SunPower Solar Panels 2023 Review (Are They Worth It)

SunPower Solar Panels 2023 Review (Are They Worth It)

In this EcoWatch guide on SunPower Solar Panels, you’ll learn:

  • How much SunPower solar panels cost
  • Whether SunPower makes good solar panels
  • What types of solar panels SunPower offers
  • How their temperature coefficient compares to competitors

We’ve helped thousands of homeowners save time and money when going solar by breaking down exactly what they need to know about SunPower’s solar panels. Let’s get started!

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SunPower, which is based in California, is one of the most well-established names in the solar industry, and it’s best known for manufacturing the highest-efficiency panels available for home solar systems. In this SunPower solar panel review, we’ll be discussing what makes its panels (now actually manufactured by sister company Maxeon Solar Technologies) so appealing and why we think it’s the best brand you can invest in for your home.

We’ll explain why things like the high efficiency, long warranty coverage and durability matter to you, how they compare to the industry average and, most importantly, how they can save you money over time.

Does SunPower Make Good Solar Panels?

Yes, SunPower’s panels are widely considered the best in the industry for several reasons. They come at a high cost per watt, but they also deliver some of the most impressive performance specifications available.

Some noteworthy specs include:

  • An industry-leading efficiency of 22.8%, compared to an average closer to 20%. This means greater production and higher overall energy savings for you.
  • A below-average efficiency degradation of just 8% over 25 years, compared to an industry average closer to 12%. This means your panels will continue to outperform models from other manufacturers.
  • A below-average temperature coefficient of -0.27% per degree (C), compared to an industry average of -0.35%. This means better performance in extreme temperatures.
  • A positive-only power tolerance of -0%/+5%, compared to an industry average of -5%/+5%. This means your panels will never dip below their expected production, ultimately saving you more on electric bills in the long run.

In our opinion, the cost is well worth it, especially since the superior performance is likely to save you more on utility bills and pay for itself over time.

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Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage


  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

SunPower Maxeon Solar Panels

SunPower used to have a few different series of panels available, including the X Series panels, the A Series panels and the M Series panels. Since it split operations and pushed manufacturing to its sister company, Maxeon, it now offers two options, one of which is the Maxeon line.

The Maxeon line from SunPower—which includes the Maxeon 3 and Maxeon 6 panels—is the high-performance model available from the manufacturer. It comes in multiple sizes and different wattages, ranging from 420 watts up to 440 watts. You’ll get the highest efficiency rating of any solar panel in the industry at 22.8% if you opt for the 440-watt variety.

The peak efficiency is achieved, in part, by using a unique solar cell foundation that helps recuperate energy that normally would be lost to the environment. The solid copper foundation also helps improve durability, which allows SunPower to provide a warranty that’s nearly twice as long as the industry average.

These panels are all black, super sleek, and don’t have any visible grid lines. Since many homeowners care about the appearance of the panels on their roofs, this is another positive attribute of these PV panels.

SunPower Performance Solar Panels

The Performance line from SunPower—which includes the Performance 3 and the Performance 6 panels—is a slightly more affordable but less capable line of photovoltaic (PV) modules. These panels range from 370 watts up to 415 watts, with a peak efficiency of 21.1%, which is still above the industry average.

The Performance line of panels doesn’t use the solid copper foundation that the Maxeon line is best known for. Instead, it uses a traditional silicon and metal fiber foundation in its monocrystalline PERC solar cells. PERC (passivated emitter and rear contact) is a term used for advanced solar technology that is designed to boost performance by reducing the amount of sunlight lost by the panel.

While PERC technology isn’t unique to SunPower, the “hypercell” these panels use is. We’ll explain this tech in greater detail in the next section, but for now, just know that it helps boost durability and performance in all situations.

What Technology Does SunPower Use In Its Solar Panels?

SunPower panels are known for their industry-leading specifications, and there are two innovative technological advances the company has made that lend themselves to such high performance.

