2023 SunPower Solar Review Guide (Costs, Quality, & More)
In this EcoWatch review guide on the solar provider SunPower, you’ll learn:
- Whether SunPower is a legit provider
- How to determine SunPower’s solar panel quality
- What to expect when working with SunPower
- What the average cost of a SunPower solar system is
This review guide has helped thousands of homeowners decide whether SunPower is best for their home, saving them time and money in the process. Let’s get started!
The best way to figure out whether solar is a good investment for your home is to see how much an installation would cost. To receive a free, no-obligation quote from SunPower or a similar company in our network of pre-screened installers, click the link below.
What Should You Know About SunPower?
SunPower has been in the solar industry since 1985 and strives to provide a safe and reliable experience to customers. The San Jose, California based solar panel manufacturer and installer currently offers services in every state. The BBB gives SunPower an A+ rating, which is above the industry average.
In recent years, SunPower has focused its business on commercial solar energy systems, but the company has since doubled down on the residential solar market. This is good news for homeowners, as SunPower offers some of the best solar panels and energy-related services on the market today.
SunPower’s greatest strength lies in its high quality products/services, innovative solar technologies, and in the comprehensiveness of the systems it designs and installs. This solar solutions company has a product portfolio of high-efficiency solar panels manufactured by Maxeon, which recently spun out of SunPower to form its own entity.
SunPower’s Maxeon panels are some of the most efficient and durable solar panels on the market, and they’re also the world’s first solar panels to be Cradle to Cradle Certified safe, circular and responsibly made products.
With a strong foothold in manufacturing and commercial solar, SunPower has made moves to double down on its residential services; we expect big things. By acquiring Blue Raven Solar in October 2021, a young company with a reputation for excellent customer service and innovative financing options, SunPower demonstrates its commitment to expanding its share of the residential market.
|SunPower Fast Facts|
|Service Areas||All 50 states, with Master Dealers in AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, NV, NJ, NY, OR, TX, UT|
|Service Types||Customized solar panel systems, complete with electric vehicle (EV) chargers and backup battery installations|
|Types of Panels Sold||SunPower manufactures its own high-efficiency monocrystalline panels|
|Backup Battery Options||SunPower SunVault™ Storage system|
|Certifications||Solar Energy Industries Association, Cradle to Cradle Sustainability, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) technicians|
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating||A+ with accreditation|
- Most efficient panels on the market
- National coverage
- Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
- Great warranty coverage
- Customer service varies by local dealer
What SunPower Products and Services Are Offered?
SunPower’s broad range of services set it apart from the competition. SunPower systems come complete with customized, fully integrated solar and storage platforms as well as add-ons like EV chargers.
Unlike most other solar providers that offer products from varying manufacturers, SunPower’s PV cells, panels, inverters, batteries and chargers are all produced in-house, are designed to work in tandem and are covered by the same product warranty. This cohesion can simplify the process for SunPower’s customers.
SunPower Solar Panels
SunPower offers four types of solar panels:
- A Series: Built with the newest Maxeon Gen 5 solar cells, the A Series is SunPower’s premiere panel. Its solar modules deliver up to a 22.7% efficiency rating with the world’s first 400-watt panels. These come with the option for a built-in microinverter.
- X Series: Built with Maxeon solar cells, X Series panels deliver up to a 22.7% efficiency rating and have capacities up to 370 watts. These panels are perfect for space-constrained projects.
- E Series: Built with Maxeon solar cells, delivering up to a 20% efficiency rating and available in 320, 327 or 435-watt panels, the E Series is a great all-around solar panel.
- P Series: These panels are built with SunPower’s unique shingled solar cells. Up to a 19% efficiency rating and available in a range of panels from 380 to 400 watts, P Series panels are optimized for large commercial projects.
- M-series: Available in both residential and commercial sizes, M-series panels are available in 420 to 475 wattage modules. Whereas commercial M-series feature a module efficiency rating of up to 22.3%, the residential M-series see as much as 22.8% efficiency. Additionally, these high-efficiency panels are projected to produce about 60% more lifetime energy than other comparable modules.
SunPower Solar Storage
Unlike most other solar companies, which install third-party battery systems, SunPower offers customers its own SunVault Storage Systems to be paired with its solar panels.
SunPro’s SunVault Storage and Helix Storage (which is used in commercial installations) offer simple but powerful energy storage solutions.
These batteries are designed for day-to-day use and can significantly add to the amount of energy a customer is able to offset with SunPower solar panels.
Best of all, these battery systems provide monitoring systems and backup power when the grid fails — something solar panels by themselves are incapable of.
