- Maxeon Solar has accused Tongwei Solar (Hefei) of infringing on its shingled technology patent
- It claims the patent refers to the shingled solar cell technology Maxeon uses for Performance Line modules
- It has filed a lawsuit against the company in Dusseldorf District Court of Germany through subsidiary Maxeon Solar Pte Ltd
A spin-off of SunPower Corporation of the US, Maxeon Solar Technologies from Singapore has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against China’s Tongwei Solar (Hefei) Co Ltd, accusing it of infringing on its patent for shingled solar cell panel technology.
According to the lawsuit filed in Dusseldorf District Court of Germany, Maxeon’s subsidiary Maxeon Solar Pte Ltd has alleged that Tongwei infringes on its patent No. EP3522045 B1 for the ‘proprietary and fundamental’ shingled technology that the former uses for its solar panels, sold under the Performance Line brand name.
“We have taken this action against Tongwei Solar both to protect our intellectual property rights and to encourage an orderly and healthy growth of the solar industry, as well as to give the market confidence that research and development initiatives to develop future technologies are valuable investments that can safely continue,” said Maxeon’s Chief Legal & Sustainability Officer Lindsey Wiedmann.
It is not the 1st patent infringement lawsuit of Maxeon against another solar company for the shingled technology as previously it slapped a lawsuit against Canadian Solar in Japan. The case resulted in a settlement agreement between the warring companies leading to Canadian Solar agreeing to not sell its shingled solar cell modules in Japan (see Maxeon Solar & Canadian Solar Reach Agreement).
Shingled technology involves separating solar cells into smaller strips that are later put together to overlap each other that helps improve overall module efficiency. Maxeon says SunPower acquired Cogenra Solar that pioneered the concept in 2015, and it retains intellectual property (IP) associated with it.
Previously, Solaria Corporation of the US had also accused Canadian Solar of patent infringement of its shingled module technology. Later they reached a settlement after Canadian Solar agreed not to import its shingled modules to the US for 7 years (see Patent Settlement For Solaria & Canadian Solar).
Tongwei Solar is part of the Tongwei Group that has 70 GW annual cell production capacity and 14 GW high efficiency module capacity. By 2024-2026, it aims to expand cell capacity to between 130 GW to 150 GW, and module capacity to 80 GW by 2023-end.
At Hefei production base, Tongwei produces 8 GW half-cell modules and 6 GW shingled modules, according to its website.