SunPower solar panels review 2023: Maximum efficiency
Stories of big companies that start with one scientist conducting experiments in a lab are special. They are inspiring in how they prove the importance of creativity, hard work, and devotion to the craft. The story of SunPower, the manufacturer of the most advanced PV modules in the world, is like this. Learn more about the brand and its product in our SunPower solar panels review.
SunPower history: Silicon Valley breakthrough
Stanford, California, 1985. Richard Swanson, an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, experiments with solar cells in the lab. His tests go so well that he breaks a record for cell power efficiency. This inspires him to take a sabbatical and start a solar company that he names Eos. Then it will change its name to Sunpower and become a company with the most efficient solar panels in the world.
Richard Swanson is credited for creating Swanson’s law,an observation that solar cell decline by 20% for every doubling of solar panel industry capacity.
Almost 40 years later SunPower is still headquartered in Silicon Valley. Richard Swanson retired in 2012 but remains on the advisory board. The company provides solar systems and batteries, primarily for residential customers. Technically, SunPower doesn’t make panels anymore since it spun off this part of its business in 2020 as Maxeon Solar Technologies in Singapore, but we’ll look at their products as if it is one company.
SunPower technologies: Shingled design
American engineers use a wide range of modern technologies to drive up the output of their solar cells. One of the most impressive examples is shingled design.
To make a shingled solar panel, engineers slice cells into several strips and overlay them to create an electrical connection between them. It’s a bit like laying shingles on a roof. A shingled solar panel doesn’t need busbars or thin metal connectors. The panel gets a more uniform look and becomes more durable.
The best thing about shingled design is the way it improves the shading tolerance of a panel. Cells in a standard panel are connected in series which means that their performance depends on one another. Shingles are connected in parallel which makes them independent. In general, a shingled solar panel is 40% better at fighting shading than a standard panel.
Making shingled solar panels is difficult and expensive which is why so few manufacturers use this design — the only one that immediately comes to mind is Solaria.
SunPower Maxeon panels: Efficiency no matter the cost
SunPower Maxeon offers monocrystalline panels primarily for residential projects. There are high-output PV modules and bifacial panels but they aren’t the main FOCUS of a company. The brand also experiments with thin-film panels: for example, Maxeon Air is a highly anticipated flexible panel for home that should come out soon. Besides, SunPower designs solar systems and offers energy storage solutions
SunPower solar panels for home reach the highest conversion rates that are possible at the moment. The panels are just shy of 23% efficiency. If your space is limited and your energy needs are high, high-efficiency panels are what you need.
SunPower Maxeon always takes top places in rankings like “Top-10 solar panels” and “Best manufacturers”. The customer reviews for their panels are overwhelmingly positive which shows how stringent quality control is in the company.
The quality and efficiency of SunPower Maxeon panels come at a cost. They are undoubtedly among the most expensive on the market, if not the most expensive ones. They cost from 1.5 to 3 per watt in the US before installation. When you include labor, shipping and equipment expenses, a system made with SunPower panels can cost 5 per watt or more.
SunPower warranties: Up to 40 years
The warranties from SunPower Maxeon deserve a special mention. The brands offer 40-year coverage for their products which is something that no one else does. The engineers claim that you are 100 times more likely to return a standard solar panel than the product from SunPower Maxeon.
The coverage includes repair, replacement or refund for any defective panel for 40 years, including the removal, shipping and installation. It also covers the performance of a panel: the panel retains 88.3% by the year 40. There are nuances though:
The warranty applies for the SunPower Maxeon product line. SunPower Performance panels get a standard 25-year warranty for product and performance. The 40-year warranty is only available to customers in certain countries. Luckily, the USA is on this list. Customers in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Sweden are also eligible. Your system has to be registered. Otherwise, it is covered by a standard 25-year warranty.
What stands out the most about SunPower Maxeon panels — except everything? Here is the list of the most impressive advantages:
The highest efficiency. SunPower panels are known for being the most efficient in the industry which means that they are able to convert more sunlight into electricity. By the end of 2022, the highest number they reached was a 22.8% conversion rate. Top-notch warranties. The brand offers a 40-year product and performance warranty for certain models and 25-year warranties for all the rest. The panels retain over 88% of their power output after 40 years. Amazing quality and great reputation. SunPower solar panels reviews are overwhelmingly positive and the brand is beloved by experts and customers. American design. The panels are assembled in Asia, but the design comes from American engineers. Besides, it’s nice to know that the history of a company stems from Silicon Valley and the genius of Stanford professor. Wide product line. SunPower Maxeon offers panels primarily for residential installations, but there are also flexible panels, high-output modules for commercial installations, and bifacial panels. The company offers energy storage systems as well.
