SunPower Solar Offers the Best Panels on the Market

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Like

  • Most efficient panels
  • Strong warranties

Don’t Like

  • No price match
  • Little pricing info up front

There’s no shortage of reasons to put solar panels on your roof. They can help you save on your electric bill, go green, keep the lights on during a blackout and boost the value of your home. If you install them this year you can take advantage of a 26% tax credit on the cost of solar and get in on net metering plans and local incentives before they change.

While it may be tempting to rush out and sign a contract for solar panels, it pays to do your research. Not all solar companies are created equal and you should learn about the purchase process and your home’s energy needs and solar resources before making any decisions. With a bit of education, you can avoid less than honest solar installers and find those offering you the best deal.

SunPower offers panels with top marks for efficiency.


SunPower

SunPower Solar, one of the largest solar installers by market share, offers some of the best solar panels for residential installations available. They lead the pack in efficiency and warranty and offer strong warranties on batteries and workmanship too. An expanding list of products and services means SunPower will be able to offer even more in the coming months and years. While price will vary from place to place, SunPower snags the top score of our solar provider reviews so far, for its excellent equipment and warranties.

Shopping for solar, like shopping for any major purchase, should include some careful research. You should identify your energy needs and solar potential, then compare multiple quotes from various installers, including smaller, local companies. You’ll want to understand which financing options best fit your needs and whether getting solar power in some other way makes more sense for you. I’ve thoroughly researched SunPower, but this review shouldn’t take the place of your own research.

Read on to learn more about SunPower’s offerings.

Read more: CNET’s Best Solar Companies of 2022

What do I get from SunPower?

You can buy or lease panels from SunPower, or enter into a power purchase agreement. If you decide to work with SunPower, you’ll get the best panels on the market by several metrics.


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SunPower installs solar panels from Maxeon, a manufacturer that split from SunPower in 2020. The panels are packaged and branded as the SunPower Equinox, a combination of Maxeon solar panels, Enphase microinverters and mounting hardware. The panels have the highest efficiency ratings in the residential market: up to 22.8%. Enphase microinverters are the most widely used microinverters and well regarded.

Besides its top efficiency mark, SunPower’s Equinox system comes with one of the best warranties available. Solar panels degrade as they age, and SunPower’s warranty says its panels will produce at 92% or more of their original capacity after 25 years. Most manufacturers offer 25-year warranties, but guarantee production closer to 85%. This means SunPower’s panels will be generating more electricity for longer. Efficiency isn’t the only factor you should take into account when buying panels — you could meet your needs with lower efficiency and cheaper panels — but a high efficiency mark and strong warranty are two strong indicators of SunPower’s top-of-the-line panel. (Online, SunPower mentions a 40-year warranty that Maxeon offers on its premium panels, which is not available in the US.)

Solar panels on a two story house with a porch.

SunPower’s solar panels are under a 25-year warranty.


SunPower

The strongest panels might come at a premium. Nate Coleman, SunPower’s chief products officer, said the company is starting to offer more affordable options, with more to come.

SunPower also installs batteries under the brand name SunVault. SunVaults are advertised in two sizes: 13 kilowatt hours and 26 kilowatt hours. The 13 kilowatt hour SunVault can release 6.8 kilowatts continuously or 12 kilowatts peak. The batteries are modular (the 26 kilowatt hour is essentially two 13 kilowatt hour batteries stacked), so the output for the larger battery is double. SunPower is looking to introduce greater customization, including capacities of 19.5 kilowatt hours and, possibly, 6.5 kilowatt hours, Coleman said.

SunPower’s battery warranty is strong too. The batteries will retain 70% of their charge after 10 years, regardless of how much power is run through them. Many installers offer a similar warranty but limit it by number of cycles or power charged and drained over time.

A rooftop panel installation from SunPower comes with a 12 year roof warranty covering roof penetrations and a 10-year warranty on the equipment that monitors your system’s production at the panel level. You can access that data in the MySunPower app which is rated at 4.4 stars on Apple’s app store and 3.3 stars on Google Play. (Ratings on Google Play have fallen nearly one full point in recent weeks. SunPower has tied issues to a system update, which should be completed by the end of July.) I did not test the app.

SunPower claims an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (companies have to pay a fee to be rated), but robust customer satisfaction data for the solar industry is hard to come by.

Are SunPower panels a good deal?

Prices vary by location for all solar companies and SunPower is no different. Prices range from $3.28 per watt of solar panel to closer to $4 per watt in California, said David Saitta, SunPower’s senior director of residential sales. Different sources offer different average prices. The median cost in 2021 according to the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie was $3.28 per watt, but others report significantly lower numbers, like EnergySage, which reported averages ranging from $2.33 per watt in Arizona to $3.43 in Washington, DC. (Comparing 2021 and 2022 prices isn’t perfect and inflation needs to be taken into account.)

While SunPower offers arguably the best equipment on the market, if you can meet your energy needs with less efficient and cheaper panels, you might find a better fit elsewhere. Still, SunPower offers different tiers of their Equinox system, and with more affordable options coming down the pike, SunPower could easily be the company that offers the best solar value for your home.

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

SunPower operates in all 50 states.

SunPower has an online tool that lets you get an idea of your solar array’s appearance and your estimated savings. You do have to provide contact information. The estimated array for my home seemed to include panels on a small walkout balcony, so it’s a bit of a blunt object. 

To get a quote, fill out a short form on SunPower’s website, which will prompt a call or email from a solar advisor. You’ll work to design your solar system with a SunPower employee, which will require 12 months of electricity bills. This often takes place online, SunPower said, though conducting the meeting in person is an option. Once you’ve reached an agreement, a site visit does occur to check the condition of your roof and electrical panel.

Online, you get very little information about your potential costs before you have to provide contact information. This is fairly common, and companies that do offer upfront cost information offer only rough estimates.

A house with solar panels in a desert setting.

SunPower operates in all 50 states.


SunPower

SunPower works with both in-house installation teams and dealers around the country to install their panels.

Is SunPower Solar the best choice?

While one review, here or elsewhere, can’t adequately answer that question, SunPower has quite a few things going for it.

SunPower offers some of the best solar panels available and its equipment is covered by some of the strongest warranties available, including protection for your roof that outlasts some of its competitors. While some other solar companies offer more battery options, the typical solar customer doesn’t yet buy one. SunPower’s prices could be a little above average, though it’s hard to tell. Given that each home is a unique situation, it’s definitely worth including SunPower in your research. 

While this review is as thoroughly researched as possible, it doesn’t rely on any hands-on testing or experience with the purchasing process. Solar companies are tricky to review in that way. Be sure to gather multiple quotes, including from smaller, local installers in your search.

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