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Are SunPower Solar Panels The Best. Sunpower panel cost

Are SunPower Solar Panels The Best. Sunpower panel cost

    Are SunPower Solar Panels The Best?

    Yes, SunPower panels are the best because they offer a better return on investment. Even though the upfront cost may be higher, these panels produce more power over time and last longer. Their installation is aesthetically superior, with no wires or unsightly equipment. Their comprehensive warranty covers everything and is the best whole-system warranty. The price, however, can be higher than LG and Panasonic solar systems.

    Why A SunPower Solar System Is Worth The Price

    SunPower solar panels cost more than other solar panels. We all know that the best things usually aren’t the cheapest, and the cheapest things rarely are the best. But is there really a difference between SunPower and other premium panels like LG and Panasonic that justifies paying more?

    While SunPower solar panels are pricier than other panels, they offer a better return on investment by producing more power over time. They have the most attractive, minimalist installation with the most comprehensive warranty in the industry, covering your entire solar system. SunPower guarantees it all in writing.

    Not All Solar Panels Are Created Equal

    Look at a SunPower Maxeon panel, and you’ll see a solid copper back and no ugly busbars on the front. These superior panels outperform conventional panels in efficiency, performance, and reliability. The design makes them sleek, attractive, and durable.

    SunPower Solar Panels Have The Highest Efficiency

    SunPower’s record-setting cells create the most efficient panel: 22.7% compared to conventional cells at 18%. They generate more energy production per square foot than other solar panels, turning more sunlight into electricity. This translates into a smaller solar footprint on the roof, and fewer panels help minimize roof penetrations.

    What Is Solar Degradation And Why Does It Matter?

    Solar panels lose power over time because of corrosion, delamination, cracking, and breakage. A solar panel’s degradation rate reduces power output year after year. A low degradation rate is important for long-term power production.

    The SunPower Maxeon panels have the lowest degradation rate in the solar industry thanks to their unique design. After 25 years, they guarantee the panels will produce 92% power, and it’s in their 25-year warranty.

    Conventional panels average 83% production over 25 years in their performance warranties. SunPower will generate 35% more energy over 25 years, resulting in more power and savings for homeowners.


    SunPower guarantees your solar panels for 25 years, even in harsh conditions. They’re tolerant of extreme heat, strong winds, pouring rains, freezing ice and snow, and the salty, corrosive air of coastal marine environments.

    SunPower residential panels set the standard for handling extreme weather conditions. Their warranty even covers marine exposure. Their manufacturing process is fundamentally different than the rest.

    Have you seen our SunPower break test? See what happens when we try to break SunPower and Panasonic panels.

    We may receive commissions when you click our links; however, this does not impact our reviews

    SunPower Equinox System: All-In-One Excellence

    When you buy SunPower from an Authorized Dealer, you get a completely integrated solar system: The SunPower Equinox System. It’s a premium system with premium features made with premium products. Its components work perfectly together and carry the industry’s best complete system warranty. SunPower is not just a solar panel company!

    The Equinox All-In-One system includes SunPower Maxeon solar panels, SunPower SPWR-A4 microinverters, the Invisimount racking system, mySunPower monitoring system, and the SunPower Complete Confidence warranty. The SunPower SunVault backup battery is an optional add-on to store solar power.

    To quote SunPower, “Gone are the days of clunky, piecemeal solar systems. Our SunPower Equinox system SunVault Storage is the only complete home solar solution designed by one company to work together perfectly.” Explore SunPower Equinox.

    Sunpower Design Studio

    If you want to decide exactly where the solar panels will go on your roof, then you’ll love the Sunpower Design Studio.

    Enter your address and energy usage, and you can design your layout and see the energy savings in real time!

    SunPower SPWR-A4 Micro Inverters

    SunPower and Enphase designed and built the SPWR-A4 micro inverters. They are pre-installed on SunPower panels in the factory. When a micro inverter is factory-mounted on a solar panel, it’s called an AC module because the DC power is converted to AC power at the panel or “module.” No ugly central inverter on your wall and no single point of failure for your system.

    With a peak power of 369 VA and continuous power of 349 VA, the SPWR-A4 micro inverter has the highest efficiency for module-level power electronics. This means it converts more sunlight into power immediately right at the panel.

    SPWR-A4 micros are optimized for high-powered solar modules and have a CEC efficiency rating of 97%, the highest for any microinverter. Get more tips in our post about the best inverters for high-powered solar panels.

    Invisimount Racking

    SunPower’s innovative racking design is genuinely “invisible.” It’s a minimalist, clean racking system that you’ll never see. Protect your home’s value with the sleek and discreet Invisimount low-profile racking that looks beautiful in any architectural style.

    mySunPower Monitoring

    You can monitor your solar production and energy usage with the robust mySunPower app or the mySunPower web portal. You have total control over your SunVault battery too. Another great perk is you can reach SunPower support right from the app!!