What’s not ideal about SunPower Maxeon panels? This list is going to be short but it can’t be omitted:
High cost. Maxeon and SunPower solar panels are undoubtedly among the highest on the market, if not the most expensive ones. They cost from 1.5 to 3 per watt before installation.Residential projects emphasis. While the company offers panels for commercial systems and mobile solar installations, it’s not their specialty. As a result, Sunpower panels for these applications aren’t as advanced and competitive as, say, high-output modules from Jinko Solar or flexible panels from Renogy.
SunPower solar panels overview: For home, business and travel
We’re itching to take a look at the panels that SunPower Maxeon puts out on the market. Our engineer is going to join us and share his thoughts as well.
SunPower panels are a dream for engineering nerds because there is so much work and creative decisions. You can find IBC cells that LG used as well, or shingled panel design that I’ve seen with Solaria panels, and many more.
Maxeon 3 DC, 430 W — Put it on your house roof
Here is a basic panel for home installations from Maxeon SunPower with 430 W power output. Its conversion rate reaches 22.7% which puts it among the most efficient panels on the market. The panel comes with a 40-year warranty for product and performance and you can expect it to retain over 88% of its power by the year 40.
SunPower Performance 5 UPP Bifacial, 545 W — Use it for your business
A bifacial panel from SunPower Performance line is designed for large commercial installations. The front side is rated for 545 W output with 20.9% efficiency. The active rear side provides up to 20% bonus production. Shingled solar panel design increases the shading tolerance of a panel and contributes to the stylish appearance of the panel. The panel comes with a 25-year warranty for product and performance.
SunPower SPR-E-Flex-110, 110 W — Take it on the road
Here is a 110 W flexible panel from SunPower — a great choice for your camper or boat. The panel flexes up to 30° and it doesn’t require drilling — you can fix it with the help of adhesives. The panel features back contact cells which increase the active area of solar cells and improve the look of a module. It is designed in the USA and assembled in France. The panel comes with a 5-year limited power warranty of 80% of the minimum specified power rating.
A1SolarStore recommends Maxeon 6 AC (E4), 440 W
Here is an AC panel from SunPower Maxeon that comes with a preinstalled microinverter from Enphase. The panel provides 440 W of output with 22.8% efficiency.
AC panels are easier to install than standard DC modules. Micro inverters also provide better efficiency and lower power losses caused by shading, compared to string inverters. Their monitoring capabilities are also superior. The inverter from Enphase works at 96.5% efficiency. The panel comes with a 40-year warranty from SunPower for product and performance. There is also a 25-year product warranty for the micro inverter which is covered by Enphase.
A1SolarStore verdict: SunPower Maxeon solar panels are next level
We’ve looked at the history of SunPower, the technologies that it utilizes, the panels that the brand offers, and discussed their pros and cons. It’s time to summarize everything in a list:
SunPower is an American brand founded in 1985 by Stanford professor Richard Swanson. SunPower designs solar systems and energy storage systems. It spun off solar panel manufacturing as Maxeon Solar Technologies. American engineers utilize a variety of different technologies, such as IBC cells and shingled design, to maximize the production of their panels. As a result SunPower panels are the most efficient ones on the market, reaching up to 22.8% conversion rate. They are also among the most expensive on the market. SunPower panels can come at up to 3 per watt in the US before installation. Shingled design makes SunPower panels 40% more resistant to shading, compared to standard panels. Maxeon SunPower panels come with a 40-year warranty for product and performance for several models. The rest comes with 25-year warranties. The system has to be registered to be eligible for 40-year coverage. The best panels from SunPower Maxeon retain over 88% of their power output after 40 years in service. SunPower has an excellent reputation and is beloved by experts and customers. SunPower Maxeon offers panels for all kinds of projects, including flexible PV modules for mobile installations. Residential projects are their specialty.
What more is there to say? SunPower is an excellent brand. Yes, the panels are impressively expensive. But hey, when SunPower makes them this powerful, this high-quality, this good — they have a right to set the bar. With that, we end our SunPower solar panels review 2023 and we’ll be back with more.
SunPower increases solar cell size with new 400-W A-Series of modules for the residential market
SunPower launches today in the United States a new line of solar modules for the residential market. The new A-Series, using SunPower’s “Next Generation Technology” will deliver 400 and 415 W of power. In Europe and Australia, the company has also released 400-W panels known as Maxeon 3.
