21 May SunPower Solar Panels Review: Perfect Panels to Prevent Shading
In the solar panel industry, SunPower is such a name that it has been dominating the category of high-end solar panels for quite a while. They have mastered the art of manufacturing high-efficiency solar panels, and subsequently, they uphold the tag of innovating such an exceptional panel that can operate at a whopping 22.6% efficiency rate, performing highest ever in the category of residential solar panels.
In this SunPower solar panels review, I am yet to talk about every aspect of their solar panels so that you can get a clear vision of the brand and make a decision of whether or not you wish to go with it. So, without further ado, let’s head right into it.
SunPower Solar Panels Review
About SunPower Solar Panels
SunPower started its unofficial journey in the early ’80s. It all began in a lab where they used to test out different solar panel technologies, and later on, they officially started as ‘SunPower’ in 1988. The official journey was made possible because the R&D team secured funding in the first place. After that, there was no looking back because they developed record-breaking PV (photovoltaic) cells using advanced cell technology by partnering up with Honda and won the world solar challenge car race, held in Australia, which put them on the map of legendary innovators of the renewable energy industry.
Their involvement is present in a number of NASA projects, as well as other aircraft projects, over a span of 25 years. The headquarters of SunPower is situated in San Jose, California. They also hold the tag of Bloomberg Tier 1 ranking, which is not necessarily a representation of their panel quality but an evidence of the financial stability of the company. If this tag is present, that means the company is a well-known manufacturer, successfully committed to catering to customers globally for a long time.
Where Are SunPower Solar Panels Manufactured?
In 2019, when SunPower got divided into two separate public companies, all of SunPower’s manufacturing processes were handed over to Maxeon Solar. This indicates that SunPower will continue to be a distribution generation energy services company while their new company, Maxeon Solar Technologies (Maxeon Solar), will focus on the manufacturing of solar panels. I have added more information about the separation in the later part of the blog.
Now, the solar cells are mainly manufactured in a manufacturing plant, located in Malaysia and the Philippines; afterwards, the cells are dispatched to Maxeon facilities, situated in Mexico and France, where they are assembled followed by distributed by channels to be created for global market.
Cell Technology of SunPower Solar Panels
SunPower incorporates different cell technologies in their solar panel models. Here is a brief explanation of the technologies used by them.
IBC Solar Cell Technology
IBC stands for Interdigitated Back Contact, which is a type of solar cell that does energy conversion from the cell through the back contact instead of the front, unlike the traditional solar cells. Such a system allows the entire front part of the solar cell to act as a sunlight absorbing vessel without losing even an inch of space, unlike regular solar cells.
The traditional ones lose some potential because there are metal ribbons on the front part of the cells that are used for energy conversion. But the problem with them is they take additional space as well as they tend to expand while exposed to heat, which obvious because, they must be exposed to sunlight to work. This causes shading issues, which is one of the most leading causes that are accountable for efficiency loss.
To avoid this altogether, SunPower introduced its industry-leading IBC cell technology. This whole package is so simple that you can cut back on some costs on installation. However, IBC cell technology might seem like it’s costly, well it has a higher upfront cost, but you get to enjoy a greater return on investment; because they last longer and serves better.
Maxeon Solar Cells
This is what sets the entire brand of SunPower apart from the rest of the solar companies. It is their mighty Maxeon solar cell. This technology is undoubtedly better and virtually capable of eliminating any cell failure. Maxeon solar cell
A thick layer of tin-plated copper foundation on the back of the solar cells is what holds everything together. They use the purest silicon, made specifically for their solar panels, to make them even more capable. As we know, the more sunlight your panels can capture, the more power you can generate, and that is exactly what the Maxeon cells do with their unique light-trapping surface, which is also anti-reflective.
They removed the gridline made of metal from the front part of the solar panels. This is why the Maxeon cells struggle less with shading issues and look incredibly classy on a rooftop. You may be wondering that if the gridlines are what generates power, then how come the Maxeon cell generates power? Well, as aforementioned, they have a solid copper backing, which is how they generate power; also, all the cells are connected with thick connecters/ strain relievers. These don’t necessarily suffer from the heat expansion issue.
Conventionally, many solar cells use their capability due to breakage and corrosion, which has been virtually eliminated by the Maxeon solar cell technology. Their unique design removes 85% of the reasons that lead to traditional cells’ failure. With SunPower, you may pay a little more, yet you will love the benefits in the long run.
Recent Development of Changes in The Authority
In 2019, SunPower decided to split into two independent, complementary, strategically aligned and publicly traded companies – SunPower and Maxeon Solar Technologies (Maxeon Solar), where two of the companies decided to focus on separate offerings, built on the gathered expertise over the solar industry.
This incident took place because SunPower, as an individual brand, faced some financial issues. Which made people point fingers at the brand, and many quested their integrity and their ability to provide long term warranty commitments. By beating all the odds, SunPower still ranked as the number one panel in the US, Canada, and in many other parts of the world.
‘The two companies will cooperate to develop and commercialize next generation solar panel technologies, with early stage research conducted by SunPower’s Silicon Valley-based research and development group and deployment-focused innovation and scale-up carried out by Maxeon Solar.’ – stated in the official announcement published by the SunPower.
This separation doesn’t mean the end of either company; rather, the separation was done with an intention to maximize the value and focus on panel technologies so that they can produce highly efficient panel more efficiently. Maxeon solar focuses mostly on panel technology, and they will market their high-efficiency solar panel under the SunPower brand in the global marketplace, which is outside the US.
