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Friday, February 16, 2024

SunPower Evaluation: Finest-Performing Photo voltaic Panels Out there


  • Most effective panels
  • Robust warranties


  • No value match
  • Solely installs one battery model

SunPower presents among the finest photo voltaic panels obtainable for residential installations — they lead the pack in panel effectivity. It additionally offers robust warranties on batteries and workmanship. One in every of CNET’s high photo voltaic installers, SunPower made its title with high of the road photo voltaic panels, however now presents extra choices that may meet your vitality objectives at a cheaper price.

While you’re looking for photo voltaic, it is best to establish how photo voltaic panels would possibly affect your vitality invoice, perceive your native incentives and get an thought of how a lot they could value. Then examine quotes from varied installers to weed out ones which might be too costly. You will need to perceive which financing choices finest suit your wants and whether or not getting solar energy in another means (like neighborhood photo voltaic) makes extra sense for you. I’ve completely researched SunPower, however this evaluation should not take the place of your personal analysis.

Solar panels on a roof top over a patio.

SunPower presents panels with high marks for effectivity.


Photo voltaic panels may help you save in your electrical invoice, generate renewable vitality at house, preserve the lights on throughout a blackout and would possibly enhance the worth of your property. When you set up them earlier than 2033, you’ll be able to make the most of a 30% tax credit score on the price of photo voltaic and get in on internet metering plans and native incentives earlier than they alter, like they not too long ago did in California.

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

All in favour of understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your property? Enter some primary info beneath, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your vitality financial savings.

The photo voltaic business — with excessive rates of interest and internet metering modifications in California — had a tumultuous 12 months in 2023, and SunPower was not unaffected. It had some public monetary points in late 2023 and early 2024. No matter your chosen installer’s obvious monetary well being, it is a good suggestion to pin down what occurs to your warranties and repair agreements if the corporate goes out of enterprise.

What do I get from SunPower?

You should buy or lease panels from SunPower or enter into an influence buy settlement. When you determine to work with SunPower, you will get the very best panels available on the market by a number of metrics.

What tools does SunPower set up?

SunPower installs photo voltaic panels from Maxeon, a producer that break up from SunPower in 2020. The panels are packaged and branded because the SunPower Equinox, a mix of Maxeon photo voltaic panels, Enphase microinverters and mounting {hardware}. The panels have the very best effectivity scores within the residential market: as much as 22.8%. Enphase microinverters are well-regarded and probably the most extensively used microinverters.

In February 2023, SunPower introduced it might additionally start putting in Qcells photo voltaic panels manufactured in Georgia.

SunPower additionally installs batteries underneath the model title SunVault. SunVaults are marketed in 4 sizes: 13-, 19.5-, 26- and 39-kilowatt hours. The 2 smaller SunVaults can launch 6.8 kilowatts constantly, whereas the bigger fashions have a steady output of 13.6 kilowatts. In a February 2024 earnings name, executives mentioned providing new battery choices.

The strongest panels would possibly come at a premium. Nate Coleman, SunPower’s chief merchandise officer, stated the corporate is beginning to provide extra reasonably priced choices.

What warranties does SunPower provide?

Apart from its high effectivity mark, SunPower’s Equinox system comes with probably the greatest warranties obtainable. Photo voltaic panels degrade as they age, and SunPower’s guarantee says its panels will produce at 92% or extra of their unique capability after 25 years. Most producers provide 25-year warranties however assure manufacturing nearer to 85%. This implies SunPower’s panels can be producing extra electrical energy for longer. Effectivity is not the one issue it is best to take note of when shopping for panels. You may meet your wants with decrease effectivity and cheaper panels, however a high-efficiency mark and robust guarantee are two robust indicators of SunPower’s top-of-the-line panel. (On-line, SunPower mentions a 40-year guarantee that Maxeon presents on its premium panels, which isn’t obtainable within the US.)

SunPower’s battery guarantee is powerful too. The batteries will retain 70% of their cost after 10 years, no matter how a lot energy is run via them. Many installers provide the same guarantee however restrict it by a number of cycles or energy charged and drained over time.

A rooftop panel set up from SunPower comes with a 12-year roof guarantee masking roof penetrations and a 25-year guarantee on the tools that screens your system’s manufacturing on the panel degree. 