    The app keeps you updated on your solar production, energy use, and savings and controls your SunVault battery storage system.

    A Story Only An Insider Can Tell

    I worked for SunPower solar installers for much of my career. I also worked for solar energy companies that installed conventional and high-efficiency solar panels like LG and Panasonic.

    As an insider, I know what makes SunPower special and why it’s a superb value. I also know the pricing metrics. For my own house, I chose Sunpower.

    SunPower Doesn’t Sell Their Panels To Everyone

    SunPower has been around for 40 years and has always offered high-quality panels. Their installation process ensures the most attractive and efficient solar energy system at an elite price point. Recently, Sunpower spun off the panel division. Maxeon Solar Technologies is now the solar panel manufacturer.

    SunPower only sells to authorized dealers who’ve completed training on SunPower products and installation techniques, ensuring you get the best possible product and installation.

    Because SunPower only sells to dealers, few people know their prices. Less competition drives downward since only Authorized Dealers can sell the Equinox system.

    How Much Do Sunpower Solar Panels Cost?

    You’ll pay 10% – 20% more than a conventional system for a SunPower Equinox system. For example, if cheap systems sell for 3.00 per watt in your area, expect to pay 3.30 – 3.60 per watt for SunPower.

    The installation cost includes other components, such as microinverters and racking, plus skilled labor and administrative fees like permits. See how much solar panels cost here.

    Compared to a budget panel like Q Cells, it is still a top choice for your solar.

    You can finance your Sunpower system with one of their premium loans with 0 down. Check local dealers for special rebates and current rates. The lower the interest rate, the higher the dealer fees for all solar loans. Read more in our solar financing guide.

    Sunpower Has Leases Too

    While the popularity of solar leases has diminished since solar loans are more available, Sunpower offers excellent leasing options. Opt for a lease if you don’t qualify for the tax credit or don’t want a loan.

    SunPower vs SunRun vs Tesla

    Neither Sunrun nor Tesla ever manufactured solar cells. While all 3 of these solar companies offer leases or PPAs, only SunPower installs premium panels on leases.

    Elon Musk, who owns a major stake in Tesla, decided to put SunPower commercial panels on the roof of his SpaceX building! If that doesn’t say it all! Sunpower is the leader in commercial solar, and its panels are in the solar arrays of the world’s biggest companies.

    Solar Pays For Itself Over Time

    In most cases, solar pays for itself over time. Investing in solar turns an expense into an asset and also freezes the cost of the electricity it generates.

    If your solar system pays itself off, shouldn’t you get the best system, not the cheapest? Why not get the Rolls Royce if solar pays for itself? Why not get the one that produces the most power over time?

    The Rolls Royce Of Solar Panels

    Our original post on the best solar panels picked Panasonic, LG, and SunPower as the industry’s top 3 elite solar panels.

    Now that LG has left the solar industry, our latest post on the best solar panels compares SunPower, REC, and Panasonic.

    SunPower Solar Panels vs LG Panasonic

    These three giants dominate the elite class of solar manufacturers, and reviewing their numbers reveals just how close they are in quality. UPDATE: LG has stopped manufacturing solar products in 2022. REC is now in the top 3.

    sunpower, solar, panels, best, panel, cost
    BrandProduct WarrantyWarrantied Year 25 outputPanel efficiencyTemp. coefficientAvg. cost per watt
    SunPower 25 years 92.00% 22.8% -0.29% / Celsius 3.49
    LG 25 years 90.80% 21.7% -0.30% / Celsius 3.43
    Panasonic 25 years 90.76% 20.3% -0.258% / Celsius 3.44

    If they are so close, why is SunPower considered the best? Their comprehensive warranty, for one. Their warranty includes all shipping fees and labor costs and covers every component of your system down to the nuts and bolts! Add to that the impressive 25-year performance warranty, all covered by one solar company. So simple and convenient.

    The SunPower difference is in the design. The solid copper back means the panel continues to produce even when the solar panel is damaged. The Equinox aesthetic is unmatched in the industry. It is the Gold Standard!

    When you invest in a SunPower Equinox solar system. you’re guaranteed high power, performance, and reliability, all beautifully designed with premium aesthetics!

    down and flexible financing. Start saving with Sunpower width=336 height=280 /

    Choosing High-Quality Solar Panels for your Home

    Solar panels are critical components of a solar power system and choosing the best ones can determine how well your energy installation works. However, the bewildering array of options makes the selection process quite a chore. Because while all solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, they vary in how efficiently they do the job. The technology and materials used in the modules make a big difference in their performance and their price.

    Naturally, choosing the best solar panels on the market is the goal of potential solar consumers. In order to achieve this, they will need to invest some of their time researching and evaluating various solar panel brands and types to determine that will match their specific needs. It might take a while to come up with the right choice, but their effort will be worth it when they manage to find the most cost-effective solar system possible for their home.

