Pencil thin solar panels are new to the market and are ideal conveyors of renewable energy.

Ultra thin, lightweight panels are being manufactured by Singapore company, Maxeon Solar Technologies, and they are likely to be very big on the European market.

Solar power is a free renewable energy source. The sun gives us more energy than we can use.

The premiere solar cell was developed in the 19th century, but its solar efficiency was scantly 1 per cent.

Solar energy users save up to 75 million barrels of oil and 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

These ‘air solar panels’ are pencil thin and half the weight (in kg/m2) of traditional panels. They can be used on older, standing rooftops not made to take that type of weight.

Buildings account for 28 per cent of global emissions, but an overabundance of rooftops – about 40 per cent of standing commercial buildings – can’t use solar energy because the majority of solar panels are overly hefty.

These lightweight panels do not feature a metal frame and heavy glass used in the panel, and an adhesive mounting system lessens weight, as no racking is required.

The resulting weight, of about 6 kg/m², is less than half of traditional systems and substantially reduces the rooftop load. In Europe, Maxeon estimates an unserved yearly market for ‘low-load roofs’ of more than 4 GW.

The impact of this design on solar supply chains and deployment costs and timelines will be substantial, said Maxeon’s CEO Jeff Waters.

They ease up on the supply chain, with less shipping weight, volume and costs, aiding businesses in the attainment of their net-zero goals.

He says the panels represents optimum innovation in solar technology.

Maxeon’s solar panels will be made in Porcelette, France, and will appear in chosen projects in Europe later this year. General product availability should commence in the first quarter of 2022.


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