SUNPOWER Solar Panels Review

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In this SUNPOWER solar panels review we’ll take a look at the US solar panel manufacturer and try to see if it all adds up to be as good as they say. Are SUNPOWER panels the best? What makes them better than other panels? Should you buy SUNPOWER solar panels? Let’s take a look at what we think…

SUNPOWER Solar Panels – Company Background

SUNPOWER is a major player in the solar industry. They are based in the US and have patented SUNPOWER Maxeon Technology. They claim to have been founded in 1985 and have provided solar cells to NASA for use in spacecraft. SUNPOWER is a publicly listed company. They have installed well over 100,000 home solar power systems and many large-scale (MW) systems. Other things about SUNPOWER Solar Panels:

  • They are a “tier 1” solar panel
  • They are made in the US
  • They are a real innovator – dedicated to R&D
SUNPOWER solar panels review Brisbane

This is the Google Streetview of the address on the SUNPOWER website… No signs of SUNPOWER here..?

SUNPOWER Solar Panels Review – The Good

SUNPOWER Solar Panels are one of the major solar panel brands. They have done a LOT of research & development. They have pioneered new efficiencies in solar PV technology. Their company is solar. What about the panels? Yes, they have shiny marketing and their panels look pretty damn slick. Buy is it worth investing in SUNPOWER panels?

Here’s some of their good points:

  • They are a “tier 1” company
  • They have been in the industry a LONG time… Longer than the vast majority of solar panel companies.
  • Their panels have the best efficiencies (up to 24%)
  • They also do solar carparks and roof canopies which is kind of cool
  • The SUNPOWER warranties are pretty good
  • They ranked #1,2 & 3 in the 2012 Photon International Module Yield Test
SUNPOWER solar panels X21 Series

This is the X21 Series of SUNPOWER Solar Panels

SUNPOWER Solar Panels Review – The Bad

OK now let’s dish out the dirt. Not that there is much with this panel. The main criticism is in the extra cost. Work out the numbers:

  • You pay 30% more than regular panels (estimated)
  • You get exactly the same amount of power
  • You get the same warranties (more or less)
  • They weren’t included in the 2013 Photon test for “mysterious” reasons
SUNPOWER solar panels e20 series

This is the e20 series of SUNPOWER Solar Panels

SUNPOWER Solar Panels Information

SUNPOWER solar panels come in 3 main different series (probably more too):

  1. X-SERIES (X21-345) – download datasheet
  2. X-SERIES “signature black” panel (X21-335) – download datasheet
  3. E-SERIES (E20-327) – download datasheet

Here is a video by SUNPOWER on their X-SERIES

SUNPOWER Solar Panels Review Summary

SUNPOWER Solar Panels are a “premium” solar panel and the fill a niche in the market. For the average homeowner, I think getting SUNPOWER panels is a bit over the top. Unless you care enough about what they look like, or you need maximum efficiency, it’s not really worth the extra expense. You can get excellent solar panels for a much cheaper price.

Because of their high price and no apparent corresponding benefit, we give this panel 3 out of 5 stars.

Take a look at our other solar reviews.

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8 thoughts on “SUNPOWER Solar Panels Review

  1. Peter says:

    Sunpower are made in the Philippines, but fully owned and operated by Sunpower. Their product warranty is 25yrs parts AND labour, the vast majority of panel companies DO NOT give you a labour warranty. Their performance warranty at 25yrs is 87%
    They are also over 50% dearer!

  2. Chloe says:

    “The good – the sunpower warranties are pretty good”
    “The bad – you get the same warranties – more or less”
    What a bumbling, confused and very poorly written article

    • Hi Chloe,
      Thanks for your thoughts and apologies for the late response. I fail to see how the example phrases you copied are confused. SUNPOWER warranties are pretty good – but not much better than 99% of solar panels on the market. I hope this helps to clarify the meaning for you.
      Cheers!

      • Dave says:

        I think you are incorrect on this. Sunpower panels have a 25 year product warranty, all others listed only have a 10 or 12 year warranty and do not include the labor and shipping like Sunpower does. This is a major advantage.

  3. Paul says:

    Just to quote Choice on the warranty “Sunpower is an exception, with a 25-year warranty for both performance and product, and higher performance criteria in the warranty.”

  4. Tony says:

    I support this type of presentation with an objective view presenting both “good” and “bad,” but what a shameful review with little or no research on the “bad” parts of SunPower. Each statement is incorrect:

    1. I have seen SunPower at only 10% premium this year; but this depends on your installer and area.

    2. You get substantially more power; in fact, SunPower’s E-20 panels are 6 years old and still make more power than any other brand today. The new X-22 is a 360-watt panel, and the world record holder. They make A LOT more power.

    3. Nobody touches their warranty. It’s a 25-year Product Warranty (next best is 12 years) + 25-year production warranty to 87% (next best is 84%), and they cover labor and shipping, which NOBODY else does.

    • Greg Munn says:

      I agree with you Tony ….

      The industry standard for Tier 1 panels is a 10 year product warranty – with a couple of brands having an extra couple of years.

      How is this “more or less” the same warranty as SunPowers 25 year product warranty?

      Like many solar companies, the writer of this article is trying to confuse the readers … performance warranty is not a product warranty!

  5. Johnbob says:

    I read several of the reviews on this post but after reading this obviously misleading review on Sun power panels , I now have to disregard all the other reviews because I can not trust that they are any more accurate.

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