for the new panels instead of going with the X-series or Panasonics.
                I wouldn't wait. Panel cost is such a small percentage of installation cost now that you aren't going to see a significant savings overall by waiting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jflorey2 View Post
                  I wouldn't wait. Panel cost is such a small percentage of installation cost now that you aren't going to see a significant savings overall by waiting.
                  FWIW, mostly + 1, but with the comment that if reliable and new price/info is known/likely become avail. soon, like maybe the next 6 weeks/2 months or so, I might be inmclined to wait a bit, but notmuch more than that, particularly with fed. tax credit decline that's scheduled to begin 01/01/2020.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                    FWIW, mostly + 1, but with the comment that if reliable and new price/info is known/likely become avail. soon, like maybe the next 6 weeks/2 months or so, I might be inmclined to wait a bit, but notmuch more than that, particularly with fed. tax credit decline that's scheduled to begin 01/01/2020.
                    Agreed there.

                    I would also add that while I am generally not willing to wait very long for lower cost per watt I am often willing to wait for higher efficiency for the same price, since that reduces roof area for a given power, increases potential total power and reduces racking costs per watt.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                      Well, they do. At least in north county San Diego. To my experience, and after ongoing measurements and monitoring of about 10-12 systems of well over 100 in my HOA of over the last 8-10 years.

                      Also, and a big(ger) smoking gun, if you look at PVOutput.org you can see that arrays that are near one another pretty much all over the developed world that have similar orientations and are unshaded will produce about the same output over the same measurement period, and entirely regardless of which equipment is installed.

                      I own a 5 kW Sunpower system. Long story, but I chose S.P., not because it was the most productive in terms of annual output per installed STC W (it simply is not), and certainly not because it was the most cost effective (In fact, it was the least cost effective equipment when I acquired it, although I paid less per STC Watt for Sunpower than anyone else in CA paid for Sunpower stuff to that time). I bought Sunpower over other mfg. equipment to verify or refute, at least in my own mind and as best as my training and experience would enable, their claims of "most efficient" for myself. Any 28 day running output of my array compared to the other systems of similar orientation that I monitor (but not as extensively for the others as for my own array - just total 28 day running output for the others, measured every 7 days for those 10 -12 nearby systems). My array's output is constantly monitored at 5 minute intervals and also measured instantaneously (if the sky ids cloudless) at the minute of that day's minimum solar incidence angle on the array). BTW, 3 of those nearby systems use Sunpower panels. Their output seems indistinguishable from the others, at least to me. All output of those arrays is typically the same per installed STC W.

                      Please tell us, what is the basis for your claim that systems of the same size using different panel mfgs. produce different output. Please tell us you have something beyond the Sunpower hype, or what you may have read or heard from folks who drank the Sunpower kool-aid and got to pay extra for the Sunpower hype they swallowed. Please tell us you've hung your hat on something you've measured and verified and not simply advertising hype. meant to separate the solar ignorant from their assets.

                      With respect to the variables you mention, in reality and for reasons too complicated to go into here, that temp. coefficient of power matters little, either on a short term, or a long term basis. And as JSchnee21 points out, that efficiency, as used, is an AREA efficiency. You will not get, say, 21/19 more output/STC W from a 5 kW array with a 21 % STC efficiency panels vs a 5 kW array with 19 % STC efficiency panels. You'll get about the same total output regardless of published spec sheet efficiency, either in terms of power or energy (power integrated over time) per installed STC W from either array, but area efficiency will not lower your electric bill and in fact will only cost more up for what's very likely to be little if any economic benefit, with any energy output benefit being too small to differentiate from instrument uncertainty.

                      If 10 arrays, each using a different panel, one of which is Sunpower, with each array consisting of about 1,000 STC W, are placed side by side, independent of one another and each with the same orientation, inverter and wiring arrangement, and carefully monitored and maintained for a year, the smart money will be on the annual output per installed STC W of each/all of them most likely being very similar to one another, and probably within the limits of the variation or uncertainty of the measurements. My guess is that output for all the systems will be within a % or 2.

                      As for your vehicle analogy: The purpose of a vehicle is transportation. Vehicles go from point A to point B. Some cost more. Some have different purposes. That one 4 door sedan performs the basic function of transportation while costing more, is an analogy I'd use in comparing fit for purpose PV equipment.

