Why Half-Cut Cells Are Better Than Full Cell on Solar Panels

The introduction of photovoltaic technology as an alternative renewable energy source is slowly eliminating the over-dependence of fossils fuels. This is attested by the use of solar energy in both the residential sector and commercial sector, including motor and marine industries. The fact that solar energy is cheap, reliable, has higher returns on investment, and low emissions to the environment explain its rising demand. The upward shift in demand and the fight for the market share have led to the production of differentiated photovoltaic products which are based on cutting-edge technology. The innovations provide the user with new product options for optimizing their solar power systems and maximizing their returns on investment. One of the notable developments in PV technology is the new solar panels with half-cut cells, capable of doubling the generation of power and cutting down the overall maintenance costs. Keep reading to know why half-cut cells are better than full cell on solar panels.

Half-Cut Cell PV Module Explained

As the name suggests, the cells in the solar panel are cut into half to reduce the resistive loss of power. This is unlike the traditional silicon photovoltaic panel, which may lose a significant amount of energy through the ribbons connecting the cells while transferring the current. The half-cut cells minimize the resistive losses in the ribbons by producing half the current of a typical cell. They, therefore, generate more power than their counterparts, given the minimized power loss. They account for up to 8w increment in power generation.

Distinguishing Features Of The Half-Cut Cell PV Module

One of the outstanding features of the half-cut cell panels is cell design. Its design features the normal single cell split into twin cells of 156.75 x 78.375mm (the half-cut cells) discussed above. The cells, which are connected in series, have the split junction box design, and the five bus bars features discussed below.

The Five Bus Bars

When used in a cell, the five bars reduce the distance taken by electrons to reach the ribbons. Such reduction of distance drastically lowers the resistance in the cell in addition to increasing the flow of electrons. It also allows for the reduction in the width of the bars, creating more exposure of the cell to light. The five bus bars, therefore, increase the efficiency of the cell by over 0.2% as well as adding the panel output by 2wp. Also, the five bus bars improve service life by reducing the amount of tension to the cell.

The Split Junction Box

The junction box features plastic housing with bypass diodes and different power output options. Usage of the split junction box involves less metallization compared to a standard panel, and this lowers resistance. It also allows for spacing between the cells, which results in a reflection of more light onto the cell surface from the back sheet. Also, the split junction box reduces heat buildup upto20°C, unlike the standard panel’s single box. Such a reduction in temperatures increases the overall efficiency of the generation of energy.

Advantages of half-cut solar cells

Below are some of the merits of half-cut solar cells that can’t be obtained by using the standard panels.

Minimal resistive power losses

Since each split cells produce power halfway, a low amount of current passes through the ribbons and wires. This results in reduced power losses to the ribbons. On the other hand, the cells on standard panels produce power in a relatively larger amount (full), and so the energy passing through the ribbons. Such current transport results in significant resistive losses.

Resistant to shade effects

Half-cut cells have a higher tolerance to shade compared to the standard cells. Typically, a standard panel features a series connection of 3 rows of cells fixed together. Shading of a single cell renders the whole row dormant, thus affecting a third of the total power generation.

On the other hand, a half-cut cell panel also features a series connection but of a double number of rows and a double number of cells since the panel consist of half-cut cells. Half-cut cells, therefore, lose little power since the shading of one cell affects a sixth of total power output.

Long service life

The presence of five bus bars reduces tension to the cells resulting from external forces such as the mechanical load test and thermal tests done before their certification.


Given the outstanding features and the advantages of half-cut solar cells, they are undoubtedly more efficient than the standard solar cells. They are sure to be invested in since they have drastic returns on investment in addition to low maintenance costs and reduced impact on the environment.

Written by M Eduard

M. Eduard was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. Eduard spent his MBA summer internship at Sungevity, a residential solar energy retail company in Oakland, CA. He started this website to share his knowledge about renewable energy.