SunPower Maxeon 5 AC Solar Panel Unveiled

SunPower Maxeon 5 AC solar panels

Maxeon Solar Technologies has announced its new SunPower Maxeon 5 AC solar panel is available in selected European countries. If and when it will be available in Australia isn’t clear.

It was back in June this year when SunPower spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies and Enphase Energy announced their AC solar panel partnership. An AC module is a panel with an integrated microinverter. Instead of Direct Current (DC) power, these panels output Alternating Current (AC). You can find out more about the pros and cons of AC solar panels and microinverters here.

The following are some specifications of the SunPower Maxeon 5 AC:

  • Wattages: 400W, 410W, 415W
  • Module efficiency: 21.5%, 22%, 22.2%
  • Temperature coefficient: −0.29%/°C
  • Weight: 21.1kg
  • Microinverter: Enphase IQ7A
  • Dimensions: 1017mm x 1835mm x 40mm
  • Product warranty: 25 years (panel and microinverter)
  • Year 1 minimum warranted power output: 98.0%
  • Annual degradation: 0.25%
  • Year 25 warranted power output 92.0%

The full datasheet can be viewed here.

When Will The Sunpower Maxeon 5 AC Be Available In Australia?

I was hoping the announcement would throw Australian SunPower (Maxeon), Enphase and general AC solar panel fans a bone, but it wasn’t to be. On expanding availability, it was just mentioned this was first phase of the company’s AC module expansion strategy in Europe and it plans to roll out the Maxeon 5 AC to other countries in the first quarter of 2021.

This may just indicate Europe at this early stage, but perhaps we’ll be nicely surprised.

In 2018, SunPower CEO and Chairman Tom Werner said he believed AC solar panels are the future and other manufacturers have produced AC modules, including Panasonic, Solaria and Longi. But as far as I know there still aren’t any available in Australia.

What About Microinverter Capacity Limits In Australia?

An Australian Standard, AS/NZS 5033, 4.3.12, appears to put a power limit on microinverters. It states:

“(d) Each input shall be limited to 350W max PV power at STC, at a maximum input voltage no greater than ELV.”

A 2020 Enphase white paper notes Standards Australia is revising AS/NZS 5033:2014, including instances where new and/or improved technology has outdated clauses such as this. The updated Standard is expected to be published in 2021.

But this might not cause a delay here for the SunPower Maxeon 5 AC, should the company choose to make it available in Australia prior to the update. In the white paper, Enphase argues the current wording doesn’t preclude the use of microinverters above 350 watts capacity. Enphase states:

“Where microinverters are used with PV Modules with greater than 350W max PV power at STC, AS/NZS5033:2014 Clause 4.3.12 Note 1 applies.”

Enphase says the clause note just indicates where the capacity is greater, the normal requirements of the Standard apply. Enphase Energy’s position on the AS/NZS 5033, 4.3.12 (d) 350 watt limit can viewed here.

Assuming the Maxeon 5 AC does appear in Australia, don’t expect it to be cheap as SunPower is a premium brand. But given the reputations, reviews and track records of Sunpower and Enphase generally, high quality and performance in real world conditions over the long term can be expected.

A high-powered SunPower solar panel that is already available here (without the microinverter) is the 400W Maxeon 3.

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. The Sunpower Maxeon Australia web site proclaims “Now also available in AC version.” with a link to the global Maxeon 5 site. A bit confusing – is this an announcement that Max 5 are available in Australia now?

    https://sunpower.maxeon.com/au/solar-panel-products/sunpower-maxeon-solar-panels

  2. Thanks for the timely article Michael as I am chomping at the bit for this solution!

    I have it on good authority that Sunpower will release the Maxeon 5 AC for Australia from late January 2021, though as you rightly state, nothing officially has yet been promulgated to this effect.

    The panel itself is different from the Maxeon 3, in that it is a 60 cell module and they are pairing it with an IQ7A micro, as opposed to the 96 Cell Maxeon 3 (M3), which is currently paired with IQ7X.

    I may stand corrected, but it would seem that this configuration will be better in that it is likely to reduce the amount of potential clipping that currently appears to be inherent in the M3/IQ7X combo.

    In regards to cost, well theoretically you would tend to think in the first instance that the integration should be cheaper than two independent components. Therwe should also be reduced costs associated with onsight labour costs also.

    In regards to warranty, well it will be good if Sunpower warrants the entire module combo for 25 years, as it does elsewhere, but when questioned recently on Facebook, Enphase Australia advised me that the reason they don’t offer the 25years warranty here in OZ, is because the ACL requires them to provide labour as part of the warranty, where as labour beyond 10 years is not included in other juristictions. I am not sure I totally believe this explanation, but that’s essentially what they said.

    This then begs the question … will the Aussie AC panel come with a full 25 year warranty? If Sunpower/Enphase believe in their products ( with Enphase claiming a 40 year servicable life) then they should offer the 25 year warranty with conviction.

  3. Will this combination be able to power the house, and charge batteries, during a daylight blackout? And, to allow the battery to power a blackout circuit during an evening blackout?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      A home with Enphase microinverters on its panels, as with the Maxeon 5 AC, would normally use an AC coupled battery that works independently of the solar system. So as long as you get the right battery system, it will be able to do all that. An example of an AC coupled battery system is the Tesla Powerwall 2. It’s not cheap but, from what I hear, it works pretty well.

  4. tom lywood says

    is the Sunpower max 5 AC going to work okay with the new encharge battery system from enphase. Hopefully arriving in the UK soon

Speak Your Mind

Please keep the SolarQuotes blog constructive and useful with these 4 rules:

1. Real names are preferred - you should be happy to put your name to your comments.
2. Put down your weapons.
3. Assume positive intention.
4. If you are in the solar industry - try to get to the truth, not the sale.
5. Please stay on topic.

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: