Canadian Solar HiKu7 is the 7th series of Canadian Solar’s HiKu solar panels. It was introduced in 2020 and is a very reliable monocrystalline dual-cell PERC monofacial module with high power ratings of 640 to 670 Watts and high module efficiency levels of 20.6% – 21.6%
Canadian Solar is one of the best manufacturers of solar PV panels worldwide. Chinese engineer Shawn Qu formed the company in 2001, with two manufacturing facilities in Canada.
However, Canadian Solar also has a robust and dedicated Australian presence; the company operates four offices and five warehouses in Australia and has many local experts.
Canadian Solar has pioneered innovative technologies to produce some of the best solar panels in the market. In fact, Canadian Solar holds the solar world record for the most efficient solar panel.
The HiKu7 is one of the latest solar panels from this manufacturer. How does it compare to previous generations in the module line? This review will spotlight the HiKu7 solar panel to answer this question.
We’ll examine the specifications of the HiKu7 to determine what makes it great and whether there are any deal-breakers. At the end of this article, you’ll know exactly if this solar panel is right for you.
Let’s get right into it!
What is the Canadian Solar HiKu7?
Canadian Solar HiKu7 is a dual-cell PERC solar module with a powerful monocrystalline dual-cell PERC technology. As a monofacial module, it can achieve high power ratings of 640 W – 670 W and heightened module efficiency ratings of 20.6% – 21.6%.
The HiKu7 is the 7th series of the company’s HiKu solar panels. Introduced as a next-generation solar module, the HiKu7 is designed to deliver one of the industry’s most competitive LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) ratings.
It was introduced in 2020, shortly following the launch of the 5th and 6th series (HiKu5 and HiKu6, respectively). HiKu7 shipped with larger cells than its predecessor, allowing it to capture more electricity for higher power output.
Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel Range
HiKu7 was introduced to lead the new era of 600+ W modules. The 5th generation modules (HiKu5) offer up to 500 W, while the 6th generation modules (HiKu6) offer up to 590 W. However, the HiKu7 breaks the 600 W ceiling, offering up to 670 W. The module power ranges from 640 W to 670 W in 5 W increments.
Thus, the HiKu7 has seven variants according to their power output:
- CS7N 640 MS,
- CS7N 645 MS,
- CS7N 650 MS,
- CS7N 655 MS,
- CS7N 660 MS,
- CS7N 665 MS, and
- CS7N 670 MS.
Canadian Solar HiKu7 Price
Knowing how much these PV panels will cost you is obviously an important decision-maker. The factory-direct price of the HiKu7 is $0.275 – $0.295 per watt.
Thus, each module HiKu7 model will cost:
|CS7N 640 MS||640 W||$176.00 – $189.00|
|CS7N 645 MS||645 W||$177.50 – $190.50|
|CS7N 650 MS||650 W||$179.00 – $192.00|
|CS7N 655 MS||655 W||$180.50 – $193.50|
|CS7N 660 MS||660 W||$181.50 – $195.00|
|CS7N 665 MS||665 W||$183.00 – $196.50|
|CS7N 670 MS||670 W||$184.50 – $198.00|
Note that these are factory direct costs. When you plan to buy a solar power system and contact a solar retailer, your quote will include labour costs, which significantly raises the overall price.
Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel Technical Specifications
The HiKu 7 datasheet reveals that it’s not just a high-performing module but one of the best solar panels in the market.
Below is an overview of both the electrical and mechanical specifications:
|Models||640 MS||645 MS||650 MS||655 MS||660 MS||665 MS||670 MS|
|Nominal Max Power (Pmax)||640 W||645 W||650 W||655 W||660 W||665 W||670 W|
|Opt. Operating Voltage (Vmp)||37.5 V||37.7 V||37.9 V||38.1 V||38.3 V||38.5 V||38.7 V|
|Opt. Operating Current (Imp)||17.07 A||17.11 A||17.16 A||17.20 A||17.24 A||17.28 A||17.32 A|
|Open Circuit Voltage (Voc)||44.6 V||44.8 V||45.0 V||45.2 V||45.4 V||45.6 V||45.8 V|
|Short Circuit Current (Isc)||18.31 A||18.35 A||18.39 A||18.43 A||18.47 A||18.51 A||18.55 A|
|Operating Temperature||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C||40 °C – +85 °C|
|Power Tolerance||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W||0 – +10 W|
|Cell Arrangement||132 [2 x (11 x 6)]|
|Dimensions||2,384 x 1,303 x 35 mm (93.9 x 51.3 x 1.38 in)|
|Weight||34.4 kg (75.8 lbs)|
|Front cover||3.2 mm tempered glass with anti-reflective coating|
|Frame||Anodised aluminium alloy; crossbar enhanced|
|J-Box||IP68; 3 bypass diodes|
What is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel’s Power Output?
