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Sunpower solar panels review

Overall Rating From 70 Reviews:

Sunpower solar panels review

Average Customer Rating:

Tier 1SunPower is an American company that produces high quality, tier one solar panels that are among the best available. Their panels have the highest efficiency currently available on the market, they are likely to be the best at tolerating partial shade, and they have a 25 year replacement product warranty. In addition, SunPower panels are corrosion resistant which makes them suitable for installation in any location in Australia.

SunPower have an Australian office in Melbourne.

Read All About It

I looked into SunPower panels in June 2016 and you can read what I wrote about them here.

Production Capacity

In 2016 SunPower's total solar cell manufacturing capacity was 1.65 gigawatts and they used that to make approximately 1.3 gigawatts of solar panels. I presume most of the extra solar cell production was sold to other manufacturers, rather than accidentally dropped and broken while making panels.

Their total solar cell production for 2017 is expected to decrease to 1.525 gigawatts. This is because the company is "reorganising". When used by large companies, this word means they are closing a factory and sacking a heap of people.

Manufacturing Locations

SunPower is as American as apple pie and so is majority owned by a French oil company. This makes sense because the French were eating apple pies long before Americans ever did.

SunPower's headquarters are in San Jose in California, but they do not do any manufacturing that I am aware of in the United States.

Currently SunPower has manufacturing capacity in Malaysia and the Philippines, but they are planning to shut down most of their Philippines capacity and transfer at least some of that capacity to a plant in Mexico.

Company History

SunPower was founded in 1985 by Richard Swanson. He's a great guy. He's huge in solar. He has all the best solar ideas. And his hands are at least average size.

Swanson is responsible for Swanson's Law, which states that for every doubling of production capability, the cost of solar panels fall by 20%. Despite ups and mostly downs in prices, it's proven to be reasonably accurate and I hope the effect will continue into the future.

As it has managed to stick around for 32 years so far, SunPower is one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in existence.

SunPower's 25 Year Replacement Product Warranty

SunPower provides their panels with a 25 year product warranty. This is far superior to the 10 or 12 years offered by most tier one panels. This makes the product warranty equal to their 25 year performance warranty. The only product warranty superior to this that I know of is Solarwatt's 30 year product warranty.

But unlike almost all other product warranties SunPower's is a replacement warranty. This means that if one of their panels fails, SunPower won't just give you a refund or a replacement, they will send someone out to replace it free of charge. Because replacing a solar panel can cost considerably more than a panel does, this replacement warranty is very useful.

SunPower can afford to offer a replacement warranty because their failure rate is so low. They have told me it is only 1 in 37,000. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean there is only a 1 in 37,000 chance of a panel failing during its 25 year warranty, but it still suggests they are extremely reliable. While I can't be certain of this, it suggests the chance of 1 panel out of an array of 20 failing within 25 years is less than 1 in 1,000.

SunPower's X Series Efficiency Is The Highest

The efficiency of SunPower's X series panels is the best. It's huge. They have the best efficiency of any panel on the market. It's 21.5%. You'll love it. Especially if you're trying to get the most electricity out of a limited amount of roof space.

SunPower Panels Tolerate Partial Shade Well

Partial shade can cause a major reduction in the performance of solar cells as one badly performing solar cell can drag down the performance of others, so just one bird poop can have a major effect. But SunPower panels can bypass individual cells that are performing poorly and so reduce the effects of partial shade better than any panel I am aware of.

Note that if SunPower panels are connected to a string inverter the worst performing panel will still drag down the performance of other panels on the string. This problem can be overcome by using microinverters or DC optimisers.

SunPower Has Financial Difficulties

Unfortunately, SunPower is currently experiencing financial difficulties. The good news is that at the moment it looks like the company is unlikely to go bust and will still be around in the future to honour their 25 year replacement warranty.

One thing SunPower has said they will do to deal with their financial difficulties is reduce their inventory of solar panels in 2017. This means we can expect the price of their panels to fall.

But even if I was certain SunPower wouldn't be around in the future to honour their warranty, I would still be fine with installing them on my roof because their high reliability means the chance of me needing their warranty should be extremely small.

My Recommendation

I would have no problem installing SunPower panels on my roof, and this would be the case even if I expected SunPower to go bust and not be around to honour their warranties.

Their high efficiency makes them very useful for people who have limited space to install panels and combining them with microinverters or DC optimisers may be the most effective method of coping with partial shade.

But while SunPower panels are very high quality, they do carry a hefty premium and so it will be necessary to decide if they are worth the extra expense.

Rating Comments Name State Postcode

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 13 March 2017
Cheryle WA 6018
planned to produce 60kwh/day; currently doing better than that
Bought From: LG Energy Review Date: 23 February 2017
John NSW 2085

Bought From: ClimateCare Electrical Review Date: 7 January 2017
Paul QLD 4701

Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 2 December 2016
Dave NSW 2153

Bought From: MC Electrical Review Date: 28 November 2016
Richard QLD 4505

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 15 November 2016
John WA 6210
Very good so far and they look great.
Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 3 November 2016
Thomas WA 6006

Bought From: Cola Solar Review Date: 21 August 2016
Anon VIC 3556
I have 4 facing east, 8 facing north and 4 facing west - gives great production times.
Bought From: Blue Mountains Solar Review Date: 7 July 2016
John NSW 2785
Again these were top panels and expensive, but perform very well.
Bought From: Blue Mountains Solar Review Date: 4 May 2016
Gerard NSW 2782

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 7 March 2016
Anon VIC 3020

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 9 February 2016
Greg QLD 4074
Some stats: The solar panel size is 2.5 kW Peak power was 2.2 kWh during the summer it is about 10kWh per day and during the winter probably close to 2-3kWh
Bought From: Solar Sunwerx Review Date: 19 November 2015
Leo VIC 3201