Solid Copper Foundation

Most notably, the panels in the Maxeon series are made with a new manufacturing technique using solid copper as a foundation rather than a baked sheet of silicon and metal shards. The solid foundation helps boost solar energy absorption, increasing panel efficiency.

The innovative solid copper backing also improves the durability of the PV cells. The M-Series is, as of this writing, the only panel in the industry to use this manufacturing technique.

Hypercell Technology

SunPower also uses “hypercell” technology in its Performance series. It’s manufactured by layering six strips of a solar cell in a shingle formation and connecting them with an adhesive that’s designed to flex.

The flexibility improves durability and reduces the risk of damage, even with excessive temperature swings. SunPower released a short video about how this technology works and why it’s superior to the traditional manufacturing method. You can watch that below:

Overall, the technology SunPower uses is superior to anything else we’ve seen from manufacturers. The tech speaks for itself, too, as SunPower’s efficiency ratings, temperature coefficients, warranty coverage options and degradation rates are some of the most advanced in the industry.

How Do SunPower Solar Panels Perform in Different Climates?

SunPower solar panels outperform most other panels we’ve reviewed in both hot and cold climates.

Solar panels lose efficiency in hotter temperatures due to excited electrons escaping the PV cells. At present, this is unavoidable, but some companies have made advancements that help boost PV performance in high temperatures.

The metric used to explain solar module performance in the heat is called temperature coefficient, which is the percentage of the panel’s efficiency that is lost for every degree above 25 degrees (C) or around 77 degrees (F). The higher the temperature coefficient, the less efficient the panel will be in hotter climates.

SunPower has one of the lowest temperature coefficients on the market at just 0.27%. The only other panel we’ve seen below 0.3% comes from Panasonic. Ultimately, that means SunPower panels will lose less solar energy in hot temperatures, boosting performance and production.

In colder climates, solar panels tend to get more efficient due to fewer excited electrons escaping the cells. SunPower’s above-average efficiency rating helps boost production in the cold as well.

Watch Below: See Why SunPower Solar Panels Can Perform Well in the Shade

Does SunPower Make Any Other Solar Products?

SunPower doesn’t manufacture inverters, microinverters, racking systems or electric vehicle (EV) chargers, but it did recently start offering the SunPower SunVault, which is a residential solar battery.

SunPower SunVault System

The SunVault comes in a few sizes, ranging from 13 kilowatts (kW) up to 52 kW (as part of the SunPower Equinox system), making it one of the larger battery options available. It has an above-average continuous power rating of 6.8 kW and an above-average peak power rating of 10 kW. That means these solar batteries can provide power to just about as many appliances or electronics at once as you might need.

The SunVault costs between $12,000 and $50,000, depending on the storage capacity you need, and it averages around $1,000 per kW of storage. The price per kW is slightly above average.

The upsides to the SunVault systems include the ability to maintain electricity seamlessly through power outages, and you can also boost your savings and get access to effective net metering if your state or utility company doesn’t offer it.

How Much Do SunPower Solar Panels Cost?

SunPower solar panels cost

On average, SunPower panels cost around $3.30 per watt, which is well above the national average of $2.66 and above the average for tier-one panels, which hovers around $3.00.

Of course, your total price for a SunPower solar power system depends on your energy needs, the size of your home, your location and more. For the typical 9 kW solar array, you’re looking at a total of $29,700 before any perks, which would be $20,790 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

These numbers assume you have an average size home of around 1,800 square feet and consume the average amount of energy of just under 900 kW per month.

If you couple your SunPower panels with a SunVault battery, you can expect to pay a total of around $41,000 before perks for a 12 kW battery or $79,700 for a complete 52 kW storage system.

Luckily, the ITC also applies to SunVault components, so your total after the federal credit would average around $28,700 for the 12 kW system or $55,790 for the 52 kW system.

You can use our solar calculator to get a better idea of how much solar may cost to install for your house.

