TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2020
For the second year in a row, a solar pioneer using innovative SunPower SunPower Maxeon solar has been named one of the "Best Inventions of the Year" by TIME Magazine. Loon (Formerly known as Project Loon), creators and operators of a revolutionary network of giant stratospheric balloons, was chosen by TIME editors and correspondents to be honored on their annual list of "100 innovations changing how we live."
Loon's fleet of high-altitude balloons has provided emergency internet connectivity to hundreds of thousands of victims of natural disasters, plus countless unserved and underserved communities around the world. The Loon network has been deployed to places like Peru, Puerto Rico and Kenya, beaming 4G Internet from the edge of space to provide critical communications capabilities where they're desperately needed.
Maxeon Solar Technologies is honoured to be Loon's solar technology partner, providing specialised solar panels that power on-board navigation and air pressure systems, weather monitoring devices, a rechargeable battery and more. It's a lasting partnership that started in 2013, and since then, Maxeon has powered Loon for more than 40 million kilometers and 1 million hours of flight.
Longer Flights for Greater Impact
A few short years ago, a single Loon balloon could last only a few days in the stratosphere. But recently, Loon balloon HBAL703 launched from Puerto Rico and landed in Mexico 312 days later. This remarkable journey not only set a record for stratospheric flight (more than 10 months!), it also demonstrated how impactful the Loon network can be; after all, longer-lasting balloons mean better coverage for people in need on the ground.
And it comes at a time when connectivity is more critical than ever. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a fleet of Loon balloons is currently beaming internet service across 50,000 square kilometers in western and central Kenya. It's a partnership with local telecom operator Telkom Kenya that is keeping Kenyans connected to emergency services and loved ones – and in turn, saving lives – during the ongoing global health crisis.
Three Maxeon solar partners were also chosen last year for TIME Magazine's "Best Inventions of 2019." Dutch solar car Lightyear One, South Korean startup YOLK Solar Cow and U.S.-based portable solar innovator We Care Solar were honored for their originality, influence and effectiveness.
At Maxeon, we're proud to contribute to the accomplishments of solar pioneers like these who are driven to make the world a better place. We're humbled to be reminded, again and again, that with our advanced solar technology, anything is possible. And we're inspired to continue advancing our purpose of Powering Positive Change™ around the world.
A worker at the SunPower-brand panel manufacturing site in France inspects Maxeon cells.