The HiKu7 panels are high-watt solar panels with a 640 – 670 W power rating.
The power rating of a solar panel (represented in watts) is how much solar energy the panel will produce in an hour when under direct sunlight.
Low-watt panels mean more modules. But with high-watt panels, you’ll require fewer modules and other equipment (like solar panel optimisers) to complete the same solar project.
For example, to build a 5.4 kW system:
- Using the 295 – 400 W rated Ku modules, you’ll need 14 – 19 panels. This is calculated: 5400 W/ 295 W = 18.3; 5400 W/ 400 W = 13.5.
- But using the 640 – 670 W rated HiKu7 modules, you’ll need only 8 – 9 panels. This is calculated: 5400 W/ 640 W = 8.4; 5400W/ 670 W = 8.
Thus, the high-watt HiKu7 solar panels are perfect for your solar system installation if you have limited roof space.
What is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel’s Efficiency?
The efficiency of the HiKu7 solar panels is 20.6% – 21.6%.
Solar panel efficiency is how much sunlight hitting the panel is converted to electricity. Thus, in a 20% efficiency panel, only 20% of the sunlight that hits the panel is converted to electricity.
Think that’s too small? Not by any means. Traditional solar panels have an efficiency of about 15% – 17%, while those with efficiency starting at 19% are considered high-efficiency panels. Thus, the HiKu7 solar panels are premium high efficient modules.
If two panels of different efficiency ratings are subjected to the same conditions, the more efficient panel produces more electricity and will have a higher power rating. Thus, high-watt modules generally have higher efficiencies.
That said, if your goal is to produce as much energy in as little space as possible, the solution is high-efficiency modules like HiKu7.
What is the Canadian HiKu7 Solar Panel’s Temperature Coefficient? Will it Perform Well in Australian Weather?
The HiKu7 modules feature a temperature coefficient of -0.35%/ °C. The temperature coefficient means that the HiKu7 performs relatively well under high temperatures.
The efficiency of solar panels drops when their temperature rises above 25 °C. But because they have a low temperature coefficient, the HiKu7 modules only suffer a minor drop in efficiency. It losses just 0.35% with every degree rise above 25 °C. This is very good because many other highly-rated solar panels have a temperature coefficient of up to -0.40%/ °C.
The HiKu7 solar panel also performs well in Australian weather due to its operating temperature of -40 to +85 °C. When the weather is within this temperature range, the Canadian Solar HiKu7 panels perform well.
Fortunately, the Australian weather is within the operating range of the HiKu7. The coldest period in Australia is during winter days in Canberra, where the temperature falls to an icy 0.1 °C. The hottest time in Australia is during the summer and spring days in Darwin, where the temperature is about 33 °C.
So, your Canadian Solar HiKu7 panels will perform well wherever you are in Australia, no matter the time of the year.
What is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panels’ Country of Origin?
The name “Canadian Solar” indicates that the solar giant is a Canadian company. However, only two of the company’s 20 manufacturing facilities are in Canada. The bulk of these facilities is in Asia, particularly China.
Thus, most of the Canadian Solar modules are produced in China and then shipped to other parts of the world.
Will the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Look Good on My Home?
The Canadian Solar HiKu7 modules have frames and busbars that contrast sharply with their dark cells, so they are not the most aesthetically pleasing solar panels. However, their monocrystalline cells generally look more pleasant as they are uniform in colour.
Canadian Solar Hiku7 Solar Panel Key Features
Some of the features of the HiKu7 that make it a high-quality solar PV module include:
- Monofacial panels
The HiKu7 are monofacial monocrystalline panels. However, they have a bifacial counterpart called the BiHiKu7. The monofacial solar panels absorb sunlight from only one of their sides to generate electricity.
- Dual-cell technology
The HiKu7 solar panels feature dual-cell modules to improve cell performance, as well as shade tolerance.
Also called twin cell or half-cut cells, the dual cell technology involves using a laser to cut the traditional solar cell in half. With dual technology, the 60-cell standard (full-size) panel becomes a 120-cell panel, as illustrated.
Splitting the cell in half gives more power output per square meter. This is because dividing the cells into two halves the current; with reduced current, there are fewer resistive losses.
This also makes for excellent hotspot performance. When current cannot flow around weak cells because of shading, it concentrates in a few cells and can cause overheating, damaging the solar panel. However, overheating is less likely with the reduced current of the dual cells.
Dual cell technology also improves shade tolerances of panels. The output can be zero when a traditional 30 V panel row is shaded. But a dual cell module of similar size operates as two 30 V panels in parallel. So, the result will be 50% when one row is shaded.
