There's a New Record for the Most Efficient Residential Solar Panel

Solar panel manufacturer Maxeon said this month that its new Maxeon 7 panel set a new efficiency record for its type at 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 company statement about the achievement. The most efficient residential solar panels available today have maximum efficiency marks that top out at just under 23%. 

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 United States, until the third quarter of 2024.

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.

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

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