It’s been a really busy year with all kinds of new solar panel modules hitting the market. We’ve had the Jinko tiger series not long ago and the new Growatt battery as well.
Now, Australians are welcomed by the new Sunpower Maxeon 5 module, and seriously guys… What a beast this solar panel is.
With the help of a partnership with Enphase, SunPower have upped their game to create an incredible panel that can work independently with a long last warranty and industry leading solar panel efficiency.
To be honest, I’m always preaching about quality and it looks like we’ve got some of the best right here in this panel. It’s going to be perfect for homeowners who are looking for a serious solar solution to combat their bills.
Since February 2021, when the Maxeon 5 panels arrived in Australia we’ve been asked to design quite a few systems with these panels. Already they seem pretty popular and they haven’t been here too long.
That’s a good sign to be honest. It’s not that common that a panel comes into a saturated market and gets popular quickly. I mean, to be honest when you take a deep look into the Maxeon 5 you can see why really… It’s up there with the best of the best.
Anyway, I want to tell you guys everything about this new module and why it’s become so popular. Also I will be explaining why it could be the best solution for your home and if it’s actually worth investing in.
If you want to back track, you can read my full sunpower review here, and if you’re ready to start getting a design proposal (not a quote, my team are design experts who offer unique tailored solar systems) then please feel free to book a consult with one of my SunPower design experts here.
You could just say that these Maxeon 5 panels are just as powerful as the sun… (Sunpower). Ok, I’ll stop making stupid dad jokes. However, these panels do seriously pack a punch.
The Sunpower maxeon 5 module comes in sizes of 400w, 410w and 415w in max energy output. That is a lot of power for residential panels, usually we see 400+w for commercial sizes.
What is so impressive about the Maxeon 5’s is that they are still the size of your average household solar panel. It’s roughly around the same size as the Jinko cheetah which is 1840×998×35mm whereas the Maxeon 5 is 1835mm x 1017mm x 40mm.
So overall, this solar panel is extremely powerful. The benefits are that you can get a larger size system with more energy fitting into a smaller roof space. Of course, this means you can slash your energy bills further because you will be producing more energy.
Of course SunPower hasn’t changed their main selling point. With this solar panel you will be getting a 25 year product warranty. This means if there are any issues or faults within 25 years then you can get those solar panels replaced, fixed or refunded.
This also applies to the Enphase micro-inverters which again come with a full 25 year warranty. For me, the reason why this is important is because it shows the quality of these panels. They are not going to just break on you within 10-15 years. It’s guaranteed you will see your return and more from the Maxeon 5’s.
It’s also an industry leading warranty. The only other solar panel offering this size warranty is LG solar modules. You won’t find a product warranty longer than Sunpower which is a great unique selling point for them. They really focus on the quality of solar and not the price, as shown in this 25 year warranty.
Personally, I would say that these panels make a fantastic long term investment. If you’re looking for a complete, long term solar solution that is going to be over 30+ year return on investment then it’s worth choosing these for the warranty back up.
Honestly, I think this will become the new normal in solar panels within 15-20 years. Essentially, micro inverter technology works by giving each solar panel a ‘mini’ inverter on the back. This means that each solar panel can work independently and generate its own energy.
I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but if you are interested in learning about the benefits of Enphase microinverter technology then click here to read my rundown on it.
When you compare it to your normal PV string system, there are so many more benefits for using micro inverter technology. For example, you can see if one panel is underperforming, you will be able to overcome shading and many more which I’ll go into below.
SunPower actually summarises this with a fantastic statement, “solar panel that works harder, and smarter”. It’s true, and you’ll be getting a more advanced system with the Maxeon 5’s compared to Jinko, Longi and all the other conventional panels out there.
This isn’t to say that this solar panel is better than those other ones, I truly don’t believe that because each homeowner is different and has different reasons for why they want to go solar.
So, this means we (as design engineers) can create a bespoke system based around budget, roof size etc. I’ll go into more details about who would benefit from the Maxeon 5 below.
