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Maxeon Solar: Over 100-Fold Energy Output vs. Manufacturing Demand

A third-party study found that the projected output of Maxeon solar panels over the 40-year warranty period exceeds the energy demand of manufacturing them by over 100-fold. Additionally, the Maxeon-SunPower 2021 sustainability report provides more details.

Maxeon Solar Technologies, a Singapore-based major PV module producer that also sells the SunPower brand in the United States, revealed the results of a third-party energy payback performance evaluation of its Maxeon 3 panels in its 2021 annual sustainability report.

The assessment considers the cumulative energy demand over all the life cycle stages of solar panels and considers local grid efficiencies for different global locations in order to calculate the energy payback period for a renewable energy system.

The test found that for ground-mounted modules, the Maxeon 3 solar panels had an energy payback period ranging from 0.13 to 0.45 years, and for a residential rooftop system, the energy payback period ranged from 0.27 to 0.92 years. For ground-mounted panels, the energy payback period can be as little as 47.5 days.

The energy output of the PV technology exceeds the input more than 100 times over its lifetime of 40 years, marking a significant milestone for the sustainability of PV technology.

In its 2021 sustainability report, Maxeon shared that it delivered 899 MW of clean energy in 2021, namely its Maxeon and SunPower brand panels. The company’s impact led to over 52 million tons of carbon emissions abatement that year.

It committed to decreasing both the energy intensity and carbon intensity of manufacturing its panels from 2020 levels. It also seeks to cut water use by 5% and waste creation by 20% by 2030.

The company reported an industry-leading low rate of workplace safety incidences, and it has zero cases of non-compliance with human rights laws. It seeks to boost its traceability even further by 2025 by putting its supply information on the blockchain, making supplier data available within 4 hours of inquiry.

In 2021, the manufacturer introduced the Air panel, a thin, flexible module designed to adhere to low weight load bearing commercial roofs. The company said that this represents a 4 GW market unserved by traditional solar panels that are too heavy for such structures.

PwC Singapore’s Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainability Excellence also announced that the panel manufacturer joined the Singapore Low Carbon Network as an inaugural member. It formed new partnerships with the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore and the National University of Singapore to continue advancing its technology.

Esther Chang said that “With less than ten years left to meet the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, renewable energy will be a key engine powering both Singapore’s and the world’s decarbonization agenda. We warmly welcome Maxeon Solar Technologies to the United Nations Global Compact and look forward to working alongside them to take decisive action for the Sustainable Development Goals,”

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