The world record for solar panel efficiency goes to SunPower‘s solar panels: 24% cell efficiency (sunlight –> usable electricity in laboratory conditions) and 19.6% conversion efficiency (sunlight –> usable electricity in real-life conditions) with the SunPower E19 / 320W solar modules. SunPower prides itself in its hard-earned reputation for world-leading technology and excellent customer service. SunPower panels are commonly used in residential solar, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), commercial solar, and utility-scale solar installations.
SunPower Solar Panels: World-leading 19-20% efficiency
-SunPower monocrystalline solar panels: E19 and E20 series-
Monocrystalline solar cells have a reputation as the most efficient kind of solar photovoltaic (PV) cell, and the first query from many Solar Choice and Solar Selections customers is, “Are monocrystalline solar panels better than polycrystalline solar panels?” In the Solar Choice blog we have previously discussed the issue of efficiency and solar technology, and pointed out that more important than efficiency or technology type is the quality of the brand of solar PV panel in question. The question of durability, quality, and the credibility of the manufacturer trump nominal efficiency every time. (Solar Selections also has an excellent article about the importance of efficiency in choosing your solar panels.) The technology utilised in SunPower’s monocrystalline solar panels does indeed enable high efficiencies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all monocrystalline panels can reach such high efficiencies–in fact, the average is more in the range of 14-16%.
E19 and E20 are SunPower’s signature lines of solar panels use monocrystalline silicon technology. Their names stand for their nominal efficiencies–19% and 20%, respectively. These numbers are the highest that can be found on the solar panel market, and it is only with care and precision in design and engineering that SunPower was able to achieve these impressive figures. The company takes pride in its accomplishments, and has a reputation that is hard-won and well-earned.
-SunPower E19 and E20: Key Attributes and Points of Difference-
-SunPower E19 and E20 lines for solar and residential solar power-
SunPower’s E19 series solar panels 238 watt (W), 72-cell panels, while the E20 series is available in either a 327-W, 72-cell panel, or a 333W, 96-cell panel. The 72-cell panels are generally used in residential solar applications, while the 96-cell panels are more likely to be used in large-scale commercial applications.
-As noted above, SunPower panels have the highest efficiencies of any solar photovoltaic panels on the market. This means up to 50% more power per unit area than you would expect to get from conventional designs. This in turn means reduced installation costs because fewer panels are required to get the same amount of power.
–Dependable, sturdy design means you can count on your panels continuing to operate over the years through all types of weather. Tempered front glass over the PV cells and an anodised alloy frame mean that the units will be slow to corrode or degrade.
–Positive Power Tolerance of +5% for E20 modules: Some solar panels have a power tolerance of +3%/-3%, which means that the panels you install may actually have a lower output than their nameplate capacity. With SunPower’s E20 series, the nominal capacity is guaranteed to be met or exceeded. (E19 panels have a tolerance of +5%/-3%.)
-Product Specifications/Electrical Characteristics-
You can see how SunPower panels compare to a number of other name brand panels on the Desert Knowledge Australia website, an invaluable resource for those shopping around for solar panels.
-SunPower Technology: What is Maxeon cell technology?-
Maxeon is SunPower’s patented solar cell technology that enables the company’s reputation for world-leading efficiency. Most crystalline solar cell technologies have metal busbars–strips of electronically conductive material–that sit on the face of each solar cell. Instead of having such busbars, electricity generated when SunPower panels capture photons from the sun is transferred to a conductive plate at the rear of each cell. This means that more of each cell’s surface area is used in the capture of sunlight, which in turn means higher efficiency.
Another feature which has enabled SunPower to make the headway that it has with its panel efficiency is the way that individual cells are shaped. They can be tiled closely within the solar module frames, which means a greater number in a smaller area. SunPower panels also employ an anti-reflective glass which helps to trap in sunlight and maximise power output.
-Other Information about SunPower Panels-
-Other products by SunPower-
SunPower also has an E18 series panel, which has efficiencies of around 18%.
-Component standards met/awards-
-All E19 series SunPower solar panels are certified by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) of Australia, and are on the list of CEC-approved components
–PV Cycle– SunPower participates in PV Cycle’s voluntary take-back PV recycling program
–CE mark– SunPower panels are compliant with European Union regulations
-TUV Certification means that claims made by SunPower about their solar panel specs have been independently verified by TUVRhineland
25 year solar cell performance warranty
10 year workmanship warranty
(Your installer may also offer additional warranties for the entire system.)
Global Head Office: San Jose, California, USA
Australian Head Office: Belmont, Western Australia
Malaysia and the Phillipines
-History in the Solar Industry-
SunPower is one of the oldest players in the solar power industry, starting around 25 years ago. Founder Dr Richard Swanson first conceived of the company during the 1970s oil crisis. Later, in the mid-1980s, when a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, SunPower was incorporated after Swanson won grants from the US Department of Energy to research solar power and secured financial backing from venture capitalists. By the mid-1990s, SunPower had installed 10 megawatts of capacity in various locations through the US and Europe. SunPower panels can now be found around the world.
© 2011 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.
James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
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