Maxeon Solar Technologies may have revealed the next evolution in solar roofing technology: peel-and-stick solar panels.
The Singapore-based company announced the commercialization of its new Maxeon Air technology platform, which it reports will utilize frameless, thin and lightweight solar panels that perform as well as standard solar panels.
The panels are the result of five years of research, development and testing. Maxeon says the panels can be adhered directly to a roof without the need for racking, membrane penetrations or other mounting systems, saving on time and labor.
The panels will be featured in select projects in Europe in the second half of 2021, with general availability scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.
“For close to 50 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 total system cost,” said Jeff Waters, Maxeon Solar Technologies CEO, in a written statement. “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 install weight of the panels is around 13 pounds (6 kilograms) per square meter. This is ideal for roofs that can’t bear the weight of traditional solar system installations, though as outlets like Electrek have pointed out, details about which roofs the panels can stick to were not released. The panels themselves are .2 inches (4 millimeters) in width, which is thinner than a standard pencil.
Despite their low weight, Maxeon reports they are engineered to conform to uneven roof surfaces and are fire-certified. The cells themselves use a solid metal foundation and stress relieved cell interconnects to prevent corrosion and allow energy flow, even with cracked cells. No details were revealed on how a panel is replaced if broken.
“In addition to the team's innovative development work on the module design and materials, this new technology platform is fundamentally enabled by our unique IBC cell technology with its superior corrosion resistance and ability to bend without harmful cracking,” said Waters.
Maxeon Air solar panels have a reported efficiency of 20.9% combined with a low-power temperature coefficient, shade tolerance and wide spectral response. Details about wiring, the type of adhesive the panels use and specifics on resiliency were not disclosed.
These details and more could be revealed when Maxeon Air solar panels are presented to the public during "The Smarter E Industry Days", on July 21-23.