Sunpower solar panels review
Overall Rating From 62 Reviews:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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
|Again these were top panels and expensive, but perform very well.
Bought From: Blue Mountains Solar Review Date: 4 May 2016
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 7 March 2016
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 9 February 2016
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
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 9 September 2015
Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 20 August 2015
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 27 May 2015
Bought From: Dunne Solar and Electrical Review Date: 4 December 2014
Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 10 October 2014
|Very high quality panels @ 327 watts. Well worth the added cost.
Bought From: Cola Solar Review Date: 28 June 2014
|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
Bought From: NQ Solar Review Date: 11 April 2014
Bought From: Adelaide Solar Systems Review Date: 5 April 2014
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 16 April 2012
Bought From: Solargain Review Date: 2 March 2012
Bought From: AllSafe Review Date: 13 March 2012
Bought From: Eco Kinetics Review Date: 22 March 2012
|We paid top dollar for these and have had a performance to match.
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 April 2012
|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
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 February 2012
|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
|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
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 13 October 2010
|Very satisfied wth the performance of the panels
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 March 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 July 2011
Bought From: Camberwell Electrics Review Date: 5 May 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 2 December 2010
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 14 September 2011
Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 21 June 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 24 June 2011
Bought From: Solar Wholesalers Review Date: 4 April 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 17 August 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 10 March 2011
Bought From: Solar E Pty Ltd Review Date: 4 June 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 June 2011
Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 18 June 2010
Bought From: Gruen Energy Review Date: 7 October 2011
Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 1 April 2011
|These 318w panels are probably the best on the market.
Bought From: FROGsolutions Review Date: 9 May 2011
|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
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 12 April 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 23 October 2011
Bought From: Adelaide Solar Systems Review Date: 19 February 2011
Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 12 November 2010
|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
|I would have loved to install 1 more panel! :)
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 October 2010
Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 7 July 2010
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 25 November 2010
Bought From: Cablelogic previously Renewable Logic Review Date: 3 February 2011
Bought From: GPE Electrical Review Date: 6 July 2010
Bought From: Todae Solar Review Date: 3 June 2010
|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
Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 26 June 2011
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 28 August 2010
|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
Bought From: Solar-Man Review Date: 27 May 2010
Bought From: NQ Solar Review Date: 18 June 2010
Bought From: BlueSky Energy Review Date: 17 June 2010
Bought From: Solar Shop Review Date: 17 June 2010
Bought From: Solar Switch Review Date: 17 June 2010
|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
Sunpower has 71 solar panels in our database
|Model||Type||Size||PTC||Performance Ratio||Californian Approved|
|SPR-238E-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||238||217||91.13||Yes|
|SPR-245NE-WHT-D (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||245||226||92.04||Yes|
|SPR-310E-WHT-D (96 cells)||Monocrystalline||310||285||92.03||Yes|
|SPR-318E-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||318||293||92.11||Yes|
|SPR-320NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||320||295||92.13||Yes|
|SPR-327NE-WHT-D (96 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||327||301||92.17||Yes|