    Factors Affecting the Quality of Solar Panels

    As the popularity of solar energy continues to rise, so does the number of solar panel brands. Although having a wide variety to choose from can be a good thing, it also complicates the selection process. To help with your search for the best solar panels within your budget, we stacked up the top solar panel manufacturers and brands against each other.


    Solar panel efficiency is a measurement of how much sunlight a panel can transform into electricity. This means that if the sun shines for the same amount of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient solar panels produce more power than their less efficient counterparts.

    Solar panel efficiencies range from a low 10% to a high 22%. Cheaper thin-film panels usually have the lowest efficiency rating, while most crystalline modules are rated at 14-15%. Of the two types of crystalline modules, monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline ones. Outliers are those modules that use more modern technologies and can convert solar power into usable electricity at a higher than 22% efficiency.

    Solar panels also have varying wattages or power ratings. The wattage indicates the amount of solar electricity they generate, ranging between 250-350 watts. Solar panels with higher wattages are generally more efficient, but they also cost more.

    A solar panel with higher efficiency can produce more electricity than one with a lower efficiency rating. This is a factor to consider when you have limited roof space vis-a-vis your energy consumption.

    Temperature Coefficient

    Lab tests show that the temperature of solar panels generally runs between 15°C (59°F) and 35°C (95°F). At this range, the solar cells inside the modules perform at peak efficiency. As the panels heat up, solar panel efficiency drops, leading to a decrease in solar output.

    Solar panel manufacturers rate how well their product handles heat or cold in the form of temperature coefficient. This refers to the percentage decrease or increase in the electricity produced by the system for every degree the temperature rises beyond 25°C, or for every degree it goes down below 25°C.

    Solar panels usually experience a 0.05% drop in efficiency for every temperature rise above 25°C. It may not seem like much, but the power loss adds up, which lessens the savings you get from using solar energy.

    A more efficient solar panel exhibits a lower reduction in efficiency when exposed to heat or cold, which boosts its performance in transforming sunlight into solar power.

    Materials Warranty

    The material warranty on a solar panel protects you against equipment breakdown resulting from manufacturing defects and environmental factors. Your PV power system has different components, such as batteries and inverters, and each has separate warranties.

    sunpower, solar, panels, best, panel, cost

    If, for some reason, your panel stops producing electricity or its production falls way below the rated capacity, a materials warranty will ensure that the manufacturer will replace the module at no cost to you. Sometimes the warranty will even cover the shipping fee.

    These warranties vary depending on equipment types and solar panel manufacturers, but they commonly cover 10-25 years. Examine the warranties offered by different companies to help you find the best solar panels for your budget.

    In connection with the warranties provided by the solar panel manufacturer, you should also consider the bankability or reputation of the solar company. Years of warranty won’t do you any good if the solar company won’t be around to honor their warranties.

    The materials warranty can also be a gauge in determining the durability of solar panels. Logic dictates that the more extended the warranty provided by solar panel manufacturers, the higher their confidence in their product.

    Performance Warranty

    Solar panels naturally degrade over time. This degradation means that they start to produce less electricity over the years, sometimes losing between 10-30% of their original production. The performance warranties guarantees that your PV panel’s generating capacity won’t fall below a certain level within the warranty period.

    A typical guarantee among manufacturers is that the panels will generate electricity at 80%-90% up to the end of their 25-year lifespan.

    The level of coverage, as well as the duration of the warranty, vary from each installer.


    The average cost of a solar panel system continues to fall. But even as the price of a solar system becomes more affordable, evaluating the costs in relation to the durability, efficiency, and performance of the different modules should be one of your considerations.

    Solar panels cost around 2.38 to 3.14 per watt. That means that the price for a 10 kilowatt PV system in the country may range between 17,612 to 23,236 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

    Premium solar panels exist on the market but expect to pay a higher price. They do make sense in several situations, such as when you have limited roof space. Because premium solar panels are typically more efficient, they generate more energy, affecting how many solar panels you need to install to power your home

    Solar Panels with the Highest Efficiency

    Highly efficient solar panels produce more solar energy per square meter compared to PV modules with average efficiencies. That makes them ideal for homes with limited installation space for their solar panel system. By using the most efficient solar panels, you can reduce the number of modules you’ll need for your energy system.

    Based on efficiency alone, the companies that make the best solar panels are:

    • Sunpower (22.8% efficiency)
    • LG (22%)
    • REC Group (21.7%)
    • China Sunergy or CSUN (21.2%) and Panasonic (21.2%)
    • JA Solar (21%)

    Solar Panels with the Best Warranty Services

    The warranties covering the solar panels can help reduce out-of- expenses when your solar panel system experiences some problems.

    A ten-year warranty for a budget panel is pretty good. However, some of the best solar manufacturers offer warranties that last 25 years or longer. Based on the warranty coverage, here are what we deem the best solar panels made by the world’s leading manufacturers.