New A-Series modules on a home
“SunPower is introducing the world’s first 400-W residential solar panels as most in the industry are just crossing the 300-W threshold for home solar,” said Jeff Waters, CEO of the SunPower Technologies business unit. “Our record-breaking cell technology and innovative research and development efforts have enabled us to fit more power capacity on rooftops than we ever have before. Our growing panel portfolio is delivering unprecedented value across global markets that goes unmatched by any other residential solar technology currently available.”
SunPower’s patented Maxeon solar cells are built on a solid copper foundation for high reliability and performance. The Maxeon cells provide SunPower panels with improved resistance to corrosion and cracking.
SunPower’s new larger solar cell (right). Credit: Paul Sakuma Photography
A-Series panels are built with SunPower’s fifth-generation Maxeon solar cells, called Gen 5, which were perfected at the company’s Silicon Valley Research Facility. This new technology required new materials, tools and processes, and resulted in a 65% larger cell than previous generations that absorbs more sunlight and ultimately offers more savings to homeowners.
Combined with Maxeon Gen 5 solar cells is one of the industry’s highest-powered, factory-integrated microinverter, making A-Series ideal for use with SunPower’s Equinox platform. All SunPower panels are backed by its 25-year combined power and product warranty.
The Maxeon 3 panels in Europe and Australia use SunPower’s third generation of smaller Maxeon cells.
“SunPower solar panels are designed to maximize power production and energy savings for our customers, and we’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible in home solar,” Waters said. “With our innovative solar solutions and services, and our established channels to market, SunPower will continue building on its strong leadership position in distributed generation around the world.”
About The Author
Kelly Pickerel has over a decade of experience reporting on the U.S. solar industry and is currently editor in chief of Solar Power World.
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Larger maybe, but you all seem to forget that word and real meaning of the word… efficiency! the A425 has 22.8% efficiency, so a larger panel with more efficiency means that you will actually buy less number of panels.
This is “vaporware” in the US. For one thing, I have yet to find a dealer (6-8) contacted nation wide. None of them have 400w x-series. For second point, The one that did wanted 1400 a panel plus shipping. Im told by other dealer that this is bullocks because sunpower will not sell panels unless the dealer gets to install. Now having said this I would strongly discourage others from buying from SunPower. This practice that you are forced to buy install with panels is bad for the consumer. And in other industries and situations this is called “tie-in” and courts have ruled it illegal. Customers dont have to wait for lawsuit — just vote with your feet. There are other manufacturers that are so close to this 400W, that its going to be better to go with them.
This. I have been asking them for panel pricing for years now. #DemandBetterSolar. How do they even make money if nobody can buy them, or even determine cost? Just like Auntie Maxeon said, #ReclaimingMyTime. I do not have time for games and nonexistent nonsense. Being mysterious and inaccessible is not cool, it is frustrating af. You are not the revolution. You are not available. I hate your brand. #SunPowerSucks. I hope you get Solyndra’d. You are useless. If your market is multimillion dollar installations only and idiots willing to pay 4x too much for a goddamn commodity, STOP ADVERTIZING TO ME. Solar Cells should be getting smaller and more modular so they can fit in more places, not 65% larger. But you are not trying to install your panels in more places. You are trying to be exclusive. Which is gross morally, and must be bad for your business if it exists at all. Go power your own world cuz you haven’t even tried to power anything in mine, ever. Your degradation rate is actually the worst in the industry because this invisible and inaccessible pricing is demeaning, degrading, and disrespectful to all the nerds that spend their free time trying to make the world a better place and fall into the trap of your marketing wasteland. I don’t know how one monetizes pissing off the little people, but if i ever get my hands on an elusive SunPower panel, i’m throwing it off the roof and tossing the shattered glass onto YouTube to demand better solar. I deserve 420W panels for my home grow anyway. I’ll wait. #ReclaimingMyShine.
I was wondering how much do these 400Watt modules cost? and the type they are called? I was thinking about investing in one where could you recommend me to get started?
Ok well can someone please tell us the difference and do a comparison article. That will answer the questions, that would be really really great and also maybe throw availability. Thanks
I just completed an install with the new A series 415 w modules. Amazing product! They are an AC module. 66 cell format. Just slightly larger in height to the standard 60 cell format. Approx 3-4 inches taller.
