There’s a reason why SunPower solar panels show up in nearly every solar panel review we write: they are one of the most popular and requested solar panel brands on the market today. SunPower has truly established themselves as industry leaders crafting some of the most efficient and powerful solar products available for home use. What makes SunPower solar panels so widely requested? Below, we’ll dive deep into Sunpower solar panels models, specifications, and overall trustworthiness as an investment. Are SunPower solar panels the best solar panels on the market today? Let’s take a look.
Sunpower Solar Panels Models
Sunpower currently has four different series of models in their solar panel lineup, each with their benefits. Series in the lineup include:
The SunPower A-Series is built on innovative Maxeon Gen 5 Solar Cells and can deliver up to 22.3% efficiency. They are also the world’s first 400W panels available for home use.
The SunPower X-Series is built with Maxeon Solar Cells that can garner up to 22.7% efficiency and up to 370 watts on standard residential panels. These are the perfect panels for those with limited space. The X-series also offers larger panels for commercial use.
The SunPower E-Series is built with the innovative Maxeon Solar cells that boast a generous 20% efficiency on 320, 327, or 435-watt panels. These are a great multi-purpose solar panel.
The SunPower P-Series is unique in that each is built with shingled solar cells that offer up to 19% efficiency. Panels are available from 380 to 400 watts and are best reserved for substantial commercial projects.
Efficiency is where SunPower smokes the competition. In general, many of the available solar panels on the market today rate between 15% to 18% efficiency. While this is adequate, you ideally want as high of an efficiency rating as possible. A high-efficiency panel produces more usable electricity than a lower-efficiency panel, even if they are the same size. Generally, efficiency refers to how well a panel can convert actual sunlight into useful electricity for the home.
SunPower panels are unquestionably the most efficient panels available in the United States today. As mentioned above, most solar panels average 18% efficiency on the high end. However, SunPower panels tend to garner between 19% to 22.8% efficiency, similar to the Trina offering. The X-Series offers the most efficient panels, followed by the A-Series, E-Series, and P-series, in that order. If efficiency is important to you (as it should be), you’ll find it difficult to find more efficient solar panels than those offered by SunPower.
Efficiency doesn’t always promise excellent power output or performance, but with SunPower, the two can go hand in hand. To measure performance, we utilize the temperature coefficient. This represents precisely how well your panel will handle extreme or less than savory weather conditions. With solar panels, every degree above 25C (77F), your solar panel’s overall electricity production will decrease. You want the temperature coefficient to be as close to zero as possible, something only SunPower truly gets right.
The industry average for a temperature coefficient hovers around -40/C. However, Sunpower panels offer some of the best coefficient ratings available, coming in between -0.38/C and -0.29/C. Generally speaking, the A-Series and X-Series offer the lowest temperature coefficients. For example, the SunPower X-Series SPR-X21-345 solar panel includes a coefficient of -0.3%/C. What does this imply? If the panel’s overall temperature increases by one degree from 25C, the electricity production will only decrease by -0.3%, which makes for a perfectly powerful panel.
The only other solar provider that can offer similar temperature coefficients is LG, but they do lack in efficiency. Additionally, the factory-integrated microinverters on the SunPower panels can deliver more power per square foot than any other available solar panels on the market today.
SunPower gets many things about solar panels right, including the overall design or aesthetics of the panels. Let’s take a look at how each panel operates in terms of design.
A-Series: These blend harmoniously into the roof. Sleek and premium looking panels that accommodate many architectural styles.
X-Series: These all-black solar cells include anti-reflective glass to reduce glare, as well as premium aesthetics to suit any roof style or architectural design. These blends and garner more energy from less space. The ability to obtain 44% more power per panel means you can create more power with fewer panels installed.
E-Series: Panels in the E-series are low profile and can convert more sunlight than conventional panels. You can garner 36% more power per panel. Since they generate more power from a smaller area, you can expand energy production by utilizing additional roof space to add more panels.
P-Series: Much like the A-series, the P-series panels offer a premium look and blend into the roof without that jarring effect many solar panels can have.
Most solar panel manufacturers offer a 10-year limited materials warranty. SunPower currently provides a 25-year warranty against any defects in their products. The only other manufacturer offering a similar warranty is LG, which also provides a 25-year warranty against any panel defects. SunPower also provides a performance warranty to ensure that the panels will not degrade too quickly. The performance warranty from SunPower guarantees performance is at 92% after a full 25 years. In contrast, most competitors only offer 80% of their original capacity after the same amount of time.
Many shy away from SunPower solar panels over fears of inflated costs. Let’s put it this way: SunPower panels are more expensive. Generally, you can expect to pay around $3.83/watt. The average price on the solar marketplace is about $2.96/Watt. The price is higher, but not by leaps and bounds. If price is a big factor for you, you may want to shy away from SunPower and go with LG. However, if budget is not an issue and you want the best panels available, the SunPower panels are well worth the extra cost.
There’s a reason why SunPower is a name synonymous with solar panel quality and efficiency: they truly make some of the best panels on the market today. With a low-temperature coefficient but high efficiency, they are potent panels that work to convert energy precisely as they should. The only true downfall of SunPower panels is the initial cost to install. They can be pricier than competitors such as LG or Panasonic for similar products.