    A Japanese corporation, Panasonic, is the manufacturer of the innovative heterojunction solar panel. This type of module combines a crystalline silicon cell and amorphous “thin-film” silicon. Using the two technologies allows the solar panel to capture more energy than using either technology alone.

    Solar panel warranty: 25 years

    Power/performance warranty: 25 years. The maximum degradation per year is 0.25%, with a guaranteed output of 90.76% after 25 years


    This is an American company that manufactures a wide range of solar equipment. SunPower solar panels include the budget-friendly E-series, the high-end X-series, and the A-series, which are solar panels that come equipped with an integrated microinverter.

    Solar panel warranty: 25 years

    Power warranty: 25 years. With a maximum of 0.25% degradation per year and a guaranteed 92% output after 25 years.


    This South Korean company manufactures all sorts of appliances and electronics. Among their solar products are the LG bifacial solar panels that generate solar energy from both sides of the module.

    Solar panel warranty: 25 years

    Power warranty: 25 years. The panels are guaranteed not to exceed 0.30-0.35% degradation per year. Their output after 25 years is guaranteed to remain at a range of 89.60-90.8%.


    This Canadian solar panel company specializes in monocrystalline panels, but they also manufacture polycrystalline solar panels.

    Solar panel warranty: 25 years

    Power warranty: 30 years. Their panels carry a guaranteed maximum degradation of 0.5% per year for monocrystalline and 0.7% per year for polycrystalline. The warrantied output of their mono panels is 82.6% and 79.5% for polycrystalline modules at the end of 30 years.


    Although the company is US-based, it also manufactures solar panels in South Korea. Their solar panel line includes all-black AC and DC modules that come with integrated microinverters.

    Solar panel warranty: 25 years

    Power warranty: 25 years. 0.5% is the maximum degradation per year, and the solar panels come with a guaranteed 86% output after 25 years.

    Solar Panels with the Lowest Temperature Coefficient

    A low-temperature coefficient is one of the measures of solar panel efficiency, and the companies that manufacture the best solar panels based on their temperature coefficient include:

    • REC Group (-0.26%)
    • SolarTech Universal (-0.26%)
    • Panasonic (-0.26%)
    • SunSpark Technology (-28%)
    • SunPower (-29%)

    Solar Panels with the Most Reasonable Cost

    The price of a PV installation is one of the barriers to the adoption of solar energy. However, affordable solar panels make it easier for those who want to go solar to switch to this renewable energy.

    The best solar panels when it comes to cost are:

    • ReneSola JC255M-24/Bb: 173.40 per panel, 0.68 per watt
    • Sharp ND245QCJ: 176.40 per panel, 0.72 per watt
    • Sharp ND-F4Q300: 216.00 per panel, 0.72 per watt
    • TrinaSolar TSM-PA05: 210.60 per panel, 0.78 per watt
    • Jinko Solar JKM310P-72: 251.10 per panel, 81 per watt
    sunpower, solar, panels, best, panel, cost

    Overall Best Solar Panels

    Taking all the factors that make a good solar panel, here’s our list of the best solar panels:

    • SunPower Maxeon 3
    • REC Alpha Series
    • LG Energy Neon 2 Series
    • Panasonic EverVolt
    • Hanwha Q CELLS Peak Duo

    Solar Panels with Special Features

    As solar panel technology advances, we see more and better features in the newer solar panels on the market. The world’s leading solar panel manufacturers seek to address various issues associated with solar panel installations by producing more efficient modules, panels with low degradation rates, those with greater durability, and so on.

    So now we see high wattage and high-efficiency solar panels that can withstand strong winds. Some PV modules on the market today can also generate energy on both sides of the module. There are clear solar panels as well as frameless and flexible ones. We expect the innovations to continue as we see more residential solar panels blossom atop more homes in America.

    The best solar panels with added special features include the following:

    • SunPower A Series: These are the world’s first 400-watt panels, and their efficiency rating goes over the standard 22%.
    • Panasonic EverVolt: This solar panel line boasts of low degradation rates and a guaranteed power output of at least 92% after 25 years, one of the highest among the panels on the market.
    • REC Alpha Pure Series: Using gapless cell technology makes this line one of the most efficient solar panels on the market. By eliminating gaps in the cell string, the PV modules can accommodate more solar cells, which boosts their efficiency.
    • LG Solar Panels Neon Series: These solar panels utilize double-sided cell technology, which allows the modules to capture the sun’s power on both sides. This ability can produce up to 35% more energy.
    • Hanwha Q CELLS Peak Duo: Strong winds and heavy snowfall can damage solar panels. The Hanwha Q CELLS Peak Duo can withstand wind loads of up to 2400 Pascals, which is similar to 140 mph winds and snow loads of up to 5400 Pascals.

    Solar Panel Cell Types

    Not all solar panels are the same. They vary depending on the cell type used. Here are the most common types of PV modules.


    The solar cells in this type of PV module are made from pure silicon. The manufacturing process involves dipping the silicon crystal into a vat of molten silicon and then pulling it out slowly to allow the liquid silicon to harden and form a shell around the crystal.

