Sunpower Review

A Long-standing Commitment to Solar Energy

As one of the earliest companies in the solar power and clean energy business, Sunpower is an experienced and highly regarded worldwide presence in the market. With more than 30 years of research and development advances into solar power and a constantly evolving approach, Sunpower provides a high quality range of options for residential, small business and commercial customers alike.

Best For:
Small and Large Businesses

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Sunpower Highlights

  • International presence

  • More than 30 years of experience

  • Cutting edge, in-house developed solar panels

Pros

  • App to monitor energy usage

  • Sustainably manufactured panels

  • Unique panel technology

  • High efficiency

  • Provides for residential and business customers

Cons

  • No in-house installation

  • No dedicated customer service advisor

Expert’s Score Breakdown

Overall rating: 4

  1. Equipment: 3.5

  2. Installation & Monitoring: 3

  3. Efficiency: 4.5

  4. Cost & Savings: 4.5

  5. Customer Support: 3.5

Equipment

Sunpower’s commitment to the environment isn’t just in the delivery of solar panels; even the manufacturing of the E-Series and X-Series Solar Panels (made in Mexico and France) is sustainable.

It manufactures crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, roof tiles and solar panels based on an all-back-contact solar cell invented at Stanford University. The all black cell is much easier on the eye than silver models and allows for better blending in with rooftops, making solar panels a less obtrusive presence on your home or business.

Black panels

The SunPower panels use a unique structure called the Maxeon cell. It is copper based and doesn’t show lines on the front like many other panels. The copper foundation dramatically reduces corrosion, which allows for a much longer durability and extended length of performance.

Installation & Monitoring

Sunpower does not offer in-house installation, but it does work with a network of trusted and vetted installation companies. It’ll source the Sunpower certified company in your area and hand over the measurements and panel details to them. Sunpower ensures that the installation companies they use will also take care of the relevant paperwork and obtain the correct permits for your property to go solar.

SunPower offers a 25-year warranty for their panels. The free maintenance service provided includes the removal of the faulty panel, shipping and new panel installation. You can also monitor your energy usage and panel efficiency with the Sunpower app that can be installed on any mobile device or computer.

Efficiency

The Sunpower E-20 panels provide 20% efficiency and the X-series solar panels operate at a 21.5% efficiency level. This is a very high efficiency level as many panels only offer 15% maximum efficiency. They are aesthetically more pleasing than most models because they’ve been made using all-black solar cells and anti-reflective glass to reduce the glare that panels can produce. During your free consultation an advisor will discuss your options and ensure you have the optimal solar panel for your property to give you the maximum efficiency. Factors such as roof size, commercial or residential use, area and the direction your property faces will impact on the efficiency. Sunpower predicts the panels will have a useful life of 40 years.

Efficiency stats

Cost & Savings

There are three ways to obtain solar energy systems from Sunpower:

  • Lease – Sunpower Capital owns your system and you effectively rent it to use the power it provides.

  • Loan - You own your solar panel system but you borrow the money to pay for it and repay that loan. As with a straightforward purchase, you get to keep solar power based tax credits such as the 30% federal tax credit and any other state or local incentives that may be on offer. Loans can range from 5-20 years.

  • Purchase – You buy the solar system outright and own the equipment and power that it provides.

Sunpower does not provide a single price for a panel as all pricing is tailored to the customer, however they advise their prices range from $15000 – $ 40 000 to purchase a full residential solar system.

Sunpower also offers $0 down financing and has a number of tailored options available for different budgets. The energy saving calculator system Sunpower uses for lease or purchase is based on your local utility costs, electricity rates in your area and shading around your property. Savings do not include taxes or service fees and do not take into account tax credits, state incentives or local incentives.

Customer Support

The customer service is split into four sections. There is the welcome kit that you can download to get you started. This is a comprehensive pack with tips and information about how to get the best use from your solar panels and how to look after them effectively. There are separate numbers and live chat boxes for

  • Large commercial systems and power plants

  • Residential and small businesses

  • Dealers and partners

You won’t always be put through to the same person when you call for advice. The live chat comes in the form of a separate window that opens an online form. You’ll be given a secure connection and an advisor will respond quickly. Sunpower also has a really user friendly and informative blog with regular posts.

Conclusion

After 30 years in the renewable energy business, it’s not surprising that Sunpower has such a great reputation. Sunpower provides one of the highest efficiency panels available, great quality service and aesthetically pleasing solar packages.

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