IF so, these panels will be about 3 inches wider and actually around 1 inch shorter than the typical 350W panels out today, much like the LG 350W series panels. The old Schott solar PV panels that were in the 400W to 500 watt range were right at 4 foot wide by 8 foot long. This allows one to “harvest” 400 to 415W from about 16.25 square feet as opposed to “harvesting” 330 to 350W from about 17.5 square feet. It’s this kind of technology nudge that will drive some early adopters of solar PV to install these new panels and put their old system on e-bay for the secondary used market. Is this not how the automobile built by Henry Ford became so popular. First as an affordable automobile, then as a cheap second hand car creating the “used car” market? Bring on the high output panels, the hybrid inverters and cheap battery storage to allow net zero energy use for decades to come.
So this is actually 66 cells at 400 watts? And what is the difference between the 400W to the 415W is the 400W a blk on blk?
This is bogus. You can’t get them. Certainly you can’t get them in the US. That’s what they will tell you when you call SP. But they wills say Europe. Call Europe and they will tell you, not Europe; but you can get them in the US.
There have been 400W, even 500W panels for 4.5 years. Even 500W panels at the size of these new Sunpower panels, 4.5 years ago.
The 6×10 cell A-series produces 400W / panel at 95cm x 156cm while the 96-panel X-series produces 370W are measured 105cm x 156cm.
What are the frame dimensions? With a larger cell it seems like they would need a larger module. If this is actually the rough size of a current 60-cell module I’ll be impressed, but if they’re making something roughly the size of a 72-cell they can get in line behind other manufacturers who have already done it.
This image going around the internet apparently shows SunPower’s smaller X series on left and the new A series on right. The X series is a 96-cell panel… which is closeish to a traditional 60-cell panel. So maybe the 66-cell A series is more like a traditional 72-cell panel? Not sure.
SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels review
In this review, we’ll examine the SunPower Maxeon 3, its features and pros and cons to determine if it’s the best solar panels option for your home.
SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels are durable, reliable and efficient, making them perfect for your home or business. (Credit: SunPower)
SunPower is a premium solar solutions company and one of the most renowned names in the industry. The company has its own line of high-end residential and commercial solar panels that are manufactured by Maxeon Solar. The SunPower Maxeon 3 is one of the most high-efficient solar panels developed by the company.
According to SunPower, their solar cells have been tested against its competitors across five cell generations, 3.5 billion cells and 33 million panels. The cells come with a patented metal foundation that allows them to bend under tough conditions instead of breaking. Additionally, the panels are expected to last 40 years with a return rate of less than 0.005%.
SunPower extended its warranty period from 25 to 40 years for the Maxeon 3 panels. During this period, these panels are guaranteed to maintain their efficiency and power output advantage for more years than standard panels. Based on this warranty, they also have the highest warranted output protection in the solar industry at 88.3% in year 40. Therefore, the SunPower Maxeon 3 will degrade by about 0.25% every year.
Thanks to their excellent qualities, these panels were recognised as a Top Performer in the PVEL PV Module Reliability Scorecard for five years in a row. They are also ranked among the best panels on the market due to their high efficiency and durability. The brand sells in more than 100 countries and has tons of customers.
The SunPower Maxeon 3 is one of the most powerful solar panels for residential buildings on the market. Its cells are built on a solid copper foundation, making them durable and hard to break. SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels are available in different power outputs from 355-430 W. With a 22.8% maximum efficiency, these panels have the lowest degradation rate in the market and are four times more reliable than conventional panels.
- Range: 355-430 W
- Efficiency: 19.8%-22.8%
- Warranty: 40 years
- Cost: From £350 (excluding installation costs)
Pros and cons
SunPower Maxeon 3 has some advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, before spending money on these solar panels, you need to know their pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s worth it.
- Industry-leading warranty : Compared to most solar panel brands on the market, SunPower is a leader because of its warranty period. They offer a 40-year warranty that covers replacements, repairs, refunds, installation and shipping.
- Energy efficiency : Like with the warranty, SunPower is a market leader in energy efficiency. The SunPower Maxeon 3 has an efficiency of up to 22.8%.
- Durability : SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels have demonstrated the lowest degradation rates in the industry, about four times stronger than conventional panels. This was tested across eight years using 800,000 panels at 264 sites.
- The power output is high : Some of the SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels have a high power output of more than 400 W. This is ideal if you are looking for a panel with such output.
- High cost: The SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels are some of the most expensive options on the market. To buy one panel, you have to pay more than £350, excluding labour and installation costs.