    The silicon-covered crystal, called an ingot, is sliced into a thin wafer and made into solar cells. Then, these are assembled to become solar panels. The purity of the silicon makes the monocrystalline panel more efficient than its counterparts, typically reaching a 20% efficiency rating. However, it is also the most expensive, with the price per watt ranging between 1 and 1.50 per panel.


    Like monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels come from silicon. However, unlike in the production of monocrystalline modules where the silicon crystal is pulled slowly out of the vat of molten silicon, the crystal is allowed to break up into pieces in polycrystalline panels. Once the fragmented pieces cool, they are sliced to become solar wafers and then turned into solar panels.

    Because they’re made from silicon fragments instead of from a whole crystal, they tend to be less efficient than monocrystalline modules. This module type reaches around 15-17% efficiency, but it also carries a lower price than monocrystalline ones. The cost per watt comes to approximately 0.70 to 1.

    Thin-Film Amorphous

    While monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are made from silicon, the same isn’t always true with thin-film amorphous modules. Instead, they come from various materials, such as cadmium telluride, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, and amorphous silicon.

    Among the three types of solar panels, thin-film modules are the least efficient, reaching less than 11% efficiency. On the upside, they are also the cheapest type of solar panels on the market because they use only enough PV material to cover their surface.

    Depending on the quality, the average cost per watt of thin-film amorphous panels is between 0.43 and 0.70.


    How much do solar panels cost for a 1500 square foot house?

    A typical 1500 square foot American home consumes around 100 worth of electricity a month. Powering this home with solar energy will usually require roughly around 15-18 solar modules. Depending on the PV modules’ wattage, quality, and type, the cost of installing solar panels on a home this size will land somewhere between 8,000 and 25,000.

    How do I know which solar panel is best?

    To get the best value for your solar installation, you need to evaluate several factors.The solar panel efficiency: The industry average is 16-18%, and the higher the efficiency, the better.The cost: This is relative to the watts of power the panel generates. Divide the number of watts by its price to get the cost.The quality: Reading the reviews of the type and brand you’re considering will give you an idea of how the panels perform in real-life conditions.The warranties: Most reputable solar manufacturers provide warranties of 10-25 years.

    How long do polycrystalline solar panels last?

    Correctly maintained, solar panels usually last for around 25 years. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop functioning in their 25th year. Some installations continue to generate solar energy long after their predicted lifespan is up, although at a reduced capacity.

    Is Zero Down Solar worth it?

    Zero down solar means you pay for your energy system through other financing means. This may be through a solar loan, lease, or solar power purchase agreement (PPA).Although zero down solar can help those who can’t afford the price tag of a PV system, paying cash for your solar installation is the best way to go. By using the mentioned financing options, you’ll end up shelling out more money than if you purchased the panels upfront. You also won’t be able to claim the tax credits and rebates with solar leases and solar PPAs that will instead go to the leasing company.

    Final Word

    Going solar involves a significant amount of money, so it’s essential to weigh your options carefully. The sheer number of solar panels and other equipment on the market make the selection process more challenging. But that shouldn’t discourage you from taking that big step that will lower your utility expenses and reduce your carbon footprint.

    Like with most important decisions, coming up with the right course of action takes time and effort. Researching on the topic, reading reviews and experts’ opinions, and learning from the experience of those who have switched to solar will help make the process less daunting. Those steps can also bolster your chances of getting the best value for your money when it comes to your solar installation.

    innovations in solar technology are in the offing that can make your energy system more efficient, which, in turn, will lead to more savings from your power expenses.

    Electricity aren’t likely to go down any time soon. The same holds for the earth’s temperature. But by using renewable energy sources like solar, you can help mitigate their impact on your budget and the environment.

    How Much Do SunPower Solar Panels Cost?

    This year in the US alone, a solar project is completed every two minutes. By the end of 2015, it’s been projected that the United States’ solar capacity will reach 8,000 megawatts (MW) for the year and 28,000 MW total. Millions of homes in the US are powered by this clean energy source, with more joining the ranks every day!

    As solar power takes the country by storm, you may be ready to have SunPower solar panels installed on the roof of your Orange County home. But what about the cost? Isn’t it prohibitive for anyone who doesn’t have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank?

    Actually, SunPower solar panels cost less than you might think. Let’s break down what contributes to solar panel costs and how to reduce those costs as much as possible.