Does SunPower provide monitoring companies?

You’ll be able to monitor your photo voltaic panels’ efficiency within the MySunPower app which is rated at 4.5 stars on Apple’s app retailer and 4.3 stars on Google Play. I didn’t check the app.

Does SunPower use subcontractors?

SunPower makes use of a mixture of in-house installers and subcontractors.

How a lot do SunPower photo voltaic panels value?

Costs fluctuate by location for all photo voltaic corporations, and SunPower isn’t any completely different. Costs as of July 2022 ranged from $3.28 per watt of photo voltaic panel to nearer to $4 per watt in California, stated David Saitta, SunPower’s senior director of residential gross sales. The median value in 2022, in accordance with the consulting agency Wooden Mackenzie, was about $3 per watt for an 8-kilowatt system. Different estimates put the typical larger. The Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory’s Monitoring the Solar report put the nationwide common over 4 {dollars} per watt. Estimates can vary for quite a lot of causes. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting an excellent deal is to maneuver out of the theoretical and get a number of quotes for precise techniques at your location.

The map beneath reveals common costs for residential photo voltaic installations as reported by FindEnergy.com. State incentives and the tax credit score should not included within the estimate. States in grey haven’t got knowledge obtainable.

Whereas SunPower presents arguably the very best tools available on the market, should you can meet your vitality wants with much less environment friendly and cheaper panels, you would possibly go for them. Nonetheless, SunPower presents completely different tiers of its Equinox system, and with extra reasonably priced choices coming down the pike, SunPower may simply be the corporate that gives the very best photo voltaic worth in your house. Providing Qcells panels is a part of this shift, Coleman stated.

SunPower does not provide a value match assure.

Solar panels on a two story house with a porch.

SunPower’s photo voltaic panels are underneath a 25-year guarantee.


What financing choices does SunPower provide?

SunPower presents panels for buy, lease and energy buy settlement. Whereas leases and energy buy agreements are extra reasonably priced upfront, costing only a month-to-month cost for the tools or energy produced, buying panels typically returns the best financial savings over the lifetime of the photo voltaic system. 

Does SunPower function in my state? How do I order?

SunPower operates in all 50 states.


Zooey Liao/CNET

SunPower has an internet instrument that permits you to get an thought of your photo voltaic array’s look and your estimated financial savings. You do have to supply contact info. The estimated array for my house appeared to incorporate panels on a small walkout balcony that does not have a roof, so it is a bit of an imprecise instrument, like many on-line estimators. 

To get a quote, fill out a brief kind on SunPower’s web site, which can immediate a name or electronic mail from a photo voltaic advisor. You will work to design your photo voltaic system with a SunPower worker, which would require 12 months of electrical energy payments. This typically takes place on-line, SunPower stated, although conducting the assembly in particular person is an possibility. As soon as you’ve got reached an settlement, a web site go to does happen to test the situation of your roof and electrical panel.

On-line, you get little or no details about your potential prices earlier than it’s important to present contact info. That is pretty widespread, and corporations that do provide upfront value info usually provide tough estimates.

SunPower works with each in-house set up groups and sellers across the nation to put in their panels.

Is SunPower the only option?

Whereas one evaluation, right here or elsewhere, cannot adequately reply that query, SunPower has fairly a number of issues going for it.

SunPower presents among the finest photo voltaic panels obtainable, and its tools is roofed by among the strongest warranties obtainable, together with safety in your roof that outlasts a few of its rivals. Whereas another photo voltaic corporations provide extra battery choices, the standard photo voltaic buyer does not but purchase one. SunPower’s costs may very well be a little bit above common, although it is exhausting to inform. Given that every house is exclusive, it is positively value together with SunPower in your analysis. 

Whereas this evaluation is as completely researched as attainable, it does not depend on any hands-on testing or expertise with the buying course of. Photo voltaic corporations are difficult to evaluation in that means. Make sure to collect a number of quotes, together with from smaller, native installers in your search.


  • High-of-the-line panels
  • Robust warranties


  • Just one battery model
  • No value match

A house with solar panels in a desert setting.

SunPower operates in all 50 states.


Simply searching for an emergency backup? Try transportable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic mills.  