- Installation limits : To use the 40-year SunPower warranty, your solar panels must be installed by a SunPower-certified company. Keep in mind that these services and their availability will vary depending on your location.
How does the SunPower Maxeon 3 work?
The SunPower Maxeon 3 is uniquely designed to be different from conventional solar panels. Maxeon cells are all-black, use back-contact conductivity and don’t have grid lines, enabling them to absorb more sunlight. In addition, they have a solid metal backing which adds strength to each cell and helps resist corrosion.
The triple-thick redundant connectors can handle the expansion and contraction that happens based on daily temperature changes. Thanks to this design, these solar cells don’t face conventional failures due to defective backsheets, cell cracking, browning and delamination.
SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels have no grid lines and a solid metal backing to make them more durable. (Credit: SunPower)
How does the SunPower Maxeon 3 compare to other solar panels?
Compared to conventional solar panels, the SunPower Maxeon 3 panels provide greater peace of mind because they are highly efficient and have high savings. They have the lowest degradation rate in the industry.
If you are looking for an alternative for SunPower Maxeon 3, you can go for the high-performance but much cheaper LG NeON. The LG NeON solar panel has a similar output of about 350-400 W. It also has an efficiency of 19.8%-22%. Therefore, it would be a perfect alternative to the SunPower Maxeon 3.
LG NeON is a bit cheaper, priced at approximately £265 per panel. However, it has a disadvantage over SunPower Maxeon 3 because its warranty period is 25 years. Despite this, it’s still durable and one of the best options to consider for your home, especially if you are looking to save money.
Homeowners looking for efficiency can consider the Panasonic HIT N 245W. Although it’s lower than SunPower, the maximum efficiency is 19.4%, which works for a small roof. It’s a flexible and lightweight solar panel with a compact size of 160cm x 80cm, making it easy to install on your home.
One of the downsides of the Panasonic HIT N 245W is that the power output is not as high as SunPower Maxeon 3 at 245 W. In addition, its 25-year warranty period does not match up to 40 years. However, because of this, the solar panels are more affordable.
How much does the SunPower Maxeon 3 cost?
If you rank the SunPower Maxeon 3 against other solar panels, it’s considered one of the pricier options. According to the company, their panel costs a little more upfront because their product is durable, reliable and efficient compared to cheaper panels.
Although they are costly, their performance is top-notch. They last longer, generate more energy and are backed by a lengthy warranty. Because of this, they save customers money by offsetting the electricity bill. Apart from purchasing costs, you also need to consider installation, labour and battery storage costs.
Let’s look at how SunPower Maxeon 3 compares to other brands.
Installing your SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels
When you buy SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels, the company connects you to an expert from SunPower’s network of qualified installers. This professional installer will create a custom solar proposal for your home and provide an estimate of future savings.
The installer will be responsible for most of the heavy lifting, including designing your solar system to maximise the power and efficiency of the panels. To take advantage of the 40-year warranty, you’ll need to use these installers from SunPower.
Maintaining your SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels
SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels don’t require intensive maintenance. If you have any soil or dust accumulation on the panels, rain can clear it off. However, if there is a lot of dust, you can use a normal garden hose to clean the roof from the ground. It’s advisable to clean the panels either early in the morning or late evening when they are not too hot.
You can also wipe them with a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid using harsh detergents that can affect the surface of the panels. If the panels are damaged, they will be covered by the warranty, so you don’t have to worry about that.
SunPower Maxeon 3 is a highly efficient, durable solar panel for your home, business or power plant. Although it’s more expensive than other panels on the market, it has a 40-year warranty that you can use for as long as you have the panel installed on your roof.
Ranked as one of the most efficient solar panels in the industry, SunPower Maxeon 3 has very little degradation. You’ll have this panel for years and still enjoy a high efficiency. They also have different levels of power output for you to choose from.
Overall, the SunPower Maxeon 3 is worth its price.
What the professionals say
“Maxeon 3 positions itself on the podium as one of the most comprehensive solar module options to astute energy investors. A well-rounded, ultra-high performing asset to ensure uninterrupted energy production beyond an extensive 25-year period. If doing something right once to virtually set and forget is an appealing concept, then the Maxeon 3 is a shortlist must.”
“SunPower’s Maxeon 3 panels are a great choice for homeowners with limited roof space. But while there is no doubting SunPower’s impressive specifications and metrics, there are other brands on this list that offer better value if you’re on a tight budget.”
