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Maxeon solar cell generations

Crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology is used in 95% of solar cells manufactured worldwide, but the efficiency and performance are determined by variations in the structure of the cell. One of the best and most advanced solar cells featuring cutting-edge technology are the Maxeon monocrystalline solar cells, used in the SunPower flexible & Maxeon fixed frame solar panels.

These are called IBC solar cells (Interdigitated Back Contact) and is a patented design with many advantages over the competition:

Solid copper backing for cell strength

Copper is a better conductor than the baked on aluminum ribbons (silver lines) of other panels

Being on the back the copper is better protected from corrosion and moisture

Active solar surface is not blocked

Robust stamped metal interconnect tabs between cells allow room for expansion & contraction

Here's a small recap of the SunPower/Maxeon IBC solar cells history:

Gen I - 2004.  First >20% Efficient Solar Cell. First commercially available IBC solar cells.

Gen II - 2007.  World Record Panel Efficiency. New cell architecture. First IBC laser processing, higher efficiency, lower cost.

Used in the SunPower 50W (flex) & SunPower 100W (flex)

Gen III - 2015. New cell architecture. First commercial tunnel junction solar cells, higher efficiency. World Record Panel Efficiency.

Used in the SunPower 110W (flex), SunPower 170W (flex) & Maxeon Air 330W (flex) also SunPower 370W (fixed), Maxeon 415W-R (fixed) & Maxeon 470W (fixed)

Gen 5 - 2019. Simplified process, larger wafer size (65% bigger than Gen III) reduced cost. First 400W Residential Panel

Used in the SunPower A-Series 410W

Gen 6 - 2020. Larger wafer size (5% larger than Gen 5)

Used in the Maxeon 475W

Gen 7 - 2022. Latest generation of Maxeon's patented TOPCon cell technology in a shingled-cell design. Simplified process and reduced cost. Higher efficiency. Upside to 26% efficiency

Gen I


125mm x 125mm


Gen II


125mm x 125mm




125mm x 125mm


Gen 5


161.7mm x 161.7mm


Gen 6


166mm x 166mm


Gen 7

shingle cells


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