    Solar Panel Brand

    The first decision you must make is what brand of solar panels you want installed. The brand you choose will affect the array’s energy production capabilities for next few decades and determine your overall satisfaction. Here are the top reasons you should choose SunPower:

    • High efficiency: Solar modules from this brand are 21.5% efficient, higher than any other solar panel on the market today. This is largely made possible by the monocrystalline cell design, which is more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than polycrystalline cells. The black appearance of monocrystalline cells is also aesthetically pleasing on your roof.
    • Bigger bang for your buck: SunPower panels remain productive years after installation. This feature combined with higher efficiency means the panels generate 70% more electricity than ordinary panels in the first 25 years. With a lifespan of 30, sometimes 40 years or even longer, SunPower delivers the biggest bang for your buck.
    • Durability: A solid copper baking helps SunPower panels withstand the elements, even after decades in use. In fact, an industry-leading 25-year power and product warranty puts your mind at ease when you choose this solar panel brand.
    • Enhanced performance in the shade: Let’s face it, everything from surrounding trees and buildings to rooftop chimneys and dormer Windows can cast a shadow on your solar panels. Thanks to enhanced performance in the shade, SunPower panels tend to lose 8% to 14% efficiency when operating in partial shade compared to a nearly 30% loss in production seen with conventional panels.
    • Reliable company: In addition to advanced panel features, the SunPower company has proven its longevity and reliability. Established in 1985, SunPower has been the top pick for NASA’s aircraft, Honda’s cars and solar power plants dedicated by President Obama.

    Number of Solar Panels

    Once your mind is set on SunPower, you need to decide how many panels you need. In other words, you need to answer the following questions:

    How much electricity does your home consume?

    Electricity consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Look back at the last year to see how much your home consumes each month on average.

    To help you get the most from your solar array, plan to make energy-efficient upgrades before sizing the solar installation. When your home consumes less electricity, the power your solar panels generate goes further to cover your utility needs. Examples of upgrades include replacing old appliances, adding insulation, sealing air leaks and turning off devices when not in use.

    How many hours of sunlight do you get?

    Orange County New York has 4.5 to 5 “peak sunlight hours” per day. Divide your average daily kWh requirements by the number of peak sunlight hours you receive. For example, perhaps your home uses 20 kWh per day. 20 kWh divided by 5 peak sunlight hours is 4 kWh. Multiply this number by 1,000 to get the number of watts you need your solar panels to produce; in this case, 4,000 watts.

    How many watts can your solar panels produce?

    The SunPower X-Series panels are 345 watts each. Take the number of watts you need divided by 345 to see the number of panels you need. In this example, the answer rounds up to 12 panels.

    Power Inverter Needs

    In addition to solar panels, your array needs a power inverter to convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity your appliances can use. Depending on the size of your array, you may need more than one inverter.

    The most important feature when choosing an inverter is a technology called Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). This comes standard on most new inverters and allows solar panels to work more efficiently in shaded conditions. Your installer is likely to select the inverter brand and type to accompany your installation. Make sure the installer you choose installs an inverter with this feature.

    Mounting Hardware

    As opposed to being attached directly to your roof, solar panels are actually mounted to special hardware. This maximizes sun exposure by ensuring an ideal angle and prevents any damage to the roof. SunPower solar panel installers generally use their preferred type of mounting hardware. If you’re given options, consider making your selection based on quality and not price alone.

    Labor Costs

    It’s easy to forget about “soft costs” like labor, but this is a major factor in what SunPower solar panels cost. After hearing this, you may be tempted to perform the installation yourself, but this is not recommended. The dangerous jobs of mounting heavy equipment high on your roof and handling tricky electrical work are best left to the professionals.

    Labor costs vary widely based on these factors:

    • Geographic location
    • The installer’s rates
    • The size and complexity of the installation
    • The time it takes to complete the job
    • Any preliminary work that must be completed prior to solar panel installation, including roof repair and tree trimming or removal

    Expect labor to contribute to about 10% of the overall SunPower solar panels cost. If an installer gives you labor estimates significantly higher than this, consider looking elsewhere.

    How to Keep Solar Panel Costs Down

    With an idea of the factors that contribute to the total SunPower solar panels cost, you’ll be relieved to know you have ways of lowering these costs, both upfront and over the long term:

    Apply for solar incentives

    As a New York resident, you have many opportunities to cut solar panel costs:

    • Federal tax credits cover 30% of the cost with no upper limit.
    • New York State tax credits cover 25% of the cost with a 5,000 upper limit.
    • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers cash rebates for qualifying installations. These rebates will decline over time, so the faster you act, the more you benefit.
    • Sales and property tax exemptions save you money upfront and over the long term.
    • Net metering allows you to sell back excess electricity to your utility company.

    Finance your purchase

    While solar incentives greatly decrease the required investment, if you still can’t cover the upfront SunPower solar panels cost, you can finance your purchase with a solar lease or loan. Both options allow you to switch to solar for 0 down.

    Clearly, there’s no straightforward answer to how much SunPower solar panels cost. For more detailed estimates based on your situation, contact a solar installer in Orange County today.

    How Much Does it Cost to Go Solar in San Francisco?

    Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada’s National Observer.

    Based on data from actual interconnected installations, the 2022 average cost of a solar array in San Francisco County was 30,217 for a 6.21 kW system.

