SunPower Solar Review: Reliability, Durability, Pros & Cons

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Our Take
4.4
WattHive rating
4.4/5
The final say:

High-efficiency panels, NASA's trust, & strong warranties. SunPower is a top choice for homeowners.

Sunpower Logo
Founded
1985
Headquarters
San Jose, CA
Services
Solar lease, purchase & battery storage
*directly from SunPower
  • Industry leading high efficiency solar panels
  • Chief Executive Office: Peter Faricy
  • Currently servicing 27 states
  • 25 year comprehensive warranty
  • 37 years of industry experience
  • Reported 2022 GAAP net income of $56 million
  •  2019 PV Magazine sustainability award winner

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
High efficiency panels up to 22.8%SunPower can cost more
Trusted by NASA for space missionsSome customers report microinverter issues
Durable and long-lasting panelsLimited availability in certain states
Patented Maxeon technology

SunPower Solar Panels

Since 1998, NASA has used SunPower solar panels on various missions. From the Pathfinder Mission, Mars Exploration Rovers, the 2015 Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission, and more recently the 2020 Mars Perseverance rover which was equipped with SunPower’s technology.

Not only is SunPower a well-known and well-respected solar panel manufacturer trusted by NASA, but they’re also popular around residential areas. With their durable design, cutting-edge efficiency, and sleek design, it’s no wonder homeowners can’t help but consider SunPower.

Efficiency

With a solar panel efficiency* rating of up to 22.8%, their panels produce higher than most residential solar panels on the market today. This means more power output per square foot over other leading brand solar panels, making them an attractive option for homeowners who have limited roof space.

Output

There’s a reason SunPower is trusted by NASA. As of May 2023, their most efficient solar panel outputs 440 watts per panel, which is higher than most other solar panels on the market. This means more energy is produced per panel, which in turn reduces the number of solar panels you’d otherwise need if opting for a different solar panel manufacturer.

Maxeon Technology

One of the reasons SunPower can use fewer panels and output more wattage per panel than most leading solar brands is due to their Maxeon technology. Maxeon currently operates the SunPower brand. This allows them to embed their unique technology into monocrystalline silicon solar cells, creating a much more durable and efficient solar panel.

SunPower Solar Installation

When it comes to installing a solar panel system, SunPower offers a variety of options to meet different needs and budgets. This section will cover the cost, installers, equipment, microinverter technology, and their SunVault energy storage offerings available with SunPower solar installations.

Cost

EnergySage estimates that SunPower solar panels cost anywhere from $3.48 to $4.10 per Watt. This means that a 5.6kW system would cost between $22,272 and $26,240 at a cash price. This excludes any potential dealer fees, financing fees, or additional miscellaneous costs. Since SunPower is considered a premium solar panel manufacturer, homeowners can expect to pay for the quality they’ll receive.

Installers

While SunPower does not offer installation services, they’ve chosen to work with their vast network of certified installers. These partners come in three tiers:

  • SunPower Master Dealers
  • SunPower Elite Dealers
  • SunPower Authorized Dealers

Each SunPower dealer has gone through training, achieved good to excellent customer satisfaction scores, and has provided an outstanding customer experience for residential installations. Homeowners can expect a quality install as each SunPower dealer goes through a rigorous vetting process.

Equipment

SunPower currently offers three residential solar panel options: M- Series panels, X Series, and U-Series panels. They also offer their Equinox system, which combines the microinverters, panels, and monitoring into one interconnected solar system.

Microinverter

In 2018, Enphase acquired SunPower’s microinverter business for $25 million in cash + stock incentives. As of 2023, SunPower uses Enphase microinverters on all of their solar projects and has also benefited from a custom line of Enphase IQ microinverters to pair with SunPower’s solar panels and Equinox systems.

SunVault Storage

For homeowners looking to store more energy from their solar system, SunPower offers their SunVault battery storage technology. This product is their response to the likes of the LG Chem Resu battery and the Tesla Powerwall. As of September 2022, SunPower’s SunVault solar battery, is available in five configurations: 13 kWh, 19.5 kWh, 26 kWh, 39 kWh, and 52 kWh.

