SunPower Assessment: Greatest-Performing Photo voltaic Panels Out there – CNET



  • Most effective panels
  • Sturdy warranties


  • No value match
  • Solely installs one battery model

SunPower, one of many largest photo voltaic installers within the nation, presents a number of the finest photo voltaic panels accessible for residential installations. It additionally leads the pack in panel effectivity and supplies robust warranties on batteries and workmanship. One among our prime photo voltaic installers, SunPower is prone to be a great match for anybody who needs top-flight gear. With new partnerships and merchandise, SunPower can be beginning to cater to individuals who do not wish to pay for the perfect panels or needn’t. 

Purchasing for photo voltaic ought to embody some cautious analysis. It’s best to determine how photo voltaic panels would possibly affect your power invoice, perceive your native incentives and get an concept of how a lot photo voltaic panels may cost a little. Then evaluate quotes from varied installers. You may wish 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. Understanding the buying course of might help you keep away from less-than-honest photo voltaic installers and discover these providing one of the best deal. I’ve completely researched SunPower, however this evaluation should not take the place of your individual analysis.

Solar panels on a roof top over a patio. Solar panels on a roof top over a patio.

SunPower presents panels with prime marks for effectivity.


Photo voltaic panels might help you save in your electrical invoice, generate renewable power at residence, maintain the lights on throughout a blackout and would possibly enhance the worth of your own home. In case you set up them earlier than 2031, you may benefit from a 30% tax credit score on the price of photo voltaic and get in on web metering plans and native incentives earlier than they modify, like they just lately did in California.

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

All for understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your own home? Enter some primary data beneath, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your power financial savings.

What do I get from SunPower?

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

What gear does SunPower set up?

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

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

SunPower additionally installs batteries below the model identify SunVault. SunVaults are marketed in 4 sizes: 13-, 19.5-, 26- and 39-kilowatt hours. The 2 smaller SunVault can launch 6.8 kilowatts constantly, whereas the bigger fashions have a steady output of 13.6 kilowatts. 

The strongest panels would possibly come at a premium. Nate Coleman, SunPower’s chief merchandise officer, mentioned the corporate is beginning to supply extra inexpensive choices.

What warranties does SunPower supply?

In addition to its prime effectivity mark, SunPower’s Equinox system comes with among the best warranties accessible. 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 supply 25-year warranties however assure manufacturing nearer to 85%. This implies SunPower’s panels will probably be producing extra electrical energy for longer. Effectivity is not the one issue you must bear in mind when shopping for panels. You might meet your wants with decrease effectivity and cheaper panels, however a high-efficiency mark and powerful 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 accessible 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 by means of them. Many installers supply an identical 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 gear that screens your system’s manufacturing on the panel degree. 

Does SunPower supply 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 take a look at 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 price?

Costs differ by location for all photo voltaic firms, and SunPower is not 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, mentioned David Saitta, SunPower’s senior director of residential gross sales. The median price 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 greater. The Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory’s Monitoring the Solar report put the nationwide common over 4 {dollars} per watt. Estimates can vary for a wide range of causes. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting a great 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 State incentives and the tax credit score are usually not included within the estimate. States in grey haven’t got knowledge accessible.

Whereas SunPower presents arguably one of the best gear available on the market, for those who can meet your power wants with much less environment friendly and cheaper panels, you would possibly discover a higher match elsewhere. Nonetheless, SunPower presents completely different tiers of its Equinox system, and with extra inexpensive choices coming down the pike, SunPower may simply be the corporate that gives one of the best photo voltaic worth in your residence. Providing Qcells panels is a part of this shift, Coleman mentioned.

SunPower does not supply a value match assure.

Solar panels on a two story house with a porch. Solar panels on a two story house with a porch.

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


What financing choices does SunPower supply?

SunPower presents panels for buy, lease and energy buy settlement. Whereas leases and energy buy agreements are extra inexpensive upfront, costing only a month-to-month fee for the gear 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.

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Zooey Liao / CNET

SunPower has a web based instrument that permits you to get an concept of your photo voltaic array’s look and your estimated financial savings. You do have to offer contact data. The estimated array for my residence appeared to incorporate panels on a small walkout balcony that does not have a roof, so it’s kind of of an imprecise instrument. 

