Sunpower solar panels reviews

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About Sunpower, Solar Panels

Sunpower solar panels review

SunPower is an American firm that provides high quality, tier one solar panels; with some models being produced through its spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies. The company's products are widely considered among the best available.

Sunpower Maxeon solar panels have the highest efficiency currently on the market, are likely to be the best at tolerating partial shade, and they have a 40 year replacement product warranty in Australia (see further notes on warranty below). 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into SunPower panels in June 2016 and you can read what I published here, although some of the information is now out of date. I also wrote about how SunPower replaced some panels under their performance warranty in 2018.

Production Capacity And Output

At the start of 2018 SunPower 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.

Current production capacity isn't clear, but was expected to be boosted significantly under Maxeon. In April 2021, Maxeon Solar Technologies said it planned to use existing facilities to quickly ramp 1.8 GW of new capacity, followed by another 1.8GW at a new facility.

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 then resumed at a plant they bought from SolarWorld Amercias in order to avoid Trump's solar panel tariffs. But in January 2021, SunPower announced it was closing its Hillsboro plant. This means Maxeon is now manufacturing all SunPower panels models aside from the Performance (P) Series.

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

Company History

SunPower was founded in 1985 by Richard Swanson, who was responsible for Swanson's Law. It states that for every doubling of production capability, the cost of solar panels falls by 20%. Despite ups and downs in prices, it has proven to be roughly accurate and I hope the effect will continue into the future.

As it has managed to stick around for 37 years so far, SunPower is one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers in existence.

However, in November 2019, SunPower announced it would spin off much of its solar panel manufacturing into a new company – Maxeon Solar Technologies. That process was completed in August 2020 and now the company's panels aside from the P Series are marketed under the name "SunPower Maxeon".

SunPower Maxeon's 40 Year Replacement Product Warranty

In February 2022, Maxeon Solar Technologies announced the product and performance warranty on panels sold under SunPower Maxeon brand in Australia had been extended from 25 years to 40 years. In terms of the Sunpower Maxeon 5 AC, the 40 years only covers the panel, while the integrated microinverter is covered under Enphase’s 25 year warranty.

It should be noted the product warranty for SunPower P series panels (i.e. non-Maxeon branded) is still 25 years.

Maxeon's product warranty (and that of the P Series) undertakes to either repair, replace, or refund the purchase price of the defective PV modules. It used to be that all SunPower panels were covered by a full replacement warranty, rather than the company also having repair/refund options.

Panel Reliability

While this figure is now out of date, SunPower has  previously 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 time, 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 Maxeon Solar 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 used various technologies to minimise its impact, and that has continued under Maxeon manufacturing.

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 Had 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 was hurt by falling solar panel prices and also President Trump's US solar tariffs -- despite SunPower winning an exemption

There was speculation that SunPower would go bankrupt, but the recent move to shift all solar panel manufacturing to Maxeon may play out well.

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 or Maxeon, depending on the type of solar panel installed. 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 Maxeon panels on my roof, and this would be the case even if I expected SunPower or Maxeon 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

Very impressed with the appearance of the SunPower, all black panels on the front of the house. I was originally worried about what they would look like but with the all black panels and the black mounting system it looks great.
Bought From: Solaire Connect
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Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
All good so far and installation is very tidy.
Bought From: Jet Solar Melbourne GC
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Bought From: HDC Electrical and Solar F Show additional information
Bought From: Solargain Perth Show additional information
Bought From: Solargain Hervey Bay - Bundaberg - Gympie Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
SPR-P3-37-BLK-E3-AC
Enphase P series Micro-inverter kit
Envoy S meter and Surge Diverter

These Sunpower panels are working well and monitoring of each panel is easy.
Bought From: SAE Group Brisbane East
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Bought From: Solaire Connect Show additional information
Bought From: Koala Solar Show additional information
Bought From: Hello Sun Show additional information
The look very nice with an all black face to the panel.
Bought From: SAE Group GC - Ipswich Corridor
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Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: Primero Electric and Solar Show additional information
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: Green Wiring Show additional information
Bought From: Smooth Current Electrical Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Linked Solar Show additional information
Bought From: Primero Electric and Solar Show additional information
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
2 x powerwall2 installed
Bought From: Venergy SA Metro
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Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: Limitless Energy Group Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Look good as well as performance
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd
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Bought From: Solaworx Show additional information
Bought From: MC Electrical Show additional information
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre Show additional information
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Solargain SA Show additional information
Bought From: Positive Energy Solutions Pty Ltd Show additional information
Bought From: Lightning Solar & Electrical - Brisbane Show additional information
Bought From: Lightning Solar & Electrical - Melbourne Show additional information
Look great!
Bought From: Penrith Solar Centre
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415w per panel with slightly higher efficiency than most panels out there, so less panels required.
12 months later, powering along superbly.
Bought From: SAE Group GC South
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Bought From: SAE Group Pottsville - Tweed Show additional information
Bought From: Solargain Hervey Bay - Bundaberg - Gympie Show additional information
rainy horrible day and still produces significant energy.
Bought From: Perfect Solar Power
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Bought From: Essential Solar Orange Show additional information
Bought From: Frazer Electrical Group Pty Ltd Show additional information
Excellent.
Bought From: HDC Electrical and Solar F
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All working as expected. Even though I have 15 panels my friend solar has 18 of the exact same panels but I am producing slightly more power or equivalent power. Goes to who how important your aspect is.
Bought From: AG Solar Pty Ltd
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Bought From: Your Green Planet Show additional information
we are generating good power through the panels, very happy
Bought From: GemEnergy Darwin
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Sunpower has 71 solar panels in our database

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