Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies has announced the commercialization of its new Maxeon Air technology platform, which enables the production of frameless, thin, lightweight, and conformable solar panels with efficiency and performance equivalent to standard solar panels.
Described as a “peel and stick” solution, Maxeon Air solar panels are conformable, ultra-light, robust, and fire-certified panels that can be adhered directly to the roof surface without racking, anchors, or ballast. No metal frame and no heavy glass are used in the panels. The resulting installed weight is around 6 kg per square meter, which is less than half of conventional systems and greatly reduces the rooftop load.
Maxeon says Air solar panels are also designed to suit uneven roof surfaces. The Air solar panels integrate Maxeon IBC solar cells, which incorporate a solid metal foundation and stress-relieved cell interconnects. That protests against corrosion and enabling fault-tolerant circuits that allow energy flow even with cracked cells.
A rooftop layer of Maxeon Air solar panels generates 50% more power than conventional solar, thanks to 20.9% panel efficiency and a tight 0.9 rooftop coverage ratio. The Air panels also feature a low power temperature coefficient, shade tolerance, and wide spectral response delivers maximum energy yield from a limited rooftop area. Besides, the IBC solar cells have the unique ability to share current in reverse bias voltage while shaded, avoiding damaging or dangerous high temperatures. This feature is particularly important when panels adhere directly to the rooftop.
“The Maxeon Air technology platform continues our 35-year legacy of solar panel technology innovation and once again demonstrates the ability of our R&D team to develop leading-edge, disruptive technology,” said Jeff Waters, CEO of Maxeon Solar Technologies. “For close to fifty years, the solar power industry has almost exclusively utilized glass superstrate panel construction. As solar panels have increased in size and the cost of solar cells has been dramatically reduced, the cost of transporting, installing, and mounting large glass panels has become a relatively larger portion of the total system cost. With Maxeon Air technology, we can now develop products that reduce these costs while opening up completely new market opportunities such as low-load commercial rooftops.“
The manufacturer has not yet announced the price of new thin, frameless Maxeon Air panels, but it is said that the panels will be featured in selected projects in Europe in the second half of 2021. In Europe alone, the Company estimates that there is an unserved annual market for low-load roofs of over 4 GW. General product availability is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2022.