Though the emphasis on solar technology discussion always centers around poly and mono, the latest hero product in mono premium category is represented by JinkoSolar’s Cheetah module. Cheetah mono has targeted Poly market share as an area for its own growth with dramatic enhancement of performance and reliability. Cheetah module is pushing ahead with its 158” square mono wafer design and half-cell, aiming to become a new industry standard.
Despite the pressure from other industry players, JinkoSolar continues to be the leader in both shipments and product map. It is the first company that has started high volume production of Cheetah panels up to 400 watt. Cheetah is of particular interest to the solar industry as it brings dramatic enhancement of power efficiency. For years, 156” wafer design has been the stalwart of industry portfolio. It is very likely that 156” technology will shift the interest of the investors towards higher performance capabilities and therefore towards mono. This is where we will find more and more utility companies are going to be relaying on Cheetah modules.
Performance claims for JinkoSolar’s Cheetah 158” mono wafer are impressive. Moving from the current 156” size to 158” will result in a 5-8% power class increase, saving customers dramatically on the LCOE. As BOS cost continue to rise, this is a big advantage for regions like Europe, USA, Australia or Japan to design a more powerful plant in the same area. Cheetah will also save a 50% power drop at the condition of shading because of its combined half cell technology. I seems to be perfect timing for Jinko in regards to the timing.
With the market for non-subsidy rising, the demand for more powerful and reliable products will be following the same trend. With Cheetah, JinkoSolar will be able to balance and answer customer demands between cost and high performance. As the shift in demand moves, JinkoSolar will potentially have the answer for all of them. For more expensive regions like US and Europe, this won’t be a problem as the cost can be absorbed . Even for less cost oriented regions, like India, it could be a perfect solution increasing ventures focus to floating and rooftop projects.
The net result of this 2018-2019 ramping of Cheetah technology is that premium mono is about to get popular again. The share of poly and mono will likely see big changes in 2019 as utilization of premium mono tech ramps. More powerful mono products will have the room to grow and expand in capability in a way we have yet to witness.