New Record-Setting Solar Panel Is the Most Efficient of Its Kind

Find out when Maxeon's new solar panel will be available to rooftops in the US.

Solar panels on a roof.

Maxeon 7 solar panels -- not pictured here -- set a new standard for residential solar panels.

Getty Images

For years, Maxeon has manufactured some of the most efficient solar panels for residential applications. Now it's set a new efficiency record with the Maxeon 7 residential solar panel: 24.9%. The figure was confirmed by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The new benchmark serves "to set the pace for the entire solar industry," Matt Dawson, Maxeon's chief technology officer, said in a statement in March. The most efficient residential solar panels available today have maximum efficiency marks that top out around 23%. 

In real-world situations, Maxeon expects, its panel will be 24.1% efficient, according to the panel's spec sheet. Environmental factors, like fluctuating temperatures, affect solar panel efficiency.

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American solar shoppers who want to have Maxeon 7 panels installed will have to wait. Though the panel is available for "select partners" in Europe, it won't be available across "all regions," including the US, until the third quarter of 2024, the company says.

Highly efficient solar panels can squeeze more electricity out of limited space and can be a good fit for people who can't install a larger number of less efficient panels. It might be cheaper to install more panels to get the same electricity with a lower efficiency rating. 

Not every panel will be available from every installer. That's one of the reasons it's important to talk to multiple solar installation companies to ensure you're getting the best deal available to you.

Maxeon's new efficiency record continues the long-term trend of increasing efficiency. In 2004, nearly all residential solar installations used panels with an efficiency rating below 16%, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2022, nearly all residential installations used panels with an efficiency rating of 19% or better.

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Maxeon 7 panels are also rated to withstand golf ball-size hail (up to 45mm or about 1.7 inches in diameter).

Article updated on April 3, 2024 at 9:32 AM PDT

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Andrew Blok
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Andrew Blok Editor I
Andrew Blok has been an editor at CNET covering HVAC and home energy, with a focus on solar, since October 2021. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make smart energy decisions. He's a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.
Expertise Solar providers and portable solar power; coffee makers, grinders and products Credentials
  • Master's degree in environmental journalism
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