Available Models of SunPower Solar Panels in Australia
Here are some of the available models of the SunPower Solar panels in Australia. Yes, they are manufactured under Maxeon Solar but distributed and marketed globally as SunPower, so don’t get confused. If you wish to convey your concerns and want to know more about their solar panels, we can set you up with one of our solar experts. For that, please contact Cyanergy.
SunPower Maxeon 3
• Designed to deliver 35% more energy by
• Panel efficiency of maximum 22.6%
• SunPower Complete Confidence Panel warranty worth of 25 years
• 104 Monocrystalline Maxeon generation III solar cells
• High-transmission tempered anti-reflective glass
• Maximum power degradation of 0.25% annually
• Power temperature coefficient of −0.27% / degree Celsius
• ISO certified
• A solid-metal foundation to protect from breakage and corrosion
SunPower X Series
• Offers 3 individual solar panels, where the X20 has a maximum efficiency of 20%, X21 has 21.4%, and X22 has 22.2% maximum panel efficiency
• Uses Maxeon IBC cell technology
• 25-years of performance and product warranty
• The lowest rate of power degradation
• 44% more power per panel
• 92% retained capacity after 25 years of use warranty
SunPower E Series
• Delivers 36% more power per panel
• Combined power and product warranty over 25 years
• Uses the previous generation of Maxeon IBC cells
• Maximum panel efficiency of 20.1% with 327W power rating
• 88% retained power rating after 25 years
• N-type solar PV model with monocrystalline solar cells
SunPower P Series (Residential)
• Uses unique shingled cell technology
• P-type silicon monocrystalline PERC cells
• Maximum efficiency of the series is 19.9% (residential)
• Anti-reflective high transmission tempered glass
• Available both in residential and commercial grade sizes
• Less prone to micro cracking
• 25-years’ worth performance warranty
• 25-years’ worth manufacturer’s warranty
• 15% more power and reduced panel temperature due to unique electrical bussing
Difference Between the Models Available in Australia
Here is the difference between the models available in Australia-
|SunPower Maxeon 3||SunPower X Series||SunPower E Series||SunPower P Series|
|Cell Type||Monocrystalline||Monocrystalline||Monocrystalline N-type||Monocrystalline|
|Size||1690mm x 1046mm x40mm||1558mm x 1046mm x 46mm||1558mm x 1046mm x 46mm||1690mm x 998mm x 46mm|
|Features||High-transmission tempered anti-reflective glass to deliver 35% more energy||Uses Maxeon IBC cell technology||Uses Maxeon IBC cell technology||Uses unique shingled P-type silicon monocrystalline PERC cell technology|
|Operational Temperature Range||-40°C to 85°C||-40°C to 85°C||-40°C to 85°C||-40°C to 85°C|
|Annual Power Degradation||Not more than 0.25%||Not more than 0.25%||Not more than 0.25%||Not more than 0.25%|
|product warranty||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years|
|performance warranty||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years|
Pros and Cons of SunPower Solar Panels
Nothing is perfect in this world, neither is SunPower. They also have some drawbacks along with many amazing attributes. Here are the good and the bad sides of SunPower at a glance. Take a look.
• Firstly, their warranty schemes with every panel are outstanding
• Their innovation and use of the Maxeon IBC cells to increase panel efficiency
• Aesthetically pleasing looks to provide the homeowners’ roofs a classy look
• Continuous improvements and excellent R&D
• They use the purest silicon with their Maxeon series
• No other brand has reached the peak of efficiency in the residential solar panel category, which is 22.8%
• Different certifications, e.g., Cradle to Cradle, ISO achieved for their excellent performance
• Bloomberg Tier 1 ranking achieved
• Maxeon series holds the top spot as the most efficient solar panel
• SunPower to become the winner of the first annual Sustainability Award from PV magazine
• Warranty return rate of 0.005% of the panels deployed, which is over 30 million
• Price. Yes, it is an expensive solar panel. But the return on this one-time investment is far greater.
Is SunPower Solar Any Good?
SunPower solar panels are the most efficient solar panels available for a residential setting. So, there is no doubt that they are not just good but excellent in their job. With the highest panel efficiency rating of 22.8%, SunPower has literally surpassed other brands in an instant. Also, their amazing cell technology, innovative ways, and new, improved, aesthetically pleasing models helped SunPower reach to the peak of success.
However, they are very expensive in comparison to other solar panels. So, if you are willing to spend some serious amount of cash and make a commitment to go green, then SunPower is the brand for you.
In this SunPower solar panels review article, I have tried to give you a 360-degree view of the brand. All of the SunPower series are doing extremely well, especially the Maxeon series. With the reputation and evidence of success that SunPower has gained over the years, they surely deserve a place in your personal choice list.
If you are struggling to make a decision, kindly contact Cyanergy. We will set up a meeting with our solar expert and answer all of your questions one-to-one.
Which type of solar panel is good for low sunlight?
Answer: Solar panels that have PERC cells are good for low sunlight situation. The Maxeon panels from SunPower generates power from the backside of the panel, leaving the entire front alone to just gather sunlight. So, this can be one of your options to fight shading issues and cope with low sunlight.
Are SunPower panels worth the extra cost?
Answer: SunPower panels cost more than any average solar panels. The reason is their innovative Maxeon cell technology, which is unique to them. They are the sole company that holds the record of having the highest efficient solar panels for a residential setup. So, naturally, all these features add up to the price tag, and they are certainly worth the extra cost for this matter.
How long do SunPower solar panels last?
Answer: SunPower Solar panels last about 40 years. SunPower solar panels are capable of providing 60% more power over a span of 25 years, in comparison to a traditional solar panel. And their degradation rate is as low as 0.25%, depending on panel model; which is extraordinary because maximum solar panels have a higher degradation rate. These are the reasons why SunPower solar panels last exceptionally long.