Maxeon Unveils SunPower Performance 3 AC Solar Panel

SunPower Performance 3 AC Solar Panel

Maxeon Solar Technologies has taken the wraps off another AC solar panel – and it looks like this one will be heading to Australia very soon.

In most home solar installations, multiple panels connect to a single string solar inverter. But a system with AC solar panels features modules with a factory-fitted microinverter on the back of each.

The use of microinverters provides a number of benefits over a string inverter, among them panel level optimisation and monitoring, and the conversion of DC power to AC at the point of generation. This means high voltage DC cables don’t need to run through the roof.

In a string inverter scenario, one shaded solar panel impacts the performance of all panels in that string. Using microinverters, only the shaded panel’s performance is affected.

SunPower spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies’  SunPower Maxeon 5 AC solar panel is already available in Australia; and another should be joining it soon – the SunPower Performance 3 AC.

“Today’s customers are increasingly demanding, they expect top quality and peace of mind from their solar systems,” said Jeff Waters, Maxeon Chief Executive Officer. “These are the main reasons behind the success of our first AC panel under the Maxeon product line.”

Mr. Waters said the addition of a Performance line AC solar panel will enable Maxeon to tackle different market segments with a “value line business proposition”; which I believe is corp-speak for “cheaper”.

Maxeon SunPower Performance 3 AC Specifications

It’s often the (frustrating) case when manufacturers make announcements regarding new solar panels that these contain more fluff than substance – and Maxeon didn’t disappoint. But I found a datasheet here (in German, UPDATE July 19: now also in English) for the black version that reveals the following:

  • Wattages: 370W, 375W, 380W, 385W
  • Panel efficiency: 18.9%, 19.1%, 19.4%, 19.6%
  • Microinverter: Enphase IQ7A
  • Temperature coefficient: −0.34 %/°C
  • Weight: 22.2kg
  • Dimensions: 1160mm X 1690mm X 35mm
  • 25 year product/performance warranty. (Microinverter: 25 year limited product warranty from Enphase. AC modules must be connected to the Enphase monitoring hardware – Envoy – for the Enphase product guarantee to apply.)
  • Minimum guaranteed output in the 25th year: 87.2%
  • Assembled in China

Compared with the Maxeon 5 AC, the Performance 3 AC is heavier and less efficient, and the temperature coefficient isn’t as good – nor is the power output warranted at year 25. The Maxeon 5 AC line is also available in higher wattages (400W, 410W, 415W).

We don’t have indicative pricing at this stage, but as with other SunPower solar panels they will likely be rather pricey – but there’s no reason to doubt these will be very good quality panels. While the Performance 3 AC should be significantly cheaper on a cost-per-panel basis than the Maxeon 5 AC given that line’s premium nature and higher wattages, how they’ll stack up on a cost-per-watt basis remains to be seen.

On a related note, you can compare specifications and pricing of Maxeon/SunPower products with a bunch of other brands in SolarQuotes’ solar panel comparison table.

As for availability of the new module, Maxeon says it will start shipping the SunPower Performance 3 AC to key international markets starting this quarter. Australia is considered a key market, so it shouldn’t be long before these panels arrive on our shores.

UPDATE 19 July: I’ve heard from Maxeon, which states the panels are on their way to Australia and will be available for delivery beginning in the first week of August. These will be the first Performance 3 AC panels available to customers anywhere in the world.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Chris Thaler says

    The only downside of panel attached microinverters is the need for constant monitoring of each units output to ensure effective running. I run an experimental 3 unit system on my back shed just because I can but don’t bother monitoring. There will be a need for 100% effective isolation control at the installed point for emergency workers in the event of electrical leakage during control or salvage operations.

  2. Garry Hardaker says

    I have previously contacted you about my 7.5 kw system using 23 Sunpower panels, each one with a Tigo optimiser.

    The 1st call out revealed 6 faulty Tigo switches in a string of 8, the other 2 strings were OK. THE 6 were replaced under Warranty.

    My system is again showing very low outputs from both my Fronius and Emberpulse data.

    I am booked in to have a temporary monitoring Tigo system installed to look at any further problems which there must be due to the low production my panels are putting out. The inspection has been halted by the recent lockdown in Sydney meanwhile my electricity bills are going up dramatically compared to the same time last year.

    I have heard that sunpower panels operated under different parameters than LG etc. Have you heard any reports that Tigo Optimisers do not work well when used with Sunpower panels but are perfect with other panels

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