To get a quote, fill out a brief type on SunPower’s web site, which can immediate a name or electronic mail from a photo voltaic advisor. You may 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 mentioned, although conducting the assembly in individual is an choice. As soon as you’ve got reached an settlement, a website go to does happen to verify the situation of your roof and electrical panel.

On-line, you get little or no details about your potential prices earlier than you need to present contact data. That is pretty widespread, and corporations that do supply upfront price data usually supply 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 just a few issues going for it.

SunPower presents a number of the finest photo voltaic panels accessible, and its gear is roofed by a number of the strongest warranties accessible, together with safety in your roof that outlasts a few of its opponents. Whereas another photo voltaic firms supply extra battery choices, the everyday photo voltaic buyer does not but purchase one. SunPower’s costs may very well be a little bit above common, although it is onerous to inform. Given that every residence 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 firms are tough to evaluation in that means. Make sure you collect a number of quotes, together with from smaller, native installers in your search.


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


  • Just one battery model
  • No value match

A house with solar panels in a desert setting. A house with solar panels in a desert setting.

SunPower operates in all 50 states.


Learn extra: Simply searching for an emergency backup? Take a look at transportable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic mills.  

SunPower evaluations: What clients are saying

On-line evaluations are a difficult beast. In case you’re like me, you are extra prone to head on-line to depart a foul evaluation out of frustration than to say, “It was simply wonderful.” We’re together with a collection of evaluations right here, to not say that is precisely what your expertise will probably be, however to acknowledge that evaluations might help you determine what questions you should ask earlier than signing up and tendencies in customer support.

Like most photo voltaic firms, SunPower’s Higher Enterprise Bureau buyer evaluations are typically decrease than its grade, which measures its responses to buyer complaints by means of the BBB, amongst different issues. This is a pattern of evaluations of SunPower, which common a powerful 4.24 stars out of 5, although there appears to have been a spate of one-star evaluations just lately. SunPower has responded on to the latest evaluations, promising to observe up.

Some evaluations quoted beneath have been evenly edited to right typos.

5-star evaluations

“This was in all probability the neatest alternative I’ve made behind buying my residence. Easy course of. The one factor I did was safe my pets throughout set up and sit back and wait to save lots of a ton of cash.” Fred B., August 2022

“Earlier than I obtained this firm, I did a variety of analysis from different firms 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 have been working properly. This firm has been round for over 30 years and could be very respected. No regrets for making SunPower my photo voltaic firm.” Margaret L., Could 2022

One-star evaluations

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

“Add me to the checklist of shoppers with out solar energy. My Inverter is unhealthy and I’ve not had any solar energy produced by my system since final September. I’ve been instructed 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 instantly out of my account. I even have needed to buy energy from our native supplier at prime charges since I’m categorised as a photo voltaic buyer.” Ada Jeanne G., April 2023

How we consider photo voltaic firms

Reviewing photo voltaic firms in a hands-on means is tough. Accounting for all of the variations from undertaking to undertaking is unimaginable. To supply a useful evaluation, we targeted on what we will measure and meaningfully evaluate amongst firms.

We give attention to three buckets of standards: gear, warranties and repair. 

Throughout the gear class, firms obtain scores for the panels, inverters and batteries they set up. Warranties embody ensures on the panels, workmanship and weatherization towards leaks. Corporations 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 all the time 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 take into account the typical value of an organization’s installations of their rating. This data is tough to search out and onerous to check throughout service areas (and even roof-to-roof). Corporations are sometimes sluggish to reveal it, too. We additionally miss simply discovered however irrelevant data like what number of states an organization operates in.

SunPower FAQs

Does SunPower supply financing choices?

SunPower presents buy, lease and energy buy agreements. You may as well finance a photo voltaic mortgage by means of the corporate. I have not seen SunPower’s mortgage choices, however it could repay to buy round for higher phrases.

Does SunPower supply power monitoring?

Sure. SunPower presents monitoring by means of the mySunPower app. The app enables you to monitor your photo voltaic panel system’s manufacturing and power storage standing. It is also appropriate with sure gadgets that can can help you monitor your power use. The app will get a robust score on the App Retailer and Google Play.

Does SunPower supply power storage?

Sure. SunPower at the moment presents its personal battery system, SunVault. SunVault is available in 4 sizes and might again up simply crucial hundreds (the necessary home equipment you wish to maintain working throughout a blackout) or your entire residence. 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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