Thus, the HiKu7 has better shading tolerance and hotspot performance.
- Monocrystalline cells
The HiKu7 solar panels feature highly-efficient monocrystalline cells. This is one of three cell types of photovoltaic system modules. The other two are polycrystalline solar cells and amorphous (or thin-film) solar cells.
Interestingly, the monocrystalline panels are more efficient than the polycrystalline and thin-film panels. They also feature a uniform colour, as they are cut from a single silicon source. This makes monocrystalline cells aesthetically superior.
- PERC modules
The HiKu7 solar panels feature PERC solar cells.
PERC stands for Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact. The PERC technology introduces a passivation layer at the rear of the conventional solar cells.
This does much to increase the efficiency of the cells. For example, it reflects unabsorbed light onto the solar cell, giving the cells a second opportunity to absorb the light and convert it to electrical energy. Also, it prevents efficiency losses in different ways, including making the flow of electricity more steady and consistent.
- Power tolerance
The power tolerance measures how much a solar module can deviate from its power rating.
It’s usually expressed as a percentage of the power rating. Thus, a 400 W module with a -10% to +10% power tolerance means that the module could output between 360 W and 440 W in the real world.
Interestingly, the HiKu7 solar panels have a power tolerance of 0 to +10 W. The power tolerance is a useful estimate of solar panel quality. It tells you the panels won’t produce less than their stated power output. Instead, they can have a maximum power of up to 10 W greater than what is specified.
- More durable with quality framing
The HiKu7 modules are framed. Framing provides strength to PV modules, making them more durable. It makes modules better protected during transportation and better at bearing heavy mechanical loads (such as hail storms, snow, wind, etc.) brought on by unforgiving climate conditions.
The modules are “crossbar enhanced,” which further increases their robustness in protecting against the elements.
The best quality frames used in solar panels are made of anodised aluminium. Interestingly, this is what the HiKu7 features. The material reflects more heat, increasing the overall conversion efficiency of the HiKu7 solar cells.
- Hetero-type ribbon (HTR) and Paving (PA)
The HiKu7 solar panels come with Canadian Solar’s proprietary Hetero-type ribbon and paving technologies.
While the gaps between the standard cells are about 2mm, HTR + PA reduces the gaps by 70% to about 0.7 mm. This boosts efficiency by 0.6%.
Hetero-type ribbons are flat and thin, significantly reducing the mechanical stress on the cell edges and the risk of cell cracks. Thus, with this proprietary HTR technology, the HiKu7 solar panels have smaller cell spaces to be more efficient and reliable.
- Comprehensive LID / LeTID mitigation technology
LID (Light Induced Degradation) and LeTID (Light and Elevated Temperature Induced Degradation) degradation are two issues that plague solar panels. They can reduce the overall electrical output of panels in the field by up to 10%.
LID degradation occurs almost immediately after the panels are exposed to the sun and are complete in a few days. But LeTID degradation can take 1 – 2 years to appear. However, while LID degradation can easily be tackled, LeTID degradation is not so easily tackled.
Thankfully, Canadian Solar has developed technologies for mitigating LID and LeTID. These technologies are employed in the HiKu7 modules resulting in up to 50% lower degradation.
- Completely watertight J boxes
The J box is the solar panel junction box. It’s an enclosure attached to the back of the panel where the strings are electrically connected, and it functions as the output interface of the panel, making it possible to connect the solar panel to an array.
A good junction box should prevent water from coming in to avoid or significantly reduce corrosion at the terminals of the solar panel. So, when considering solar modules, the IP rating of the junction box is critical.
The IP rating shows the degree of protection an electrical enclosure provides against ingress, specifically dust and water. In IP ratings, the higher the second number, the more watertight the enclosure is.
There are many good solar panels with J-boxes rated IP65, as these protect against low-pressure water jets. However, a completely watertight junction box will come with an IP66 rating, protecting against even strong water jets from all directions. These are featured in some of the best solar panels.
Interestingly, the HiKu7 solar modules beat this, as it comes with IP68-rated J-boxes.
What is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel’s Warranty?
The Canadian HiKu7 solar panel has a 12-year product, manufacture and materials warranty. Moreover, the manufacturer offers 25 years of production warranty, promising the highest performance and reliability during the photovoltaic installation’s lifespan.
Is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 a Tier 1 Panel?
Canadian Solar HiKu7 is a Tier 1 panel, as a Tier 1 solar panel business manufactures it.
Typically, a Tier 1 manufacturer will have over five years of experience in manufacturing panels, possess state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, maintain a strong reputation in the solar industry, and be financially robust. This means they can manufacture high-quality, reliable, high-performance panels.