SunPower critiques: What prospects are saying

On-line critiques are a difficult beast. When you’re like me, you are extra prone to head on-line to depart a nasty evaluation out of frustration than to say, “It was simply high-quality.” We’re together with a collection of critiques right here, to not say that is precisely what your expertise can be, however to acknowledge that critiques may help you establish what questions you should ask earlier than signing up and developments in customer support.

Like most photo voltaic corporations, SunPower’s Higher Enterprise Bureau buyer critiques are typically decrease than its grade, which measures its responses to buyer complaints via the BBB, amongst different issues. Here is a pattern of critiques of SunPower, which common a robust 4.24 stars out of 5, although there appears to have been a spate of one-star critiques not too long ago. SunPower has responded on to the current critiques, promising to observe up.

Some critiques quoted beneath have been calmly edited to appropriate typos.

5-star critiques

“This was most likely the neatest selection I’ve made behind buying my house. Easy course of. The one factor I did was safe my pets throughout set up and relax and wait to save lots of a ton of cash.” Fred B., August 2022

“Earlier than I acquired this firm, I did a variety of analysis from different corporations and located SunPower to be easy {and professional}. They gave a timeline of when to anticipate issues. The set up was executed in a few days. They left my home clear when executed and nonetheless they adopted up to ensure issues had been working effectively. This firm has been round for over 30 years and may be very respected. No regrets for making SunPower my photo voltaic firm.” Margaret L., Might 2022

One-star critiques

“Following their admission of fault within the photo voltaic panel set up, SunPower despatched me a affirmation electronic mail and requested me to supply a restore quote from an organization of my selecting to deal with the ensuing inner damages. Regardless of submitting the quote over a month in the past, I’ve not obtained approval from them but.” Raoul D., Might 2023

“Add me to the checklist of consumers with out solar energy. My Inverter is dangerous and I’ve not had any solar energy produced by my system since final September. I’ve been advised that the inverter required for my system is now not being produced and that they’re looking for one. In the meantime, I’m being billed each month by SunPower, who takes the cash straight out of my account. I even have needed to buy energy from our native supplier at high charges since I’m labeled as a photo voltaic buyer.” Ada Jeanne G., April 2023

How we consider photo voltaic corporations

Reviewing photo voltaic corporations in a hands-on means is troublesome. Accounting for all of the variations from mission to mission is inconceivable. To offer a useful evaluation, we targeted on what we are able to measure and meaningfully examine amongst corporations.

We concentrate on three buckets of standards: tools, warranties and repair. 

Inside the tools class, corporations obtain scores for the panels, inverters and batteries they set up. Warranties embrace ensures on the panels, workmanship and weatherization in opposition to leaks. Firms earn factors for service if they provide a value match, a significant degree of value transparency and a well-rated app for monitoring photo voltaic manufacturing. They lose factors if there are main points pertaining to customer support (lawsuits, investigations or clear reputations for shoddy service). These points will at all times be detailed within the evaluation.

You’ll be able to learn an in depth take a look at how the scoring breaks down.

We do not contemplate the typical value of an organization’s installations of their rating. This info is troublesome to search out and exhausting to match throughout service areas (and even roof-to-roof). Firms are sometimes gradual to reveal it, too. We additionally pass over simply discovered however irrelevant info like what number of states an organization operates in.

SunPower FAQs

Does SunPower provide financing choices?

SunPower presents buy, lease and energy buy agreements. You may also finance a photo voltaic mortgage via the corporate. I have not seen SunPower’s mortgage choices, however it will probably repay to buy round for higher phrases.

Does SunPower provide vitality monitoring?

Sure. SunPower presents monitoring via the mySunPower app. The app enables you to monitor your photo voltaic panel system’s manufacturing and vitality storage standing. It is also appropriate with sure units that can mean you can monitor your vitality use. The app will get a robust ranking on the App Retailer and Google Play.

Does SunPower provide vitality storage?

Sure. SunPower at present presents its personal battery system, SunVault. SunVault is available in 4 sizes and may again up simply important hundreds (the vital home equipment you need to preserve working throughout a blackout) or your entire house. Blue Raven, which is owned by SunPower, additionally presents SunVault batteries.

Correction, Jan. 31, 2023: An earlier model of this text misstated the Higher Enterprise Bureau’s grading course of. Any firm can obtain a grade from the Bureau, no matter whether or not it has paid to undergo the accreditation course of.

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