Product review: Canadian Solar HiKu and BiKu panels
Canadian Solar offers several solar panel models, including the HiKu and BiKu solar panels which have some of the most remarkable features of the brand.
Canadian Solar is one of most remarkable solar panel manufacturers of the industry and is also an approved manufacturer of the solar panel validation initiative in Australia.
They are an international and vertically integrated company based in Ontario, Canada, with divisions related to the design of solar wafers, solar cells and the manufacturing of solar power products (including energy storage).
Since 2001, the company has invested in research and development, providing solutions to the solar industry in North America, South America, Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Canadian Solar offers several options in their portfolio of solar panel models. Among them are the HiKu and BiKu solar panels with some of the most remarkable features of the brand. These panels have improved the characteristics and performance of their previous Standard and Ku models.
Here we will discuss some of these amazing features and you will know why these solar panels are among the best in the industry.
Let’s start with HiKu solar modules!
Canadian Solar HiKu Solar Panels
HiKu solar panels are based on the technology of their predecessor, the Ku module. The name “Ku” was given as short for “Cool” because these models operate at a lower temperature than other standard modules.
The main difference between a Ku module and a standard solar panel lies in the manufacturing and design process.
Ku modules are integrated with dual cell technology, a feature that allows the performance of PV systems to be optimised against shading.
Based on dual-cell technology, the solar panel can work as two parallel modules with independent performance.
If for any reason the lower half of the module is shaded, the solar panel won’t stop producing electricity as any other module would.
Moreover, the upper side of the solar panel will continue producing electricity even if the lower side is completely shaded.
That is a big advantage when you think of different scenarios where shade cannot be avoided.
The dual cell technology also allows the ohmic loss of the PV modules to be reduced. Due to the configuration of dual cells, these produce less than half the current, therefore, ohmic loss can be reduced four times compared with standard cells.
Ohmic loss is generally expressed in the form of heat. If it increases, the solar panel and wiring will get hotter.
Since Ku modules operate at low-temperature coefficients and since they generate electricity with four times less ohmic loss, these solar panels can radically reduce the thermal loss of the PV system.
This optimises the performance and maximises the power outputs of the solar panels.
Combining these two features of Ku modules, we can get amazing results especially for commercial and utility-scale power plants, as you can see here:
Incorporating all of these incredible features, the HiKu solar module stands out as the solar panel with the highest power output of the brand. It can reach up to 405 Wp with efficiency values that can be as high as 18.33%.
Canadian Solar BiKu Solar Panels
BiKu solar panels integrate the amazing performance of Ku modules as their basic design, but they include another cool feature. They are high-efficiency bifacial modules.
Bifacial modules are solar panels that are able to produce electricity using the solar irradiance that reaches the solar panels on both the front and the rear side of the module.
Canadian Solar produces polycrystalline and monocrystalline BiKu solar panels that are able to reach up to 380 Wp on the front side of the module. These modules have a bifaciality efficiency that can be as high as 75%, which represents the ratio of power output on the rear side compared to the front side.
The rear side contributes to a bifacial gain that can produce up to 30% more energy than conventional solar panels!
Bifacial gains will vary according to the albedo, (coefficient of reflection from the ground) where a concrete surface would have the lowest reflection factors (16%), while snow would have albedo factors close to 90%, allowing the highest benefits from the bifacial module to be achieved.
This video from LG has a great explanation of the performance of bifacial technology as well:
Now, when you combine all of these features: dual-cell technology, shading tolerance, lower power losses, bifaciality factors, high module efficiency and up to 30% extra energy from the rear side, then you obtain an amazing product called BiKu solar panels.
Canadian Solar has developed an original technology that uses the advantage of dual solar cells combined with bifaciality and high power outputs to offer unique products in the solar industry, including its HiKu and BiKu solar panels.
One interesting factor for Australia is that sand is widely available in our country.
Fortunately, sand is one of the surfaces with good albedo factors (40%), which turns Australia into an interesting market for bifacial solar modules.