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 9 September 2015
Alex NSW 2069

Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 20 August 2015
Scott VIC 3150

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 27 May 2015
John QLD 4160
Very Good
Bought From: Dunne Solar and Electrical Review Date: 4 December 2014
Marianne NSW 2230

Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 10 October 2014
John VIC 3144
Very high quality panels @ 327 watts. Well worth the added cost.
Bought From: Cola Solar Review Date: 28 June 2014
John VIC 3280
327w Sunpower panels x 16 = 5.2 kWin total (theoretically – as not ideally positioned facing North) Routinely produces over 4.5kW during the day.
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 6 May 2014
Mal WA 6156

Bought From: NQ Solar Review Date: 11 April 2014
Carsten QLD 4879

Bought From: Adelaide Solar Systems Review Date: 5 April 2014
Anon SA 5061

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 16 April 2012
David VIC 3195

Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 2 March 2012
Chris VIC 3159

Bought From: AllSafe Review Date: 13 March 2012
Graham QLD 4671

Bought From: Eco Kinetics Review Date: 22 March 2012
Grant QLD 4740
We paid top dollar for these and have had a performance to match.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 April 2012
Terry QLD 4060
185 kw pvc panels and I have 28 of them on my roof. One group are effected by the afternoon sun being blocked by trees.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 30 January 2012
Raymond NSW 2229

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 February 2012
Greg NSW 2536
As my mum used to always say, "You get what you pay for". Avoid anything made in China as everything they make is crap!
Bought From: Planet Power Review Date: 6 February 2012
David WA 6027
Not setup the way i wanted,, the electrician did a poor install and I discovered 1 string was not even working.
Bought From: Exel Power Review Date: 14 May 2011
Steve VIC 3551

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 13 October 2010
Emil NSW 2151
Very satisfied wth the performance of the panels
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 March 2011
Robyne NSW 2323

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 July 2011
Justin VIC 3146

Bought From: Camberwell Electrics Review Date: 5 May 2011
Elmar VIC 3440

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 2 December 2010
Andrew NSW 2074

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 14 September 2011
Greg VIC 3156

Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 21 June 2011
Juliana NSW 2154

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 24 June 2011
Kevin NSW 2317
See above
Bought From: Solar Wholesalers Review Date: 4 April 2011
Craig SA 5068

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 17 August 2011
Glenn VIC 3071

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 10 March 2011
Brian NSW 2770

Bought From: Solar E Pty Ltd Review Date: 4 June 2011
Justin WA 6101

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 June 2011
Wal NSW 2763

Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 18 June 2010
Robert NSW 2566

Bought From: Gruen Energy Review Date: 7 October 2011
Gwen VIC 3688

Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 1 April 2011
Denis SA 5096
These 318w panels are probably the best on the market.
Bought From: FROGsolutions Review Date: 9 May 2011
David NSW 2560
Sunpower are exceptional quality. These panels are performing as good as the day they were installed. They are expensive (a potential drawback), however the panels are larger with the highest wattage so if you have limited roof space, this could be a viable option. If you're interested in a consistent performer in both output and efficiency, look no further.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 2 November 2011
Dennis NSW 2219

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 12 April 2011
Harry NSW 2283

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 October 2011
K VIC 3152

Bought From: Adelaide Solar Systems Review Date: 19 February 2011
Rob SA 5162

Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 12 November 2010
Ian NSW 2153
I had to get Mark Group back to re position some panels to prevent shading. This was done free of charge and no hassle.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 9 September 2010
Robert NSW 2154
I would have loved to install 1 more panel! :)
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 October 2010
Carolyn NSW 2085

Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 7 July 2010
A NSW 2325

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 25 November 2010
Chris NSW 2166

Bought From: Cablelogic previously Renewable Logic Review Date: 3 February 2011
Charles WA 6062

Bought From: GPE Electrical Review Date: 6 July 2010
Peter NSW 2714

Bought From: Todae Solar Review Date: 3 June 2010
Peter NSW 2064
The Sunpower 210 Panels ( x 14) have been installed competently, neatly and securely and have been performing as I expected.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 4 November 2010
Les NSW 2118
No problems
Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 26 June 2011
Peter SA 5168

Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 August 2010
Dale NSW 2099
Gave us the power ouput we needed given the limited space we had to work with.
Bought From: NQ Solar Review Date: 5 July 2010
Sebby QLD 4870

Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 27 May 2010
Anon SA 5082

Bought From: NQ Solar Review Date: 18 June 2010
Ariel QLD 4814

Bought From: BlueSky Energy Review Date: 17 June 2010
Mahabub NSW 2770

Bought From: Solar Shop Review Date: 17 June 2010
Trevor WA 6210

Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 17 June 2010
Neal NSW 2540
These panels seem to perform better than expectations, often generating 10 or more KWH on a sunny summer day from a 1.5kw system. The downside is that they were considerably more expensive than many other panels on the market.
Bought From: Camberwell Electrics Review Date: 6 July 2010
Dale VIC 3163

Sunpower has 71 solar panels in our database

Model Type Size PTC Performance Ratio Californian Approved
SPR-238E-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)Monocrystalline23821791.13Yes
SPR-245NE-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)Monocrystalline24522692.04Yes
SPR-245NE-WHT-U-240 ACPVMonocrystalline24522692.04Yes
SPR-310E-WHT-D (96 cells)Monocrystalline31028592.03Yes
SPR-318E-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline31829392.11Yes
SPR-320NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline32029592.13Yes
SPR-327NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline32730192.17Yes
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