Sunpower solar panels reviews

Based on 387 ratings Aus Ranking

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About Sunpower, Solar Panels

Sunpower solar panels review

SunPower 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 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 anywhere 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.  I also wrote about how SunPower replaced some panels under their performance warranty in 2018 here.

Production Capacity

At the start of 2018 SunPower's had 1.2 gigawatts of solar cell manufacturing capacity and 1.9 gigawatts of solar panel manufacturing capacity.

In 2019, the company shipped  2.5 GW of modules, representing 80% growth over 2018.

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.  They abandoned manufacturing in the United States for a long time but now own one solar panel manufacturing plant in the United States which they bought from US Solarworld in order to avoid Trump's solar panel tariffs. 

Currently SunPower has other manufacturing capacity in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Mexico.  They also entered into a joint venture to produce their P series panels in China.

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 downs in prices, it's proven to be roughly accurate and I hope the effect will continue into the future.

As it has managed to stick around for over 33 years so far, SunPower is one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in existence.

However, in November 2019, SunPower announced it will spin off much of its solar panel manufacturing into a new company – Maxeon Solar Technologies.

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 still offered by most tier one panel manufactueres. This makes their product warranty and performance warranty the same length at 25 years each.

SunPower's product warranty is a full 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 can more than the cost of a panel this is useful.  However, under Australian consumer law, when a product fails under warranty it is possible to claim compensation for damages and loss from reasonsonable forseeable expenses such as the cost of installation.  This means technically all solar panel warranties in Australia should be full replacement warranties.  But it is still good that SunPower clearly states in their warranty they will replace faulty panels without charge.      

Panel Reliability

While this figure is now out of date, SunPower has said their panel failure rate is only 1 in 37,000. Hopefully it's even better now, although I know some panels have been replaced under warranty.  Because the large majority of their panels were well under 25 years old at the this doesn't mean there is only a 1 in 37,000 chance of a panel failing during its 25 year warranty period, but it still suggests they are very reliable.

SunPower Panels Resist The Effects Of Heat

SunPower panels suffer considerably less decrease in efficiency due to the effects of heat than the average panels.  Their coefficiency of Pmax ranges from around is -0.29% to -0.37%/°C depending on the model, while the average is around -0.4%.  This is how much their output is decreased by for each degree celcisus the panel temperature is above 25 degrees.  Note that the temperature of panels in the sun can be much higher than the air temperature and can reach 65 degrees on hot days. 

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 uses various technologies to minimise its impact.

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 DC optimisers or by using microinverters instead of a string inverter.

SunPower Has Financial Difficulties

SunPower had been experiencing financial difficulties, posting significant losses in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

For the fiscal year 2019, SunPower's assets and liabilities were almost equal, which is not a good situation to be in.  Their financial position has been hurt by falling solar panel prices and also President Trump's US solar tariffs -- despite SunPower winning an exemption

There was speculation that SunPower will go bankrupt.  If it did it is possible it will be bought as an ongoing concern and its warranties will still be supported.  However, I have no way to guess how likely this; particularly given the recent plans to spin off much of its manufacturing into another company.

But even if I was certain SunPower wouldn't be around in the future to honour their warranties, 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.

Warranty claim procedure for orphaned Sunpower customers

If you have purchased Sunpower panels from a solar installer that has gone out of business, the responsibility for warranty claims falls to Sunpower. They can be contacted on 1800 786 769, and will arrange for an installer in their network to diagnose and rectify any problems with the panels - with labor costs involved covered by the warranty.

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.

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.

Sunpower Solar Panel Reviews

Went with these thanks to reviews on solarquotes website and are very happy. With such long warranty and ridiculously low failure rates we are confident we have made the right long term decision.

