A multiple-year performance evaluation of Stion’s copper-indium-galenide-selenium (CIGS) modules by Sandia National Laboratories demonstrates that Stion’s “Simply Better” modules outperform mono-crystalline reference modules by as much as 6%. These findings are based on data generated by Stion systems installed at three climatically distinct US DOE Regional Test Centers (RTCs) in the US, and compared with comparable data from reference arrays at each site.
The results, released in December 2016, show that –even when compared with the high quality c-Si modules–Stion modules outperform the competition, meaning increased savings for Stion clients. Not only do the Stion modules slightly outperform their rated capacity but, as irradiance-the amount of sunlight hitting the panels-increases, the efficiency of the Stion modules also increases, reaching values above 100 percent. In contrast, the performance of adjacent monocrystalline modules at each site ranged from 94 to 96%, with efficiencies remaining the same as irradiance increased.
At the RTC sites in New Mexico and Florida, for example, where the c-Si systems underperformed by ~5% and Stion outperformed production estimates by 1%, Stion outperformed crystalline silicon modules by 5-6%. Stion modules also offer an advantage in northern regions.
In Vermont, where snow is frequent in winter months, Sandia observed that Stion’s modules shed snow faster than the adjacent monocrystalline modules. Stion has observed the same phenomenon in other snowy regions – and believes the accelerated shedding is attributable to the frameless configuration, which allows snow to slide off the panel without obstruction and also to the panels’ black aesthetics, which result in snow melting faster once the sun reappears after a storm. This capability, combined with overall performance ratings, translates into an increase in energy production relative to other solar panels and therefore a higher return-on-investment.
The US DOE RTC program, which is funded though the DOE’s SunShot Initiative and managed by Sandia for the DOE, aims to increase innovation in the US solar sector by rigorously evaluating the performance and reliability of new solar technologies across multiple climates. Stion was accepted into the program in 20XX and agreed to install systems in New Mexico, which represents a hot, arid climate; Florida, which is hot and humid; and Vermont, which has harsh snowy winters. The Stion systems installed at each site had identical data-monitoring systems, which were designed by Sandia, were rigorously monitored.
Date: Feb 27, 2017