Canadian Solar ticks the boxes of a Tier 1 manufacturer, and the HiKu7 ticks the boxes of a high-performance and dedicated solar panel.
Is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 a CEC-Approved Panel?
Canadian Solar is listed by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) as an approved solar panel manufacturer. This means that the modules manufactured by the company have been tested and found suitable for installation in Australia.
Is the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel Safe and Reliable?
Internal reliability tests show that the HiKu7 can withstand a heavy snow load of up to 5,400 Pa and a wind load of up to 3,600 Pa. These solar panels have received DNV certification thanks to their dependability. The HiKu7 solar panel employs various innovative technologies to outperform its peers.
The panels have a 3% lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and are safe for rooftop installations. Using dual technology lowers hotspot temperature, meaning that the panels pose less fire risk. The superior hotspot performance and the panels’ sturdy construction also mean they’ll last longer.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Canadian Solar HiKu7 Solar Panel
From the technical specifications to its unique features, the HiKu7 solar panel contains plenty of advantages.
Some of these are:
- High power. PERC cells and other innovative technologies increase energy yield, allowing the modules to have energy ratings of 640 W – 670 W.
- Highly efficient. With a high power rating, the conversion efficiency is also high, ranging between 20.6% and 21.6%.
- LID/ LeTID mitigation technology. The modules employ Canadian Solar’s proprietary technology in mitigating LID and LeTID by as much as 50%.
- Better shading tolerance. Because the solar panels use dual cells, if one line of cells is shaded, the power output is at least 50% instead of reducing to zero.
- Reduces LCOE by 3.5%. The Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) measures whether a solar energy project is worthwhile. With the HiKu7 employing different technologies to be highly efficient, it’s more profitable in the long run.
- Excellent hotspot performance. With dual cell technology halving the internal current in cells, the HiKu7 can achieve 40 degrees CCelsius lower hotspot temperature. This dramatically reduces the PV module failure rate.
- Minimises micro-crack impacts. Using the proprietary HTR and paving technology reduces mechanical stress on cell edges.
- Sturdiness. With anodised frames and being crossbar enhanced, the HiKu7 panels can bear heavy snow loads up to 5,400 Pa and wind loads up to 2,400 Pa.
- Good warranty. HiKu7 comes with a 12-year product warranty (on materials and workmanship) and a full 25-year performance warranty. While the product warranty is on par with other top companies, the performance warranty is one of the longest in the industry.
Somehow, the very efficient and reliable HiKu7 solar panels have a few limitations, including:
- Monofacial design. Only one side of the solar panels absorbs light. However, with innovative technologies like PERC cells and others, the HiKu7 still has the potential to be one of the most powerful solar panels on the market.
- Unsuitable for domestic use. Residential solar panels usually have a power rating of 250 – 400W. Thus, the high-power 640 – 670 W HiKu7 are best suited for commercial solar systems.
Canadian Solar HiKu7 Installation
You’ll need a certified solar installer like Instyle Solar to help install your Hiku7 solar modules and set up your solar system.
There are precise requirements set out in the HiKu7 installation manual regarding every part of the installation, including storing the modules, unpacking, lifting them to the rooftops, mounting, orientation and tilt, wiring, grounding, etc.
However, with the HiKu7 being monofacial panels, installation is relatively easier because you won’t need to worry about reflective roof surfaces or special mounting equipment.
Canadian Solar HiKu7 Compatibility with Inverters
You need solar inverters to convert the direct current (DC) that the solar panels produce into alternating current (AC) that household equipment uses. Thankfully, the Canadian Solar HiKu7 solar module is compatible with mainstream inverters.
The solar panels work with all of Australia’s most popular and biggest solar inverter brands, including:
- Fronius solar inverter,
- Sungrow solar inverter, and
- Huawei solar inverter.
Is the Canadian Solar BiHiKu7 Solar Panel Worth it for Your Home? Our Opinion
Canadian Solar HiKu7 is worth it no matter your consideration. If power output is important to you, the HiKu7 modules are 600+ W modules that’ll give you more energy and increase your self-consumption and electricity bill savings. These panels will power even large homes. They are also excellent for small commercial applications.
If performance is your top priority, the HiKu7 employs different ground-breaking solar technologies to make it highly efficient, improve its shade tolerance and hotspot performance, improve its performance under high temperatures, and more.
If reliability is your concern, many of the performance indices of the HiKu7 should bring peace of mind. In addition, the HiKu7 panels come with sturdy frames, making them able to withstand whatever the weather and environment throw at them while they sit on your roof.
Lastly, if you’ll rather not pay through the nose for solar panels, the HiKu7 is a perfect option. These panels are more affordable than many more aesthetically attuned solar panels.
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