SunPower has been the world's most trusted panel and solar cell manufacturer since the 2007 launch of its high-performance IBC solar panels. SunPower, now known as Maxeon solar Technologies is still the most efficient solar panel manufacturer in the world. It uses the patented IBC cells technology. The company also has the best performance warranty with minimum 92% guaranteed rated output for 25 years. They also come with a 25-year warranty.
Background of the Company
SunPower Corporation is a long-standing leader in the solar industry technology. Although this is an impressive claim, it's not hard to believe that they produce the most efficient residential panel, the Maxeon 3. It has the best warranty and lowest degradation. SunPower panels, like all things, are expensive.
SunPower was founded in a laboratory in the early 1980s. It officially became SunPower on August 1, 1988. After securing funding, the R & D team created record-breaking PV cells with advanced cell technology. These were later used by NASA and Honda to win the Australian solar challenge car race. These accomplishments placed SunPower on the global stage as one of the most prominent solar cell manufacturers. They also laid the foundation for today's high-efficiency Maxeon IBC cell.
SunPower splits into 2 Companies
In 2019, SunPower declared that it would be separating into two separate public companies, Maxeon Solar and SunPower. Each company will focus on a specific market segment.
SunPower will be focusing purely on North American Solar Market with distribution, sales, installation, and storage of solar panels, and related products.
Maxeon Solar, also known as 'Maxeon Solar Technologies', will be the global distributor and manufacturer for the SunPower Maxeon solar cells and panels.
SunPower has built new facilities in the US, Mexico and Europe to produce high-efficiency solar panels. The only manufacturer that could compete with SunPower in terms of performance and efficiency was LG Energy, which uses a similar IBC cell technology. LG decided to stop manufacturing panels in mid-2022.
SunPower has not had a smooth ride. The company also ran into financial difficulties in recent years and was forced to take on significant debt by high overhead costs and the pressure of the highly competitive Chinese and Korean panels manufacturers. SunPower had to restructure and reorganize its manufacturing operations after the financial crisis. Now, things are looking up.
SunPower Panel And Cell Technology
Maxeon IBC Cells
SunPower started mass production in 2007 of high-performance IBC (Interdigitated back Contact cell technology) and has been leading the industry since. This is the most efficient, solar cell technology. IBC cells are different from other monocrystalline or poly crystalline solar cells that use front-mounted bus bars to collect current and fingers to do so, as they have a fine grid integrated into the cell's rear side. SunPower calls the IBC cell design 'Maxeon'. It uses a grid of N-type silicon on its rear side. This increases efficiency and eliminates the need for exposed front bus bars that partially shade it. SunPower IBC cells are made from high purity N type silicon which increases efficiency and performance. This is why SunPower offers an outstanding performance warranty of 88.25% capacity after 40 years of use of the Maxeon series panels.
SunPower's current generation (3 and 4) IBC cell uses the smaller format 5" (125mmx125mm) in a 96-cell layout, with 8 rows of 12 cells. Most other manufacturers now use the 6" cell size (156mmx156mm), which is common for 60-cell panels. Although cell size does not affect performance, more cells can result in a higher voltage. This can pose a problem for domestic installations that can only handle 600V depending on where they are located. Higher voltages mean that fewer panels can be connected together in a string before reaching the higher voltage limit.
Larger 104 cell format SunPower's latest generation of panels, the Maxeon 2 or Maxeon 3 are constructed around a new format of 104 cells with 13 gen-3 cells in 8 rows. This creates the world's most powerful residential panel at 400Wp. The Maxeon 3 panel ranges from 370W to 400W, and the X Series panels were replaced by the Maxeon 2. The Maxeon 2 panels are 340W to 360W, while the X Series panels were replaced by the Maxeon 3.
Maxeon 6 series In 2022, SunPower's latest panels were the Maxeon 6 range. These panels are the latest in residential solar panels. They use the same 66-cell format as the five series, but the Maxeon 6 cells have a record-breaking 22.8% efficiency. The six-series panels measure 1032 mm in width and 1872 mm in height, slightly more than the five. The power output has been boosted by a 6% increase, taking the peak power rating up from 415W down to 440W. The Maxeon 6 panel A series also includes an Enphase energy microinverter. The Maxeon 6 will be offered in a 72-cell format, with higher power ratings of 450W to 475W.
Sustainability SunPower is the industry's leader in sustainability. We know of no other manufacturer that employs a complete closed-loop sustainability strategy. SunPower's philosophy is to promote sustainable business practices throughout the product lifecycle and beyond. This strategy enabled SunPower to win the first ever Sustainability Award from the magazine.
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