Yes, it’s a great question. What is different between the Maxeon 5 when compared to the Performance 3 or the Maxeon 3. When you look closely there is actually a lot of difference…
First of all, the Maxeon 5 modules are AC panels whereas the P3 and Maxeon 3 are both DC modules. The main difference is in the way that the energy flows and is transferred.
Quickly to run down, AC technology will convert sunlight into AC energy from the solar panel to be used into your home. Whereas DC will create DC energy from the panel and flow it down into the inverter where it’s converted into AC.
It’s true. AC is WAY more safer than DC technology. This is because they don’t generate any DC currents which is dangerous energy. When you use a normal PV string system, usually cables will carry the high voltage current through your roof and house and down to the inverter.
Of course, having a high voltage DC current is at risk of setting on fire or causing a small explosion or bang. HOWEVER, this is not the case if your system is installed by a competent, qualified solar electrician. Here’s the difference between good and bad panel installation.
With the Performance 3 and Maxeon 3, you are limited by your design as they use a string system. This means all the panels are connected together in strings and if one panel is shaded, the whole string will be too.
With the Maxeon 5, each panel runs independently. This means you can be more flexible with your design including putting panels in areas where strings won’t reach or areas that may see a small amount of shade during the day. I’ve put a picture below showing how flexible you can be with this…
Ha ha, it’s quite funny to see but when you compare the amount of energy you get from the Maxeon 3 compared to the Maxeon 5 then even Sunpower are making their old panels look ‘weak’ (even though they’re not).
You can get a lot more energy from the Maxeon 5 compared to the previous modules. This is both down to the inverter technology but also the size of the panels being 400w and above.
Look if you’re anything like me, all the technical stuff can be boring. We just want to know exactly what these panels can do for me and how they can benefit my home.
The obvious one. These panels are going to seriously slash bills. Depending on how much energy you are using and if you get a solar battery installed as well, then you may even remove your energy bills…
Having solar should be stress free. With these solar panels you’ll definitely be getting a fully automated, powerful system that generates its own energy without you having to maintain, clean or fix it ever.
With Enphase you can have total visibility over your system. The real time reporting will show you exactly how much energy you’re producing down to each panel performance. You can even see if there are any issues with any panels and if they need replacing.
When compared to other panels, you can get more power from your size system. You can also benefit from a more flexible design. It will help you optimise the right system that you can afford within your budget.
Sunpower and Enphase are known for quality. You’ll be seeing the returns from this system 30+ years after it’s been installed. This means you will be making money and really benefiting from these panels from years to come. More so than normal panels.
Best suited for homeowners looking for a secure, powerful system with long lasting results
Looking for a big investment system, going to see a lot back from it over 20-30 years
I wouldn’t say it was a waste of money no. However, I would suggest that it’s better suited for some homeowners than others. It’s definitely a bigger investment than the other Sunpower modules, however it will provide higher returns in the future.
For me, I would suggest that these panels are best suited for homeowners looking for the long term solar solution. People who are looking for quality to last a very long time.
It’s good for homeowners who want to buy a high-end system with the latest advanced technology. People who have a higher budget, I would defo give you these panels as an option. If you’re thinking about waiting for this technology to come down in price, here’s my explanation on why waiting could be an expensive mistake.
It’s a fantastic solution for homeowners but it may not be suited for those looking for a small system with a fast ROI, who want to slash their bills now and look for the long term investment because they may want to move home in years to come.
Long story short, the Maxeon 5 is a great solar panel for homeowners who are looking for a long term investment, high quality system and more power for their budget.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best solar panel because everyone is different and there is no cookie cutter solar… So each solar panel might suit someone the ‘best’.
If that makes sense?
ANYWAY, let me know what you guys think in the comments below. We’ve installed a few Maxeon 5’s but if you’ve got them share what you think with all of us below 😁.
Lightning Solar & Electrical