Factory Set to Elevate the United States in the Clean Energy Race

WASHINGTON - Solar energy stands as a formidable source of carbon-free electricity, offering a clean alternative to traditional power generation methods reliant on polluting fuels. Advancements in solar technology continue to emerge, with a U.S.-based company poised to spearhead progress from a cutting-edge factory in New Mexico.

Maxeon, initially hailing from Silicon Valley in the 1980s, recently ventured into independence after separating from its parent company, SunPower, in 2020. Over the past few years, Maxeon has been manufacturing solar panels in Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Now, with backing from the U.S. Department of Energy's Loans Programs Office, Maxeon is preparing to commence construction on a new facility in Albuquerque in 2024. This state-of-the-art factory aims to produce up to 8 million panels annually, featuring the company's interdigitated back contact (IBC) technology, which has the capacity to generate three gigawatts of power each year. Notably, the entire U.S. solar industry completed five gigawatts of panels in 2022, making Maxeon's endeavor particularly ambitious.

Maxeon's presence in the United States holds the potential to reduce the country's reliance on imported panels, particularly from China. The primary focus will be on providing this advanced technology for utility departments, shifting away from residential and commercial rooftops.

Maxeon has achieved a remarkable milestone in solar efficiency, with its latest IBC technology boasting an efficiency rating of 24.7%, as reported by PV Magazine.

This strategic move to the United States could be a game-changer, not only for Maxeon's success but also for clean power generation in a nation that has traditionally depended on external sources for its supply of solar panels. Matt Dawson, Maxeon's Chief Technology Officer, emphasized the importance of achieving the lowest levelized cost of electricity with the lowest overall capital, a feat that China has accomplished in recent years due to the strength of its supply chain. As energy independence becomes a global concern, solar manufacturing is poised to expand beyond China, with Southeast Asia already showing signs of growth, and now the United States and possibly Europe following suit.


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