Panasonic launches all black solar panel – KURO – for Europe

Panasonic has announced their new HIT KURO (black) solar panel. The panel sports a black backsheet and a black frame, plus it hits a 19.4% efficiency, totaling a peak production value of 325W.

The panel seems the same (or very similar) as to what was announced by Tesla and Panasonic back in April of 2017 for the US market.

Panasonic brags that of the 4 million solar panels they’ve sold in Europe – only 148 of them have been returned for warranty issues.

Lining up with the 0.0037% failure rate – the product comes with one of the industry’s best warranties: 25 year protection against hardware and power production. Almost all manufacturers offer a power production warranty number of 25 years, however, most only offer 10-12 years of hardware warranty (that’s always bothered me as a salesperson).

I really like how Panasonic shows off the long-term quality of their hardware – Panasonic modules HIT®: great performance for decades – via listing some installations, their year of installation and showing their production.

Additionally, the power production warranty is very nice. Standard panels suggest that they’ll be at ~80% production ability after 25 years, Panasonic suggests 90%+ after 25 years. That extra 10% adds up a lot of additional electricity production over 25 years.

The new panel offers two versions – 320W and 325W. Roughly, for each 5W added to a standard sized residential solar panel, you add 0.3% in efficiency.

The full panel: Notice the water channels in the corners. I like this as you do often see dirt stuck to the panels on the edge of the panel. I’m sure it has an effect on the long-term production, not sure the real – hard cash, should I make my decision on this panel due to this feature – value though.

The KURO has an amazing ‘Temperature Coefficient’ of -0.258%/*C – in fact it’s the best value in the industry. What that means – for every degree in ambient temperature increase over 25C (77F), the panel’s overall efficiency will fall by 0.258%. For those of you in very hot areas, this panel will help in the long game.

One of the killer features of this panel is “HIT” . “Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer”, is a “thin monocrystalline silicon wafer is surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers.” Visually that is:

This technology – heterojunction – is similar to what drive’s Solartech Universal’s 20%+ 330W+ solar panel. The fundamental values of HIT technology are: reduction in electron recombination loss, reduction in optical loss since and minimizing resistance loss. This page goes into the technology a bit further, as well providing a solid visual.

This technology was the first standard’ish solar cell to break 25% efficiency in April of 2014. The highest efficiency – that’s close to normal – solar cell that I know of these days is also a combination of multiple layers of solar material – pervoskite and silicon from an Australian group.

Electrek’s Take

The number one thing that I take from this data review – Panasonic will deliver a solar panel that will last. And it’s going to last in a high quality manner, not just barely moving along – but running like a thoroughbred. For decades on end.

This does not mean other panels made today won’t do the exact same thing – the industry has become very talented, and knowledge about how to do high quality work spreads fast. However, very few manufacturers have an actual track record to back that data up.

That replacements percentage number really caught my attention – 148 panels out of 4,000,000? That’s goofy awesome! It’s what you expect from a Six Sigma organization. A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of parts are made with the statistical expectation of no errors. 148 out of 4,000,000 equal 99.9963%. To get to the Six Sigma value – they’d have to only have 13 returned panels…which is absolutely bonkers.

A parallel looking panel – with a different name but listed for the USA – is listed on Panasonic’s website. It is listed as a business panel, so I’m not sure if we regular folks will have access to it. If not right away, it can’t be too long before we get access to this panel.

Tesla’s panel is very similar to this one, though I’m told it isn’t the same panel. That won’t matter though as Tesla will still benefit from this progression of technology from their key manufacturing partner.

If you’re in the process of getting a quote from Tesla – would you mind giving other Electrek readers some feedback on the panel wattage, specifications?

Considering residential solar? Understand Solar will connect you with local contractors, Tweet Me an I’ll give you some feedback or allow me to give you a professional residential consultation that will save you money.

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