SunPower Financing Options

SunPower recently underwent some inter-company changes, and it now only handles solar installations. Its sister company, Maxeon, now technically handles all solar cell and solar module manufacturing.

If you choose to go solar with SunPower, you’ll have access not only to the leading solar technology but also to all of the typical payment options for PV equipment. SunPower accepts cash purchases, solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

We strongly recommend a cash purchase if you can swing it, as this leads to the fastest panel payback period and the highest long-term energy savings. Of course, this is the least accessible option because it requires a large payment upfront that many solar customers cannot afford.

A solar loan is the next best option. You’ll pay interest, which will reduce your overall savings, but your upside will be greater than you’d see with a lease or PPA. Plus, you’ll own your panels, so you’ll eventually pay them off, at which point your monthly savings will skyrocket.

In a solar lease agreement, you rent your panels for a fixed cost per month and get to use the power they generate to reduce your utility bills. Most companies set up leases so that your total payment is lower, leading to immediate savings. However, lifetime savings are lower because this option doesn’t lead to panel ownership.

A PPA is similar to a lease, but instead of paying a monthly rental fee, you get your panels installed at no cost, and you agree to pay the installer for the power they generate. This option yields the lowest overall savings, but it typically provides a reduced monthly expenditure immediately.

How Can You Save Money on SunPower Solar Panels?

Since SunPower panels come in well above the average cost per watt, most customers look for ways to save when converting to clean energy with this manufacturer. There are a few things you can do to save.

Take Advantage of Solar Incentives

Second, we strongly recommend you take advantage of all of the solar benefits you can. The federal solar tax credit is available to all U.S. residents and could save an average of around $8,900 on a SunPower solar energy system. This is more than you’d save, on average, on panels from other manufacturers—an average of around $7,200.

There are likely other incentives available to you, like solar rebates, state tax credits, net metering programs and more. We recommend asking your installer or checking the Database of Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for more information.

Filing for these perks and rebates is usually a breeze because reputable installers will do a lot of the work for you. If you have to file for everything on your own, you’re still only looking at a few hours maximum, and the savings are substantial enough to be worthwhile.

Choose the Right Payment Option for You

Finally, we recommend choosing your payment option carefully and opting for a cash purchase if possible. You’ll save the most money over time with a cash purchase, followed by a solar loan and then a solar lease. A power purchase agreement is expected to save you the least on your SunPower system.

To put this into perspective, a cash purchase on a typical system saves around $22,400 on energy bills over the life of the equipment after the system pays for itself. Choosing a PPA or lease is still expected to save you money, but lifetime savings are usually closer to $5,000, which is significantly less appealing than what you’d see if you paid in cash.

Get Multiple Quotes

First, we recommend shopping around and getting multiple quotes from installers in your area. SunPower handles installations in-house, but it also uses a massive network of third-party installers to install its products. Getting multiple quotes might lead you to a solar provider that offers discounts or lower labor costs in an effort to get your business.

Getting multiple quotes can be time-consuming and involves being home for a few different in-person home inspections. However, it is often worthwhile and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your solar panel system.

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Does SunPower Offer a Good Solar Panel Warranty?

sunpower solar panel reviews

SunPower is the clear industry leader in solar technology and panel efficiency rating, but it also provides the best solar panel warranty coverage available for homeowners. SunPower’s warranty covers the equipment, including manufacturing defects, as well as the panel efficiency and a below-average rate of degradation.

SunPower’s product warranty covers manufacturer defects for 40 years, which is 1.6x the industry average of 25 years. SunPower also has a great reputation for responding to warranty claims.

The company also guarantees the panel efficiency for 40 years, which is also 1.6x as long as the industry average of 25 years. Most other panel performance warranties guarantee that between 85% and 90% of the starting efficiency will remain after the 25-year warranty term. SunPower guarantees that 92% will remain after that same term, which is the best in the industry and only matched by a few other manufacturers.

The expected lifespan of SunPower panels is a minimum of 40 years, but many solar customers are likely to find that their panels continue producing sufficient energy after that point.