SunPower Solar Warranty

What sort of warranties can you expect to get with SunPower systems? In this section, we’ll cover the SunPower warranties in detail, including their 25-year product warranty, workmanship, and warranty coverage.

Product Warranty

SunPower has a standardized product warranty. This insures against any potential solar panel defects, and workmanship, giving homeowners covers for 25 years from the date of the solar panel installation. If any defects are found, SunPower guarantees a replacement or repair of the panels at no additional cost to the customer. This also includes labor and shipping of materials.

25-Year Production Warranty

Often known as a production guarantee, SunPower offers additional peace of mind with its production warranty. SunPower guarantees the panel’s efficiency and output of at least 92% production DC power for 25 years and 90% AC power for 25 years of its original full power output amount.

SunPower’s warranties alone are one of the best (if not, the best) across the entire solar industry. For homeowners looking for a reliable solar company with strong warranties, SunPower presents a very attractive offer.

SunPower Overview, Solar Offerings and Customer Service

Accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) since 2019, SunPower boasts a 4.22 out of 5-star rating with the consumer protection company. In this section, we’ll dive into the customer service experience, financing options, and a brief overview of their customer service, financing, ways to go solar with SunPower, and more.

Customer Service

SunPower prides itself on offering best-in-class customer service. SunPower their customers with a variety of ways to get in touch, including a comprehensive website knowledge page, phone support, and an online chat feature.

Financing

SunPower offers a range of financing options to help customers make the switch to solar. The company provides solar loans with flexible payment options and competitive interest rates. SunPower also partners with third-party lenders to offer additional financing options, including leases and power purchase agreements.

MySunPower App

Investing in technology is nothing new with SunPower. Every SunPower customer can expect to have performance monitoring, solar energy production and usage, and energy savings analysis all from the palm of their hand. The MySunPower mobile app also acts as an access point to SunPower’s customer service team, making it easy for customers to get support when needed.

Ways to Go Solar with SunPower

Solar Purchase (Cash or Financing)

This option is best for homeowners who want to own their solar system outright. SunPower offers homeowners to maximize their savings and energy independence from day one. Homeowners who choose this cash route, along with financing, may be eligible to benefit from the 30% federal solar tax credit.

Solar Lease

SunPower also offers a leasing option that typically runs for 20 years (240 months). Upon credit approval, SunPower will install a solar system, and in turn, homeowners will make fixed monthly payments for the equipment. SunPower also offers homeowners the option to pre-pay their lease and in some cases offers an early buyout.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Similar to their leasing option, SunPower also offers a power purchase agreement. This is where homeowners agree to have SunPower install solar and then homeowners buy the power generated from the solar system at an agreed-upon price per kilowatt (kWh) for a specified term length. PPA terms generally offered by SunPower range from 15 to 25 years. PPA’s are a great fit for homeowners who wouldn’t benefit from the federal solar tax credit or who simply want all the benefits of solar without any of the ownership involvements.

SunPower Solar Reviews

SunPower’s panels has some mixed reviews from its customers. While some are very satisfied with the overall performance and efficiency of their Sunpower solar panels, others have experienced microinverter issues among other issues.

SunPower Customer Reviews

According to ConsumerAffairs, SunPower has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, based on 494 customer reviews. The overall sentiment is a happy customer base but there are some drawbacks.

Some customers mention that SunPower costs a bit more than the rest of the solar industry. Facts also back up this customer claim, with EnergySage reporting that the Sunpower cost comes in higher than the national solar average of $2.66 per Watt.

Despite the cost and the occasional equipment malfunction, SunPower and its authorized dealers seem to do a great job resolving customer issues.

Overall, customers have reported back with an overwhelming amount of positive reviews of SunPower. With a fantastic 25-year solar warranty and a rigorous vetting process for its partners, the investment from SunPower to provide extraordinary customer service seems to have paid off.

