Are SunPower solar panels the best solar panels for homes?


SunPower is an American based solar panel manufacturer (San Jose) that has long been considered one of the premium players in the solar panel market. Formed in 1985, and through funding through numerous sources (government and private) SunPower began developing cutting-edge solar cell technologies. 2005 saw the opening of the first SunPower solar panel factory in the Philippines. SunPower modules are now produced in China, Mexico and the Philippines, with plans to open a US facility towards the end of 2018. SunPower is one of the most respected solar panel manufacturers and with their large US brand presence, they continue to be the solar panel manufacturer setting the standard for the rest of the industry.

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Image source: Sunpower

Where do SunPower solar panels rank in terms of efficiency?

SunPower modules sit at the top of the tree when it comes to solar panel efficiency. The SunPower Maxeon cell technology (copper backed cell) has allowed for a market leading 22% panel efficiency. Simply put, the SunPower Maxeon cells allow for more power per SQ foot than any other mass produced module on the market.

What solar cell technology do SunPower solar panels use?

The SunPower modules are using a Maxeon solar cell technology. The major difference in this style of cell is the uninterrupted cell formation. A standard solar cell has busbars (generally 4 metal strips running through the cell) to capture the energy created by the cell. The Maxeon technology removes these metal busbars from the face of the cell and replaces them with a copper backing to gather the electricity, giving the entire cell face to power generation. This form of cell allows SunPower to achieve its phenomenal 22% panel efficiency rating with their high powered monocrystalline panel.

What are the advantages of SunPower solar panels?

SunPower solar panels main advantages in comparison to competitors are related to warranty. They offer a 25-year warranty on both product and panel performance. This 25-year warranty ensures that the panels have paid for themselves (up to 4 times over in some states) before a warranty expires. A power generation loss of only 8% over the first 25 years ensures that system is still generating 92% of day 1 efficiency. This is compared to most Chinese manufactured tier 1 panels that only achieve 80-82% residual generating capacity.

What are the disadvantages of SunPower solar panels?

The first myth to dispel is that SunPower are US manufactured solar panels. As of mid 2018, this is not currently the case, as a lot of consumers believe. SunPower has factories in the Philippines, China and Mexico. The second negative regarding SunPower is pricing. As with LG, all the product quality, attractive look and warranty protection comes at a premium price. It will be interesting to see when the US factory comes online, what price US manufactured SunPower modules hit the market for.

Would our SolarReviews experts choose SunPower panels for the roof of their homes?

Yes. If I was looking for a premium solar system and cost wasn’t my primary concern, the use of SunPower modules would be my first choice. SunPower panels allow homeowners to make the most of their roofing area. They offer the comfort of extended warranties, by a US based company with a huge presence in the solar market. The increased in outlay to get to a premium module can easily be justified with the extra generation and lifespan of the product. SunPower provides one of the best premium panel offerings for the US solar consumer.

See how much SunPower solar panels will cost for your home
 - Author of Solar Reviews

Andrew Sendy

Home Solar Journalist

Andy is deeply concerned about climate change but is also concerned about cost of living pressures on American families. He advocates for solar energy and solar battery storage only to the extent that they make financial sense for homeowners. He is not affiliated with any particular solar company in the United States.

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