How to Get SunPower Solar Panels Installed

SunPower only sells its panels through its in-house installers and its certified third-party installers. They aren’t available for purchase for DIY solar panel installations. You can follow the steps below to get a SunPower system installed on your home:

  • Step 1 — Request a quote: Your first step will be to reach out to SunPower directly or a third-party installer to get a free quote for your system.
  • Step 2 — Consultation and property inspection: After you request an estimate, a representative will speak with you about your energy needs and ask for a recent electric bill. They should also send a rep out to your home to conduct a property survey and take roof measurements. Your project will then go to the design team.
  • Step 3 — Contract approval: After your system is designed, you’ll get a formal estimate and be asked to sign it to continue the process. Depending on your preferred payment method, you might also need to make a down payment.
  • Step 4 — Permitting and planning: Next, your SunPower installer will pull permits for the system and ensure everything will be up to code.
  • Step 5 — Installation: The next part of the process is the actual installation, which can usually be done in a day.
  • Step 6 — Inspections and interconnection: In many cases, your utility provider will need to inspect your system before it’s connected to the grid. Once it is, your panels will produce power for your home, and you’ll start to see energy savings. Your installer will also schedule building department inspections to close out the permits.
  • Step 7 — Solar monitoring: Finally, you’ll get access to the MySunPower mobile app to keep an eye on live-time production and panel performance.

SunPower has a large network of installers that is split into three categories: SunPower Authorized Dealers, SunPower Elite Dealers and SunPower Master Dealers.

There are hundreds of SunPower Authorized Dealers located throughout the country, with representation in all 50 states. Authorized Dealers are approved by SunPower to install its high-performance panels and go through special training to get authorization. These companies are also held to certain customer satisfaction and labor quality standards.

Elite Dealers complete advanced training programs through SunPower and meet even stricter standards when it comes to customer satisfaction and overall high-quality workmanship.

Master Dealers are hand-picked by SunPower to represent the brand. They uphold the highest standards set forth by the manufacturer.

As one of the biggest solar companies in the country, SunPower’s network of installers is unusually large. You can click the buttons below to get connected with approved installers in your area.

Customer Reviews of SunPower Solar Panels

SunPower’s commitment to quality products is evident in the A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and in the customer reviews for the panels themselves. Most customers rave about the customer service, and specifically the attention they receive in response to warranty claims and issues post-installation. It’s obvious that customers trust the manufacturer and are pleased with the panel performance.

Conventional panel manufacturers that don’t have as rigorous of an installer selection process don’t get the same reviews, although most negative reviews stem from a lack of service from the installer and not the manufacturer. Few customers complain about panels themselves, to be fair.

Positive Reviews of SunPower Solar Panels

The reviews we read through in which customers do mention the performance of their SunPower panels are overwhelmingly positive.

One complaint we often see about individual panel brands is less appealing performance and production than the customer expects. In many cases, this is the fault of the installer, as they are responsible for accurately representing expected production. Since SunPower manufactures the most efficient solar panels, and because the company vets its installation network, this is a rare occurrence among homeowners who get SunPower panels installed.

Most customers mention that they’re pleased with the production. We also see comments about warranty coverage and the company’s willingness to fix issues if they do arise. Again, this is not always a reflection on SunPower panels alone but also on the installers with which the company works.

Overall, most solar customers seem to be pleased with SunPower panels and dealers, which is really saying something, given the company’s size.

Negative Reviews of SunPower Solar Panels

Thankfully, there are relatively few negative comments about SunPower panels other than the fact that they’re quite expensive.

There are some instances in which homeowners don’t get the quality of service they expected, but these complaints are directed toward the installers and not the actual products. Still, it does suggest that SunPower isn’t always able to ensure its many authorized dealers uphold its in-house commitment to service. Your experience can vary based on where you live and which installer you choose.

This kind of complaint is very common among different manufacturers, so we don’t believe it’s indicative of an issue specifically with SunPower.