    Table of Contents

    • The cost of home solar in San Francisco
    • Getting really granular
    • Solar costs in the Bay Area are higher than most marketplaces report
  • How much energy do San Franciscans use and how much does it cost?
  • How much can you save by going solar in San Francisco?
  • Putting it all together – Your solar payback period in San Francisco
  • Factor in the 30% federal solar tax credit and your net cost would be just 21,152! As for your solar payback period in San Francisco, this could be as short as six years, thanks to the high cost of electricity in SF.

    Fog Over Frisco is one of my favorite movies, but even in the city known for its rolling fog clouding the Golden Gate Bridge, a home solar array can still generate electricity.

    At what cost, though? Is going solar in San Francisco too expensive to make it worthwhile? As always, it depends!

    To help you arrive at the correct numbers for your house, let’s start with a look at the average cost of an installation in 2022 in San Francisco County, followed by the use and cost of energy per household in San Francisco.

    The cost of home solar in San Francisco

    I used data from California Distributed Generation Statistics to establish the average cost of home solar in San Francisco County in 2022.

    From these numbers, we can estimate costs for 2023 as well.

    According to the data, there were just over 3,800 completed and interconnected solar photovoltaic installations in San Francisco County in 2022. Of these, 76 included storage. The average system size was a bit higher for systems without storage. I only included the data for systems owned by the homeowner (not a third-party) and installed by professional solar installers (not the homeowner). I also omitted installations that included EV chargers and other complicating factors, such as mixed rooftop and ground-mount systems.

    Here’s the breakdown of the average cost and size of rooftop residential solar installations in San Francisco in 2022.

    USD average system size DC (kW) average system size AC (kW) Cost per Watt (AC) installed USD
    Average cost of all residential rooftop solar energy systems installed and interconnected in 2022 30,217 6.37 6.21 4.87
    Average cost of residential rooftop solar energy systems without storage installed and interconnected in 2022 28,982 6.59 6.42 4.51
    Average cost of residential rooftop solar energy systems with storage installed and interconnected in 2022 35,762 5.39 5.27 6.79

    As you can see from the table, the average cost for home solar in San Francisco in 2022 works out to 4.87 per Watt (AC). Systems with storage come in at an average of 6.79/W and those without storage are less costly at 4.51/W.

    As we’ve seen in other areas, like LA, these averages are quite a bit higher than estimates given on several solar online marketplaces. EnergySage, for instance, suggests a cost of just 2.91/W, working out to a total system cost of 14,550 for a 5 kW rooftop array. This is about half of the reported costs from the actual installations.

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    Getting really granular

    A closer look at the data from CDGS shows that SunPower panels accounted for more than a quarter of all installations in SF in 2022. These panels remain the most efficient at converting the sun’s energy into electricity. Installations using SunPower panels cost an average of 37,458 in 2022 in SF. This is quite a bit higher than the overall average, but these installations were also larger overall, at an average of more than 8 kW (AC). This works out to a cost per Watt of 4.60 for SunPower panels in San Francisco in 2022.

    At the other end of the scale, installations using Hanwha (Q Cells) were considerably lower cost at 23,367. The system size was also quite a bit smaller, however, at 4.89 kW. This works out to a cost of 4.78/W, which is actually higher than for SunPower panels!

    Solar costs in the Bay Area are higher than most marketplaces report

    It costs more to install solar panels at home than most energy marketplaces report, often by as much as 63%!

    If the real life costs of actual solar installations in San Francisco County are a bit higher than you’d been led to believe by solar energy marketplaces, consider two things:

    • the average installed system size was larger than 5 kW used to estimate costs on many other websites;
    • these are gross costs before rebates and credits.

    Many homeowners can access local and utility rebates and the federal tax credit to help reduce the cost of going solar in SF. For instance, with the federal tax credit of 30% reinstated in 2022, the average net cost of a solar array in San Francisco County would be 21,152.

    In short, the true cost of going solar in SF depends on:

    • The actual size of the array
    • The complexity of the installation
    • Your chosen installer
    • Which equipment you choose to install
    • Whether you opt for battery storage
    • Any rebates and tax credits you can claim.

    The nice thing about San Francisco, too, is that the solar energy market is so well established that you can easily get several quotes from installers all competing for your business. This isn’t a case where a couple of providers have a monopoly and zero wiggle room on price.

    sunpower, solar, panels, best, panel, cost

    Remember, too, that the incredibly high cost of electricity in San Francisco means most homeowners stand to save a lot of money by going solar. This makes for a much shorter solar payback period in San Francisco than elsewhere in the U.S., which we’ll work out below.

    How much energy do San Franciscans use and how much does it cost?

    Working out how much energy the average household uses is tricky at best. Some online estimates put the number at close to 10,000 kilowatt hours annually for households in San Francisco, based on average utility bills. However, I ran the numbers using different data and believe it’s probably quite a bit lower than that.

    Between 2016 and 2020, there were 362,141 households in San Francisco County, according to census data. These households used 1593.92 Gigawatt hours of energy in total in 2021, according to the California Energy Board. That works out to approximately 4401 kWh per household each year.