SunPower General Information

States Served

SunPower currently installs in the following 27 states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington

Service areas vary depending on the state. Customers can easily find updated information on local dealers and installation branches in their area by visiting SunPower’s official website.

Certifications

Behind the impressive solar technology is a solar company that cares. SunPower is currently certified as a B Corporation. This shines a huge light on SunPower’s commitment to meeting rigorous social and environmental performance.

They’re also a part of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), one of the most respected certifications solar professionals can hold. The NABCEP only certifies renewable energy professionals who are knowledgeable, skilled, and most importantly ethical. This affiliation with the NABCEP solidifies SunPower’s commitment to ongoing excellence in the renewable energy sector.

Research and Development

To stay ahead of the curve with its cutting-edge solar technology, SunPower invests heavily in research and development. Since 2009, SunPower has invested a total of $734 million into R&D, making it one of the most innovative solar companies to date.

Mission

The company mission of SunPower per their website:

“Our purpose is to change the way our world is powered, and our mission is to make solar the most compelling energy choice, inspire our people and communities to thrive, and to build a more sustainable future.”

And they’ve done a great job of sticking to their mission statement. Here are some notable events that SunPower has committed to:

Solar Outreach Programs:

Partnered with GRID Alternatives, a non-profit organization, to bring solar energy to low-income communities through initiatives like the Solar Affordable Housing Program.

Collaborated with Re-Volv, a community solar crowdfunding platform, to finance residential solar panel installations for community centers and non-profit organizations.

Educational Partnerships:

Worked with universities and colleges such as Stanford University and Santa Clara University to advance solar energy research, offer educational programs, and promote sustainable solar energy system solutions.

Environmental Conservation:

Supported The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization, in initiatives focused on preserving and restoring critical habitats, including coastal ecosystems and forests.

Contributed to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, aiming to transition away from coal-fired power plants and promote cleaner energy alternatives.

Disaster Relief Efforts:

Collaborated with organizations like GivePower and Direct Relief to provide solar energy systems and emergency power solutions in disaster-stricken areas, including Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Employee Volunteerism:

Organized employee volunteering events, such as beach clean-ups, habitat restoration projects, and volunteering at local food banks or shelters.

Supported employee-led initiatives, like the SunPower Charity Golf Tournament, to raise funds for local charities and community organizations.

Conclusion

When it comes to going solar, SunPower makes its case for being the best solar company available for homeowners looking to make the switch to solar. With their proven track record with big names like NASA, cutting-edge, Maxeon solar panels and technologies, the network of authorized dealers and installers, and best-in-class warranties, it’s no wonder there are so many positive SunPower reviews from happy customers.

While there is some cause for concern regarding faulty technology, this is prone to happen from time to time across any industry. The important factor is that the issue gets resolved, which is something SunPower has done time after time.

For homeowners considering going solar, SunPower offers a very attractive solution. Aside from being a bit more than competitors, the quality of service and advanced technology is an offer that’s hard to ignore.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, save money on your electricity bills, or benefit from the solar investment tax credit, SunPower is certainly one of the top solar companies to consider.

Curious to see if SunPower is available in your area? Request a quote from SunPower and take control of your power today.

Frequently asked questions

SunPower offers a 25-year warranty on their solar panels. However, many customers report that their SunPower panels continue to produce energy well beyond the warranty period. The lifespan of SunPower panels is largely due to their high-quality materials and construction. SunPower panels are made with durable materials that are able to withstand harsh weather conditions and resist damage from environmental factors. As a result, SunPower panels are able to continue producing energy for many years after they are installed.

On average, SunPower solar systems can range from $3.48 to $4.10 per watt. For a 5.6kW system, the cost would typically fall between $22,272 and $26,240 at a cash price. Depending on the financing options available and industry cost, these prices are subject to change.

SunPower panels are well worth the investment when you consider their superior efficiency, long-term performance, strong warranty coverage (25 years), and trust by the likes of NASA. Positive SunPower reviews reinforce this as most reviews typically lean close to 5-star ratings time and time again.

 

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