SunPower vs Other Solar Panel Manufacturers

Overall, we believe SunPower is the number one panel manufacturer in the industry. It uses cutting-edge technology to maximize panel production and efficiency and minimize degradation. Ultimately, this helps customers reach greater energy savings and allows them to install fewer panels on their homes, which is great news if you have limited roof space.

The table below includes some key specifications for SunPower panels as compared to panels from other manufacturers. This should help illustrate why SunPower is so highly rated and why we think it’s the best option overall.

SunPower REC Tesla Panasonic Silfab
Max Efficiency Rating 22.8% 22.3% 20.6% 22.2% 21.4%
Power Tolerance -0%/+5% -0%/+5% -0%/+5% -3%/+3% -0%/+10%
Temperature Coefficient -.027% -.032% -0.3% -0.26% -0.39%
Degradation Per Year (After 1st Year) 0.25% 0.5% 0.5% 0.26% 0.5%
Equipment Warranty Term 40 years 25 years 25 years 25 years 25 years
Efficiency Warranty Term 40 years 25 years 25 years 25 years 25 years
Average Price Per Watt $3.30 $3.00 $2.90 $3.10 $3.00
Panel Manufacturer Review Read Our REC Panel Review Read Our Tesla Panel Review Read Our Silfab Panel Review

Bottom Line: Would We Put SunPower Solar Panels On Our Roof?

Yes, absolutely. Overall, SunPower is the number one panel brand we recommend, and it’s the one we’d be most comfortable installing on our own homes. SunPower panels are the most efficient in the industry. They outperform most other brands in most areas, come with an industry-leading warranty and have one of the best reputations for quality and value available.

SunPower panels are more expensive than most other options, but we strongly believe the quality and high efficiency will lead to a lifetime of higher energy savings that will more than pay for the increased price you’ll pay. We suggest using the buttons below to get estimates from multiple SunPower installers to get the best upfront price possible.

Methodology: How We Reviewed SunPower’s Solar Panels

When we review any solar manufacturer, we look at 18 different criteria across seven categories to ensure we only recommend the best products available. We’ll briefly explain what we looked at when reviewing SunPower below.

  • Panel Efficiency (25%): We first look at panel efficiency, which dictates how much power your solar project will generate and, consequently, how much money you’ll save on electric bills. SunPower set the record for the greatest efficiency rating in the industry for residential panels at 22.8%.
  • Panel Durability (20%): You’ll likely be spending close to $20,000 on your PV system, so we rank companies higher if they provide panels with good durability and provide a greater value over time. We consider first-year efficiency degradation, subsequent-year degradation and the panels’ ability to withstand heavy winds and snow. SunPower has the highest overall ranking in terms of durability, thanks to some of the lowest degradation rates available.
  • Warranty Coverage (20%): Warranty coverage helps protect your expensive equipment from damage and poor performance. We consider the product warranty term, the efficiency warranty term and the remaining efficiency after the warranty expires. SunPower is the industry leader once again in all of these categories.
  • Cost (20%): The cost is the only area where SunPower is really lacking. The panels come with some of the highest prices per watt in the industry of $3.30 on average. This is far higher than the industry average of $2.66, so the company loses quite a lot of points here. Still, the overall value is outstanding and worth the money, in our opinion.
  • Temperature Coefficient (10%): Temperature coefficient is important because it determines how efficient a panel will be in a variety of climates. SunPower panels have one of the lowest losses of efficiency in the industry, meaning its products are better adaptable to all residents in the U.S.
  • Sustainability and Appearance (5%): Finally, we look at a company’s overall sustainability and the appearance of the panels it manufactures. SunPower has good end-of-life (EoL) recycling programs for its panels that reuse an estimated 85% or more of recycled panels. A good portion of the panels available are all black, and none have visible grid lines, which most customers prefer.

FAQs: SunPower Solar Panel Reviews

Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we see from customers about SunPower panels.

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Article author
Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
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Expert reviewer
Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.