At the turn of the 20th century, Henry Ford famously introduced the concept of standardization with the design and manufacturing of his Model T automobile. The Model T was simple, affordable and built to last. There were no fancy options, and it was only available in black. Sales surpassed expectations and, in an era when hundreds of car makers were competing for attention, the Model T eventually captured 60 percent of the market.
Similar to the early days of the automobile, the solar industry has grown tremendously in recent years, and today there is a broad range of products available. Understanding the features and specs of various panels, mounting systems and electrical systems requires a great deal of research and/or a leap of faith that the installer will choose the best combination of components to help a customer meet their goals.
What solar customers want is one product that is built-to-last, cost-effective and that integrates all the necessary components, which are designed to work together to maximize return on investment.
Meet SunPower® Helix™
The Helix™ platform is the world’s first fully integrated solar solution designed specifically for commercial customers. It optimizes value by combining fully engineered solar energy solutions with sophisticated energy intelligence capabilities. Standardized Helix components feature an innovative modular design that is adaptable to the available space – rooftop, parking lot or ground – to best meet a customer’s energy goals. With a 25-year warranty on the panels and mounting hardware, the Helix platform offers significant value and uncompromising quality.
How did we do it? By relying on SunPower’s 30 years of innovation and on our unique experience as a vertically-integrated company that has been directly developing, installing and maintaining commercial solar systems for more than two decades. (Click here for the press release about Helix.)
Companies that manufacture solar panels or mounting systems are generally not also helping customers solve their energy challenges by designing and constructing solar power systems and providing O&M services. SunPower does all of that, and we applied our deep insight and knowledge to offer our Helix platform, the complete energy solution our commercial customers have been asking for.
The holistic design approach that SunPower applied to achieve a cost-competitive product with improved efficiency, quality and reliability yielded remarkable architectural and product innovations, such as snap-in panel installation, a plug-and-play electrical system, and a fully ballasted power station. Watch this video about SunPower Helix for an overview.
What’s included in a Helix system
SunPower solar cells and panels
- Indisputably, SunPower offers the most efficient solar panels on the market today1. Our panels deliver 60 percent more energy in the same space over the first 25 years of operation than conventional solar panels.2
- SunPower solar panels are extremely reliable. With a 40-year expected useful life3, only 1-in-20,000 SunPower panels are ever returned under warranty.4
- SunPower solar panels are comprised of SunPower® Maxeon® solar cells, which are impervious to corrosion and feature a unique design that eliminates 85 percent of the reasons conventional solar cells fail.
- SunPower panels manufactured in Mexico and France are the first and only solar panels in the world to receive Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver recognition, which is good for the planet and may help a facility achieve a higher LEED certification score. (Read more about our sustainability commitment here.)
- The Helix Dual Tilt and Single Tilt Mounting systems represent the latest advancement in ballasted rooftop photovoltaic system design, a category we founded more than 20 years ago.
- Helix Dual Tilt maximizes roof coverage to achieve the leading energy density in solar with 72 percent more energy generated over 25 years than a conventional system.5
- The Helix platform is designed to cut panel installation time in half, minimizing business disruption and reducing labor costs. Helix Single Tilt can support the installation of up to 20 to 30 panels per installer hour, which is significantly faster than the 12 to 15 panels per installer hour achieved by leading mounting systems on the market today. Panels simply and securely snap into the Helix Single Tilt system, requiring no tools.
- Warranted for 25 years, Helix rooftop mounting systems are made with marine grade aluminum and stainless steel to withstand harsh weather and UV over the system’s lifetime. Conventional systems are often made with galvanized (G90) steel, which can corrode and weaken more quickly even in moderate environments.
- Helix Tracker and Helix Carport systems are designed for installation in modular power blocks, based on the success of SunPower’s Oasis® Power Plant for utility-scale power plants. Helix Roof has the flexibility to conform to various roof layouts and energy production goals.
Safeguarding the cables running through a solar system is critical to protecting the customer’s long-term investment, yet cable management is just an afterthought in most system designs. Too often, a zip tie is wrapped around a bundle of cables as an ad hoc cable management system, potentially eroding and damaging the cables over time.
By contrast, SunPower’s Helix solution offers our first integrated cable management system. The system is pre-engineered to ensure that every cable within the product is supported reliably for the life of the system. The cable management components are made with durable and sustainable materials such as 92 percent recycled rubber and stainless steel to protect cables against extreme weather conditions.
- The plug-and-play Helix Power Station, including the inverter, AC combiner, eBOS mount, DC branch and AC whips, is the only pre-configured power station in commercial solar in the United States.
- Connecting the Power Station is fast and easy, requiring no manual stripping or landing wires on the roof. Nearly all of the wiring is completed in the factory, reducing labor costs during installation, eliminating wiring errors and enhancing safety.
- There’s no need to mount the Power Station separately as it is an integrated component of the mounting system.
Smart Energy analytics with SunPower® EnergyLink™ software
- The SunPower® EnergyLink™ software is comprehensive, powerful energy intelligence software (EIS) for solar, which, unlike other EIS products, makes it easy to compare energy patterns and identify demand peaks across sites.
- It provides visibility into energy economics to ensure energy goals across an organization’s facilities are on track, allowing customers to make informed decisions about their energy portfolio.
- EnergyLink’s Solar Savings Report quantifies savings from solar with an unprecedented level of accuracy by tapping into high-resolution metered data and world-class utility tariff models.
- A customer can use EnergyLink software to monitor all of their sites, not just the sites with solar power systems. It enables identifying, prioritizing and tracking savings opportunities.
With standardized Helix components, we have eliminated the complexities of solar system design, installation and maintenance that are inefficient and costly. The Helix solution makes the complex simple, allowing customers to easily and intelligently manage their energy use and costs and maximize solar power production over the long-term.
The Power of One™.
© 2015 SunPower Corporation. All Rights Reserved. SUNPOWER, the SUNPOWER logo, ENERGYLINK, HELIX, MAXEON, OASIS and THE POWER OF ONE are trademarks or registered trademarks of SunPower Corporation in the U.S. and other countries as well Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
1 Highest of over 3,200 silicon solar panels, Photon Module Survey, Feb 2014.
2 SunPower 327W compared to a Conventional Panel (250W, 15.3% efficient, approx. 1.6 m2), 8% more energy per watt, 0.75%/yr slower degradation. BEW/DNV Eng. "SunPower Yield Report," 2013. Campeau, Z. et al. "SunPower Module Degradation Rate," SunPower white paper, 2013. See www.sunpowercorp.com/facts for details.
3 SunPower Module 40-Year Useful Life," SunPower white paper. 2013. Useful life is 99 out of 100 panels operating at more than 70% of rated power.
4 Hasselbrink, E., et al. "Validation of the PVLife Model Against 3 Million Module-Years of Live Site Data." 39th IEEE PVSC, Tampa Florida, 2013.
5 SunPower 327W panel with Helix DT compared to standard efficiency Conventional 260W panel and flat roof mounting system.