Another key thing to consider is aesthetics. These panels are all black with no metallic coloured trims which help them blend into the roof which can be of benefit in certain environments.
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd
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Bought From: MC Electrical Show additional information
they told me they were the best
Bought From: Solaworx
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Bought From: Infinite Energy WA Show additional information
Bought From: Cola Solar Show additional information
Bought From: Spinifex Energy Show additional information
Bought From: Sure Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
I went with the Maxion 3 400w panels 4kw north and 4kw west. Great performance so far.
Bought From: MLEC Solar Perth
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Bought From: HDC Solar Solutions Show additional information
Bought From: Natural Solar Show additional information
Decided to go with black on black.
Aesthetically very, very pleasing.
Bought From: Platinum Solar Designs ACT
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Bought From: Essential Solar Show additional information
Bought From: Essential Energy Solutions Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Banana Solar Sydney Show additional information
Although not optimally positioned because of the slope of our roof, the panels are performing at or above the estimated levels.
Bought From: City to Surf Solar Plus
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Bought From: Banana Solar Sydney Show additional information
Bought From: Omega Solar and Batteries Show additional information
Bought From: MC Electrical Show additional information
I’m not real happy with all the dents the installers left in the roof
Bought From: GEMEnergy Brisbane
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Bought From: Liberated Energy Show additional information
Bought From: Venergy Pakenham Show additional information
Bought From: SAE Group Yamba - Ballina Show additional information
Bought From: Liberated Energy Show additional information
Excellent panels - we have had these before and have been very happy with their performance and durability
Bought From: Infinite Energy WA
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Bought From: Your Green Planet Show additional information
1 year in and almost $800 in credit for my energy bill. No faults or problems yet.
Bought From: MC Electrical
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Bought From: SAE Group Pottsville - Tweed Show additional information
Bought From: Infinite Energy WA Show additional information
Sunpower P3 panels look really pretty on the roof.
Bought From: Solar 1 Electrical Pty Ltd
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Bought From: Infinite Energy Show additional information
The SunPower panel look very sleek and modern in black.
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro
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Good. Working well so far and the black frames look good.
Bought From: Fased Pty Limited
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Bought From: Solar Dynamics Show additional information
I have had a few friends who have purchased systems - not the same as mine. Both haven't experienced the same savings as I have. These panels work very well on cloudy days.
Bought From: Energy Buster
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Bought From: Energy Buster Show additional information
They look great & are performing well
Bought From: Impact Energy
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Bought From: EPC Solar Show additional information
Bought From: Energy Buster Show additional information
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro Show additional information
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro Show additional information
Bought From: Liberated Energy Show additional information
Bought From: Venergy Pakenham Show additional information
Bought From: MC Electrical Show additional information
Bought From: Energy Buster Show additional information
Bought From: MC Electrical Show additional information
Bought From: Green Sky Australia HC Show additional information
The ability of the Sunpower panels to generate power in low light and even when it is raining is excellent.
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro
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Bought From: NRG Solar - National Renewable Group Show additional information
Bought From: Future Solar WA Show additional information
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro Show additional information