For customers set on purchasing another brand’s battery, there is no need to worry. SunPower panels pair well with other products like the Enphase Encharge and Tesla Powerwall batteries.
mySunPower Mobile App
SunPower customers can monitor their solar energy benefits now more than ever with SunPower’s new mobile app. By constantly monitoring and tracking your energy usage, energy in your solar battery, past energy usage and more, you can see in real time how much green energy you’re generating.
Because this app helps you monitor battery levels, it is among the best tools to help you prepare for low-sun conditions. In addition to data tracking, the mobile app also monitors the weather conditions in your area so that you can anticipate low-light conditions and potential power outages.
SunPower Solar Panel Installation Process
SunPower prides itself on a smooth and easy customer process that can be carried out entirely remotely if preferable. Its intuitive design studio even lets you build your own home solar system online from the comfort of your home, so you can see what solar looks like on your roof.
The installations themselves are carried out by partners within SunPower’s nationwide network of certified solar installation contractors. SunPower chooses to hire contractors local to the region so that they can customize your solar system according to local weather patterns, building materials and city codes.
An average SunPower customer can expect the installation process to look like this:
- Free online estimate: By giving information about where you live, how much energy you use and your credit score, you can get a free online estimate from SunPower that includes the estimated system cost as well as projected 25-year energy savings.
- Solar consultation: If you want to move forward with SunPower after receiving your free quote, you can set up a free, virtual consultation with a SunPower representative. At this stage in the process, you have the chance to ask any questions about the system’s design and how to meet your home’s energy needs. After this, you’ll receive a proposal.
- Complete paperwork and obtain solar permits and approvals: SunPower will apply for all permits and building approvals from your presiding city or county on your behalf. This process can take up to a few weeks. SunPower will also ensure you’re enrolled in any eligible net metering programs.
- Solar system installation: SunPower will arrange for your system to be installed by one of its certified partners. Some states have technicians that are part of the company’s Master Dealers program, which is an invite-only, rigorously selected list of SunPower dealers that best represent SunPower’s brand. Installations typically take less than a day, depending on the complexity of the system.
- Inspections and permission to operate (PTO): After the system is installed, you’ll need to wait until it’s inspected by both your city and your utility company before you can turn it on. SunPower will arrange the inspections, and after your system passes, you can start using your solar power.
Here’s a look at a recent installation by a SunPower-certified New York-based company:
Solar Panel Warranty
A major benefit of the complete systems SunPower offers is that the entire solar energy project is covered by the same 25-year warranty, known as the “Complete Confidence Warranty.” This comprehensive performance warranty guarantees 25 years of 92% power output (most other companies are around 80%) and offers free repairs on any flaws in product performance, workmanship or defects.
SunPower’s warranty is one of the best in the business, if not the best, and reflects the company’s success in executing its core goals of providing a safe and reliable experience for customers.
How Much Do SunPower Solar Panel Systems Cost?
It’s tough to predict the cost of solar for a single provider, as costs depend heavily on your location, home and energy needs.
Though SunPower may have a slightly higher average price tag than some other providers, its business focuses on efficiency, and purchasing more efficient panels will save customers more in the long run. For homeowners with limited roof space, opting for the highest efficiency panels should cause you to need fewer panels overall.
Many small local solar installers offer discounts and deals to undercut big companies like SunPower. That’s why it’s smart to get quotes from multiple companies and compare them to see which installer offers the best solar panels at the most competitive price. Keep in mind the quality of panels you’re considering, as the cheapest solar panels don’t always provide the best value.
Financing Options Through SunPower
SunPower offers three solar payment options for customers, all backed by the SunPower 25-year warranty.
- Purchase in cash: Buying your system from SunPower outright will give you the shortest solar panel payback period and the highest return on your investment.
- Purchase with loan: With a third-party loan, customers can fund the purchase of their solar equipment and pay the loan off typically in five to 10 years. If you go this route, you still own the system, your solar panels will increase your property value and you’ll be able to claim the federal solar tax credit. However, because of the interest you’ll be paying and any applicable loan fees, this option is less advantageous than paying cash.
- Lease solar panels: SunPower offers solar leasing, which means the company retains ownership of the panels and you pay a monthly fee to purchase the power they generate. You don’t have to pay much, if anything, for the installation, and your monthly payments are guaranteed to be lower than a typical electric bill. But because you do not own the system, it won’t add to your property value and you cannot claim the federal tax credit. This is the least advantageous option.
