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REVIEW: Panasonic N330 (VBHN330SA16)

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Panasonic reclaimed its spot among leading manufacturers of solar modules with the VBHN325SA16. Panasonic uses strict selection of materials and skilled fabrication processes. A vertically integrated factory allows for detailed quality evaluations at each production phase.

The modules arising from this are IEC approved by JET. Panasonic HIT ® photovoltaic modules feature an revolutionary hetero-junction cell structure constructed from mono-cristalline and amorphous layers of silicon. Ultra-thin amorphous layers of silicon avoid recombinations of electrons, limiting the loss of carrier to an absolute minimum. HIT conversion efficiency scores are therefore amongst the highest available.

Employing 96 cells in the same size footprint, the N330 produces up to 36% more free electricity compared to conventional 60-cell panels.

Features

  • High Efficiency at High Temperatures
    As temperature increases, HIT® continues to perform at high levels due to the industry leading temperature coefficient of -0.258% /⁰C. No other module even comes close to our temperature characteristics.  That means more energy throughout the day.

  • Quality and Reliability
    Panasonic’s vertical integration, 20 years of experience manufacturing HIT® and 20 internal tests beyond those mandated by current standards provides extreme quality assurance.

  • Low Degradation
    HIT “N-type” cells result in extremely Low Light Induced Degradation (LID) and zero Potential Induced Degradation (PID) which supports reliability and longevity. This technology reduces annual degradation to 0.26% compare to 0.70% in conventional panels, guaranteeing more power for the long haul.

  • Higher Efficiency 19.7%
    Enables higher power output and greater energy yields. HIT® provides maximum production for your limited roof space.

  • Enhanced Frame Design
    A new 40mm frame increases durability and strength, being able to handle loads of up to 5400Pa. Also, the water drainage system gives rain water and snow melt a place to go, reducing water stains and soiling. Less dirt on the module means more sunlight getting through to generate power.
Water drainage

Panasonic’s N330 also perform high on value as compared to Sunpower being marginally cheaper based on what can be see from deals being advertised on the US market.

They will not have this price advantage for long, however, and Sunpower has started shifting its production offshore to reduce costs and compete better.

POWER OUTPUT

Solar panels are rated at a given wattage based on their output at STC (standard test conditions) containing 1000 watts of irradiation per square meter at 25 C.

Real world circumstances, however, are a lot different from this. Typically speaking cells will work well above 25C at temperatures and panel production will usually fall as temperature rises.

With each 1 degree rise in temperature the rate at which power output falls is called the temperature coefficient. A better panel would have a lower coefficient of temperature so that it will fall at a lower rate even though its production will fall before the temperature rises.

The PTC (Photovoltaics for Utility Scale Applications Test Conditions) rating system is an attempt developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratories) to score various panels as to how much they can yield at real world temperatures.

The Panasonic N330 solar panels temperature coefficient shows a -0.29 percent decrease in output per 1 degree rise in temperature. The lower this amount the better as this means less of a decrease in output as temperature rises.

The Panasonic coefficient equal first among the best panel brands, but nowhere near as nice as the Sunpower X Series panel temperature coefficient of -0.29 percent.

PANEL COST

Value or cost savings is a major factor because solar is a financial decision for most people at the end of the day, rather than purely an climate option.In certain areas of the U.S. energy prices are very small and so there is a need for value systems about $3 per watt fully installed to give customers the 6-10 year payback they need for attractive solar panels.

As such it is a positive factor if brands of solar panels have a fairly low manufacturing cost and a higher selling price in the USA.

Panasonic HIT solar panel

Dependence on Irradiance

Dimensions

ELECTRICAL SPECIFICATIONS (TENTATIVE)

ModelVBHN330SA16VBHN325SA16
Rated Power (Pmax)330W325W
Maximum Power Voltage (Vpm)58.0V57.6V
Maximum Power Current (lpm)5.70A5.65A
Open Circuit Voltage (Voc)69.7V69.6V
Short Circuit Current (lsc)6.07A6.03A
Temperature Coefficient (Pmax)-0. 30%/°C-0. 30%/°C
Temperature Coefficient (Voc)-0. 174V/°C-0. 174V/°C
Temperature Coefficient (lsc)1.82mA/°C1.82mA/°C
NOCT44.0°C44.0°C
CEC PTS Rating305.9W301.2W
Cell Efficiency22.09%21.76%
Module Efficiency19.7%19.4%
Watts per Ft.²18.3W18.0W
Maximum System Voltage600V600V
Series Fuse Rating15A15A
Warranted Tolerance (-/+)+10%/-0%*+10%/-0%*

MECHANICAL SPECIFICATIONS (TENTATIVE)

ModelVBHN330SA16, VBHN325SA16
Internal Bypass Diodes4 Bypass Diodes
Module Area18.02 Ft.² (1.67m²)
Weight40.81 Lbs (18.5kg)
Dimensions LxWxH62.6×41.5×1.4 in. (1590x1053x35 mm)
Cable Length +Male/-Female40.2/40.2 in. (1020/1020 mm)
Cable Size / TypeNo. 12 AWG/PV Cable
Connector TypeMulti-Contact Type IV (MC4)
Static Wind / Snow Load50 PSF (2400 Pa)
Pallet Dimensions LxWxH63.7×42.2×5.5 in. (1618x1071x140 mm)
Quantity per Pallet / Pallet Weight40 pcs. /1719 Lbs. (780kg)
Quantity per 40′ Container560 pcs.
Quantity per 20′ Container240 pcs.

OPERATING CONDITIONS AND SAFTY RATINGS (TENTATIVE)

ModelVBHN330SA16, VBHN325SA16
Operating Temperature-40°F to 185°F (-40°C to 85°C)
Hail Safety Impact Velocity1″ hailstone (25mm) at 52 mph (23m/s)
Safety & Rating CertificationsUL 1703, cUL, CEC
UL 1703 Fire ClassificationType 2
Limited Warranty15 Years Workmanship, 25 Years Power Output
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