Sunpower has 71 solar panels in our database

Model Type Size PTC Performance Ratio Californian Approved
PL-PLT-63L-BLK-UMonocrystalline635587.30Yes
PL-SUNP-SPR-215Monocrystalline21519892.09Yes
PL-SUNP-SPR-290Monocrystalline29026691.72Yes
PL-SUNP-SPR-305Monocrystalline30528192.13Yes
PL-SUNP-SPR-308EMonocrystalline30828391.88Yes
PL-SUNP-SPR-315EMonocrystalline31529092.06Yes
SER-220PPolycrystalline22019588.64Yes
SER-228PPolycrystalline22820288.60Yes
SER-235PPolycrystalline23521290.21Yes
SPR-200-BLK-UMonocrystalline20018090.00Yes
SPR-200-WHT-UMonocrystalline20018291.00Yes
SPR-205-BLK-UMonocrystalline20518489.76Yes
SPR-208-WHT-UMonocrystalline20818990.87Yes
SPR-210-BLK-UMonocrystalline21018990.00Yes
SPR-210-WHT-UMonocrystalline21019492.38Yes
SPR-217-WHT-UMonocrystalline21719790.78Yes
SPR-220-BLK-UMonocrystalline22019890.00Yes
SPR-220-WHT-UMonocrystalline22020090.91Yes
SPR-225-BLK-UMonocrystalline22520591.11Yes
SPR-225NE-BLK-DMonocrystalline22520691.56Yes
SPR-230-WHT-UMonocrystalline23021292.17Yes
SPR-230E-WHT-DMonocrystalline23020990.87Yes
SPR-230NE-BLK-DMonocrystalline23021191.74Yes
SPR-235NE-WHT-DMonocrystalline23521691.91Yes
SPR-238E-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)Monocrystalline23821791.18Yes
SPR-240E-WHT-DMonocrystalline24021991.25Yes
SPR-240E-WHT-U-ACPVMonocrystalline24021991.25Yes
SPR-245NE-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)Monocrystalline24522692.24Yes
SPR-245NE-WHT-U-240 ACPVMonocrystalline24522692.24Yes
SPR-250NX-BLK-DMonocrystalline25023292.80Yes
SPR-295E-WHT-DMonocrystalline29527191.86Yes
SPR-300E-WHT-DMonocrystalline30027692.00Yes
SPR-310E-WHT-D (96 cells)Monocrystalline31028591.94Yes
SPR-318E-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline31829392.14Yes
SPR-320NE-WHT-DMonocrystalline32029592.19Yes
SPR-320NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline32029592.19Yes
SPR-327NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)Monocrystalline32730192.05Yes
SPR-335NX-BLK-DMonocrystalline33531192.84Yes
SPR-343J-WHT-DMonocrystalline34331892.71Yes
SPR-390E-WHT-DMonocrystalline39036192.56Yes
SPR-400E-WHT-DMonocrystalline40037192.75Yes
SPR-410NE-WHT-DMonocrystalline41038092.68Yes
SPR-415E-WHT-DMonocrystalline41538592.77Yes
SPR-425E-WHT-DMonocrystalline42539192.00Yes
SPR-435NE-WHT-DMonocrystalline43540091.95Yes
SPR-440NE-WHT-DMonocrystalline44040592.05Yes
SPR-445J-WHT-DMonocrystalline44541392.81Yes
SPR-76R-BLK-UMonocrystalline766585.53Yes
SPR-E18-235Monocrystalline23521691.91Yes
SPR-E18-295-COMMonocrystalline29527191.86Yes
SPR-E18-305-COMMonocrystalline30528192.13Yes
SPR-E19-235Monocrystalline23521691.91Yes
SPR-E19-310-COMMonocrystalline31028591.94Yes
SPR-E19-315Monocrystalline31529092.06Yes
SPR-E19-320Monocrystalline32029592.19Yes
SPR-E20-245Monocrystalline24522692.24Yes
SPR-E20-327Monocrystalline32730192.05Yes
SPR-E20-435-COMMonocrystalline43540091.95Yes
SPR-X19-240-BLKMonocrystalline24022493.33Yes
SPR-X20-245Monocrystalline24523294.69Yes
SPR-X20-255Monocrystalline25524194.51Yes
SPR-X20-327Monocrystalline32730894.19Yes
SPR-X21-335Monocrystalline33531493.73Yes
SPR-X21-345Monocrystalline34532393.62Yes
SPR-X21-345-COMMonocrystalline34532092.75Yes
SPR-X22-340-BLKMonocrystalline34031893.53Yes
SPR-X22-359Monocrystalline35933392.76Yes
SPR-X22-360Monocrystalline36033492.78Yes
SPR-X22-460-COMMonocrystalline46043895.22Yes
SPR-X22-470-COMMonocrystalline47043893.19Yes
SPR-X22-475-COMMonocrystalline47544393.26Yes
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