                      A 4 door Bentley is as adequate a grocery hauler as a 4 door Toyota. Which of the two is more cost effective at performing the basic function ?

                      The basic function of a PV system is to produce electricity. That's it. PV systems are an appliance, not a lifestyle statement. Most all quality PV equipment that is designed and installed in a safe and professional manner will most likely be fit for purpose for as long as required. That includes Sunpower equipment. The Sunpower stuff simply costs more.

                      As for what Sunpower has up its sleeve, I know not. I suspect, but certainly don't know that what Sunpower will be doing over he next year or two will amount to rebranding the Solarworld stuff they bought to a "more economical" Sunpower label, while fiddling with the spec sheet data to wring a bit more claimed efficiency out of the rebadged stuff at the expense of a bit less headroom and conservativeness in the output claims of all their stuff. It's all about marketing.

                      Thanks for the novel of nonsense blessed hoa president that looms on the mountain monitoring everyones production. I have a hard time believing you bought an SP system just to prove a giant conspiracy. If so whats your job everyone would love to be able to throw thousands of dollars away just to prove a point. Just head over to
                      https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ and ask them why the technological differences imputed will result in different production output. Why are major players like LG shifting to back contact? Surely its to join the the giant conspiracy of sunpower world domination. No SP kool aid here but it definitely sounds like youve drank the anti sp kool aid and are swimming in it. Lets all just get fed cheap Chinese junk that has been manufactured without quality. Im sure youd love that. Lets all write letters to all the manufacturers wasting millions on r&d improvements. Let them know the hoa god said the current and past technology is sound and a watt is a watt therefore lets use the technology on our calculators on our rooftops. Insert barf.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Esun View Post


                        Thanks for the novel of nonsense blessed hoa president that looms on the mountain monitoring everyones production. I have a hard time believing you bought an SP system just to prove a giant conspiracy. If so whats your job everyone would love to be able to throw thousands of dollars away just to prove a point. Just head over to
                        https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ and ask them why the technological differences imputed will result in different production output. Why are major players like LG shifting to back contact? Surely its to join the the giant conspiracy of sunpower world domination. No SP kool aid here but it definitely sounds like youve drank the anti sp kool aid and are swimming in it. Lets all just get fed cheap Chinese junk that has been manufactured without quality. Im sure youd love that. Lets all write letters to all the manufacturers wasting millions on r&d improvements. Let them know the hoa god said the current and past technology is sound and a watt is a watt therefore lets use the technology on our calculators on our rooftops. Insert barf.
                        Describing to you what I do with my time and life, and why I do things would be a waste of my time. I forgot more than you'll likely ever know of things you bring up here. Be happy in your hubris and ignorance. Just don't spread your incomplete, unsubstantiated, simplistic, uninformed and ignorant information around to lead others astray. You will be called on it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                          Describing to you what I do with my time and life, and why I do things would be a waste of my time. I forgot more than you'll likely ever know of things you bring up here. Be happy in your hubris and ignorance. Just don't spread your incomplete, unsubstantiated, simplistic, uninformed and ignorant information around to lead others astray. You will be called on it.
                          Haha I wouldnt have expected less of a egotistical, proud response based on zero credibility. If you were so sophisticated in the science of solar youd be running a solar company not hanging out in chat rooms. Maybe its because you forgot it all. Youve provided zero evidence for any of your claims just statements of personal experience that doesnt provide any evidence.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Esun View Post

                            Haha I wouldnt have expected less of a egotistical, proud response based on zero credibility. If you were so sophisticated in the science of solar youd be running a solar company not hanging out in chat rooms. Maybe its because you forgot it all. Youve provided zero evidence for any of your claims just statements of personal experience that doesnt provide any evidence.
                            Opinions vary. Take what you want. Scrap the rest.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Esun View Post
                              Haha I wouldnt have expected less of a egotistical, proud response based on zero credibility. If you were so sophisticated in the science of solar youd be running a solar company not hanging out in chat rooms. Maybe its because you forgot it all. Youve provided zero evidence for any of your claims just statements of personal experience that doesnt provide any evidence.
                              Ah yes. Nothing funnier (or more emblematic of our times) than an Internet wannabe who posts in a chat room to call people who post in chat rooms losers.

                              Comment

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