    The census also puts the average number of persons per household at 2.34, meaning a per capita (person) energy consumption of 1880.77 kWh. So, to figure out your likely household energy use, multiply that number by how many people live in your house.

    The cost of that electricity varies depending on whatever deal a homeowner has with Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE), the main provider of electricity in San Francisco. On average, though, the cost of residential electricity in SF in October 2022 was a staggering 30.7 cents per kWh. This is 84.9% more than the nationwide average of 16.6 c/kWh. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics notes that in each of the past five years, San Franciscans have paid at least 57.4% more for electricity than the national average.

    Put that all together and you’re looking at an annual energy bill of around 1351 for a household in San Francisco.

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    How much can you save by going solar in San Francisco?

    Most homeowners in San Francisco get their electricity from PGE. As we’ve seen, the cost of electricity is way higher in SF than elsewhere in the country. Assuming you’re paying that high rate and don’t get a discount for some reason or other, and assuming your home solar array is appropriately sized to meet all your electricity needs, you’re looking at saving around 1351 on your utility bill in the first year after installing solar.

    Let’s now assume a low rate of inflation (1.2%) and extrapolate out. At this rate, based on annual electricity consumption of just 4,400 kWh, your savings could amount to 4,101 in the first five years, 18,883 after 15 years, and 39,111 over 25 years.

    Let’s assume you’re actually using 9,644 kWh annually, though, which is the U.S. average. At the same rate of inflation (1.2%), your savings look more like:

    • 15,163 after five years
    • 31,258.11 after 10 years
    • 48,342.27 after 15 years
    • 93,751.64 after 25 years.

    That’s right, a home solar array could save you an incredible 93,000 over the lifetime of the panels. And that’s assuming just a 1.2% rate of inflation. At the time of writing, the actual inflation rate in the U.S. was 8.2%. Plug in that inflation rate and you’re looking at savings of:

    • 17,438.69 after five years
    • 43,299.99 after 10 years
    • 81,651.86 after 15 years
    • 267,085.82 after 25 years.

    Your actual savings will depend on your current electricity tariff, changes to energy costs in the future, how much electricity you use, how well your array functions, and other factors.

    Putting it all together – Your solar payback period in San Francisco

    Even a quick look at the figures above strongly suggest that it makes a lot of financial sense to go solar at home in San Francisco. With an average installation cost of 30,217 for a 6.21 kW system, or 21,152 after the federal tax credit, your panels will pay for themselves over the course of their life and generate clean energy while you save on your utility bill.

    If high inflation sticks around for the next few years, though, your solar payback period could be much faster.

    Gross cost of a 6 kW solar array = 4.87/Watt x 6000 = 29,220

    Federal tax credit of 30% = 8,766

    Net cost of solar = 20,454

    Cost of electricity in San Francisco = 0.307/kWh

    Average electricity use in San Francisco = 4400 kWh per year

    Average annual cost of electricity = 1350.80

    Annual savings (assuming 90% of energy bill offset by going solar) = 1,215.72

    Solar payback period = 20,454/1,215.72 = 16 years and 10 months

    Gross cost of a 6 kW solar array = 4.87/Watt x 6000 = 29,220

    Federal tax credit of 30% = 8,766

    Net cost of solar = 20,454

    Cost of electricity in San Francisco = 0.307/kWh

    Average electricity use in San Francisco = 4400 kWh per year

    Estimated cost of electricity for first 10 years = 17,515.15

    Estimated cost of electricity for years 11 and 12 = 5283.11

    Twelve-year savings (assuming 90% of energy bill offset by going solar) = 20,518.44

    Solar payback period = just over 12 years

    Now let’s assume you’re closer to using the national average of 9,644 kWh annually, not the 4,400 we estimated from census data, and that inflation remains high. This time, you’re looking at a much shorter payback period!

    • Assuming an 8.2% increase in electricity costs each year and you use more electricity

    Gross cost of a 6 kW solar array = 4.87/Watt x 6000 = 29,220

    Federal tax credit of 30% = 8,766

    Net cost of solar = 20,454

    Cost of electricity in San Francisco = 0.307/kWh

    Average electricity use in San Francisco = 9644 kWh per year

    Estimated cost of electricity for first 6 years = 21,829.38

    Six-year savings (assuming 90% of energy bill offset by going solar) = 19,646.44

    Solar payback period = just over six years!

    What if you install a much larger home solar array in San Francisco, CA, using the best solar panels from SunPower?

    Even then, given the huge savings on electricity costs each year, and the potential for net metering, rebates, and tax credits, your solar payback period is likely to be well under a decade, meaning you get to enjoy around 20 years of free electricity!

    Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

    Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT, is a science writer and long-time vegan, environmentalist, and zero-waste, self-sufficiency wannabe. Her work on solar policy has been published in the Canadian National Observer.

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