In-House Financing with SunPower Financial
In 2022, SunPower rolled out its new in-house solar financing method called SunPower Financial. SunPower Financial makes going solar with SunPower more accessible by offering:
- Interest-free loans to certain customers
- Higher credit limits
- Expanded loan eligibility to solar users with lower credit scores
Most solar companies offer financing through third-party loan providers, like through Mosaic. With SunPower Financial, this provider is keeping everything under one roof. This lets customers enjoy a smoother process by only dealing with one point of contact for all aspects of their solar system.
SunPower Reviews: What Are Customers Saying?
Similar to other larger solar operations, SunPower’s size is both a strength and a weakness. Positive SunPower solar reviews praise the company’s customer service, installation teams and system performance, yet communication troubles through a large bureaucracy have led to some negative feedback. Overall, it should be noted that SunPower reviews are largely positive.
Positive SunPower Reviews
Positive SunPower solar reviews reflect a successful commitment to its business model of good customer service, the best warranty in the business and highly efficient products. Positive reviews similar to those below usually reflect helpful representatives, consistent system performance and a company true to its warranty.
“We have had our panels for about six or seven years now, and they have performed as advertised. SunPower did replace the inverter several years ago with no fuss, no muss. I highly recommend SunPower for solar power generation.” — Warren M via BBB
“My process took longer than expected due to unexpected issues. Throughout the process, the communication was good. They kept me up to date. All staff that came to my house were courteous and professional. They scheduled appointments around convenient times for me. Overall, it was a pleasant experience to get the system up and running. I would definitely recommend this team.” — Linda S via BBB
Negative SunPower Reviews
Most of SunPower’s negative reviews stem from issues within its chain of communication. SunPower is a massive organization, and at times some customers can feel lost in the shuffle. The company also outsources aspects of the work to local installers familiar with local ordinances, permitting and utility standards. This can lead to some customers wishing for one central point of contact.
Given the size of SunPower’s operation, it has an impressively small number of negative customer reviews. Here are a couple of examples:
“We purchased a house that has a leased SunPower solar system. There is a one-time early buyout option that we are considering. SunPower has been impossibly unresponsive to our questions and concerns.” — Mark W via BBB
“We’ve had solar panels for three years. This past May, we were notified that there was an issue with the panels. They have been to our house several times and still can’t figure out the problem. They keep sending outside vendors to fix it but no solution.” — Samira S via BBB
Our Take on SunPower
SunPower’s superior customer service, wide product offerings, complete systems and leading warranty make it one of the most trusted solar providers on the market today. SunPower has an A+ from the BBB and is taking concrete steps to improve any weaknesses to its business model by expanding its availability to homeowners through leases and improved financing options.
Overall, we recommend SunPower to homeowners whose priorities are simplicity, reliability and efficiency. The main downsides to SunPower stem from high initial costs, which can be offset by using high-efficiency products over time. However, some homeowners with plenty of space on their roofs may find better value in a lower-efficiency panel from a different company. Local competitors may also offer more competitive pricing to undercut the larger competition.
|SunPower Solar Pros||SunPower Solar Cons|
|Large service area||Above-average initial cost|
|High-efficiency systems with backup battery and EV charging services||Lack of customization with panel choice|
|Excellent customer service|
|Flexible financing and lease options|
How Does SunPower Compare to Other Solar Installation Companies?
To get a better understanding of our rating, let’s look at SunPower compared to two other popular national providers: Sunpro Solar and Sunrun. SunPower typically ranks highly in customer services, service areas and warranty.
|Services Offered||Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring||Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring||Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance|
|Service Areas||All 50 States||AZ, AR, CA, FL, GA, IL, IA, KS, LA, MS, MO, NE, NV, NM, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA||AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.|
|Payment Options||Cash, loan, lease||Cash, loan||Cash, loan, lease, power purchase agreement (PPA)|
FAQs: SunPower Solar Reviews
Here are the most common questions we get about SunPower. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SunPower is a leader in the solar energy market for customer service, warranty and panel efficiency. Whether SunPower is the best company for you will depend on your energy needs, but SunPower is a reputable solar company with an impressive track record of customer satisfaction.
This is a misconception. SunPower recently split into two companies, separating from its manufacturing arm now known as Maxeon. SunPower will continue to work closely with Maxeon by selling and installing its products but will focus its efforts more on expanding the services it offers to customers.
In fact, SunPower is outperforming expectations based on their recently released Q2 earnings report.
SunPower makes some of the most efficient solar panels available today with high ranges of available wattage. Whether they are the best for your home will depend on your energy needs. Compared to conventional panels, high-efficiency solar panels are typically best suited for homes with limited amounts of roof space.
SunPower’s panels are Tier 1, which means they can be used for larger, utility-scale solar installations. Tier 1 panels are not necessarily higher quality than Tier 2 or 3 panels.
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