How GCL solar panels stand up to Q Cells

Published: 3 October 2018

Looking to get started with solar? This article will help you decide if GCL panels or Q Cells are right for you.

Solar manufacturers are a fundamental sector of the industry; they are the ones who innovate and establish the nominal technical specs based on strict test conditions, that we see on the nameplates of solar panels. Let’s take a closer look at two of the manufacturing giants in the industry: GCL versus Hanwha Q Cells.

GCL

GCL stands for Golden Concord Group and is a global energy conglomerate focused on the clean energy business. 

The Chinese company has influences worldwide with offices in the USA, Japan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. 

GCL also supplies nearly 30% of the photovoltaic material used around the world (GCL silicon and wafer) and has reduced the average cost of the value chain in the PV industry by over 90% thanks to their silane FBR process and precision wafer slicing techniques.

GCL expansion also involves administration and operation of utility-scale solar power plants in many corners of the world, with a total deployment of 6 GW. However, their special focus is on China with over 2.7 GW capacity owned by the company. They have leading technologies like cleaning robots, remote control, inspection drones, DC voltage boosting and big data, for the maintenance and operation of their solar farms. 

The GCL conglomerate is composed of GCL-Poly (dedicated to the silicon wafer production), GCL System Integration (manufactures and tests solar modules and batteries) and GCL New Energy (focused on construction, maintenance and operation of large-scale solar farms).

GCL is the world’s largest manufacturer of polysilicon technology and therefore the main quality products of the brand are polycrystalline modules. 

In March 2018, Luo Xin president of GCL System Integration presented a new series of modules in Shanghai. This included a 300 W+ module series of monocrystalline panels with efficiency values between 15.5% and 16.23% and certifications ISO9001 and ISO14001. 

Also, there is the 330 W polycrystalline solar panel which is the highest power capacity module of the company with a 17% efficiency.

Q CELLS

The other solar giant, Hanwha Q Cells is a Korean-German company that has achieved a full vertical integration of polysilicon ingot and wafer manufacturing, development of solar cells and modules up to the construction and operation of giant solar plants as well.

The manufacturing of Q Cells is done in Korea, China and Malaysia, while, the engineering design and tests are done in Germany.

The thing that makes Hanwha Q Cells different from other companies is that they offer the most mature PERC technology in the world. They promote this as the Q.Antum solar cell.  They have one of the greatest volumes of module mass production that pass through rigorous tests like IEC, VDE and their own Q Tests to ensure the modules endure harsh conditions like strong winds, heavy snow, salt stress, desert and dust, hot and humid environments.

Regarding the products, Hanwha Q Cells offers four different types of solar modules:

Q Cells

1. Monocrystalline Q.Peak Duo 

Provides high performance on a small surface area thanks to cutting-edge cell separation and Q.Antum Duo technology. 

2. Monocrystalline Q.Peak 

Innovative modules with Q.Antum technology that are ideal for residential-scale systems.

3. Polycrystalline Q.Plus

The innovative Q.Antum 72 cells module is the strongest module of its type on the market globally. Perfect for large solar power plants. 

4. Polycrystalline Q.Power

These modules with the 6 busbar technology are suitable for residential and small commercial purposes. 

Monocrystalline Q.Peak Duo

The latest release of the company, ideal for rooftop arrays on a residential or commercial scale. The innovation of the product lies in its half sliced solar cells that are cut with a laser cooling heating process.

The advantage of this cut is that the electric resistance of the cell is reduced and therefore production increases. Moreover, the half-cell also benefits from having 6 busbars that reduce losses as the electrons do not need to travel as far to reach the tabs. 

The busbars are also thinner than regular solar cells, so there is more surface area to absorb light. 

All of this translates into 13.5% more power than the conventional solar module.

Among other incredible benefits of the Q.Peak Duo model is that it has a lower temperature coefficient value than conventional technologies. 

It also has a unique electrical structure as the module is wired in parallel formation inside the panel itself which allows better performance over shading conditions. 

Q Cells offers an Anti-PID (Potential Induced Degradation) technology, a hot-spot protection and a special Anti-LID technology that is lower than the typical two annual percent loss of most solar modules, as you can see here.

Conclusion

GCL is one of the greatest solar module manufacturers in the industry that is involved in the whole business of the PV sector, from manufacturing of solar modules to the ECP (Engineering, Construction and Procurement) of solar farms. 

The key product of the company is conventional polycrystalline solar panels.

On the other hand, Q Cells is a division of the Hanwha Q Cells company, with more awards that we can count. 

The company focuses on producing high quality and unique PV monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules based on PERC technology with efficiency values that can reach up to 19.6% (Q.Peak Duo G5-330 W panel)!

Based on the latest release of Q Cells and considering the innovative technology and design of the brand we can say that (at least in the technology aspect), in a competition of GCL panels versus Q Cells, Q Cells definitely beats GCL in all ways! Efficiency, power, innovation, better protection against LID and PID, and in a variety of available models.

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