“There’s a reason SunPower panels have an Elite ranking in SolarReviews official solar panel review — you can’t go wrong with getting SunPower solar panels on your roof. SunPower has an excellent network of over 500 reputable solar installers, many of which are among the best installation companies in the country. This means you’re getting high-quality panels with an excellent warranty and a high-quality installation.”
“Going solar is the right way to go, and working with SunPower makes the decision easy. The services, the product, the communication everything they are on top of it. I know many people are posting when they have an issue which is not fair because the majority are working just fine which we all expect that. Kudos to SunPower.”
“Best solar panels when compared to others. I’m very happy with my purchase of SunPower panels. My bill is 1/10th of what it was for electric!!”
“We had a great end-to-end experience with SunPower. They were on time and went above and beyond even after the install with cleaning up and fixing our gutter that had to be moved during the install.”
In order to conduct this in-depth review, we have analysed customer reviews, professional reviews and technical information. We then created a 100-point scoring system to rate the SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panel against:
- Efficiency of the solar panel for a total score of 15 points.
- Warranty period for a total score of 15 points.
- Power output for a total score of 10 points.
- The solar panel’s durability for a total score of 15 points.
- Cost of the solar panel for a total score of 10 points.
- Customer reviews for a total score of 15 points.
- Support and level of service for a total score of 10 points.
- The overall performance of the solar panel for a total score of 10.
SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels review
Our SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels review explores their technical features and pros and cons, and shares our views based on expert and customer feedback.
Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Founded in 1985, SunPower is an industry giant with over 1,000 patents in solar panel technology and over 18 million MWh of solar energy produced as of 2019. SunPower offers solutions for residential and commercial customers and has established a global presence, with its products available in 30 countries and state-of-the-art factories in the US, Mexico, Europe, Malaysia, China, and the Philippines.
The company developed the high-efficiency Maxeon Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) cells that are featured in their core product, the Maxeon 3 solar panel. This panel claims the highest efficiency and lowest degradation rates in the industry.
Upsides and downsides of SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels
Before deciding on which solar panels to purchase, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each model. Here are the upsides and downsides of the SunPower Maxeon 3 that we found during our research.
How do SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels work?
The construction of the solar cells in the SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panel makes it more efficient than traditional panels. (Image credit: SunPower)
The Maxeon 3 solar panels have a power output range of 355 W to 430 W and are built with monocrystalline Maxeon 3 cells in a 104 to 112 format (depending on power output). The Maxeon 3 cells are their high-performance IBC cells fabricated using high purity N-type silicon. This allows the solar panels to provide an industry-leading efficiency of up to 22.7% and a degradation rate of only 0.25% per year.
Unlike conventional solar panels, the back contact conductivity design includes a copper grid of conductors attached to the rear of the panel. The panels benefit from having no grid lines and so can absorb more sunlight, as shading caused by front exposed busbars (common in conventional solar panels) is eliminated.
The thick triple-redundant connectors and patented metal foundation make the panels more resistant to contracting and expanding due to temperature fluctuations. This results in an overall more durable panel that, based on field data, is four times more reliable than conventional solar panels.
With such an innovative design, it’s no mystery why SunPower’s Maxeon 3 are currently some of the best solar panels on the UK market in terms of efficiency and performance degradation. Coupled with their greater absorption of sunlight, this panel is ideal for homeowners with smaller roofs.
A recent development by SunPower is the Maxeon 6 solar panels for the home, with alternating current (AC). The panels contain an integrated micro inverter that converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated to AC. You can choose to use this AC electricity in your home or export it to the National Grid.
How much do SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels cost?
SunPower’s Maxeon 3 solar panels are regarded as some of the most expensive on the market today. Below, we’ve compared the cost per panel (excluding installation) between the Maxeon 3 solar panel and two other competitors.
SunPower Maxeon 3 versus its competitors
In the table below, we compare the Maxeon 3 panels with the other best solar panels in the industry. The comparison shows that the Maxeon 3 panel provides the best efficiency while offering the second-best warranty, performance degradation, and maximum output.
Lifespan and warranty periods
SunPower provides an industry-leading warranty of 40 years on both product and performance for its Maxeon 3 panels, due to its innovative IBC cell design and patented metal foundation. The warranty includes repair, replacement, and even refunds for any defective panels. The company states that this 40-year warranty is limited to select countries, but you can rest easy knowing that the UK is one of them.
Based on research conducted by SunPower, the panels have a more than 40-year lifespan. Per the warranty period, the panels are guaranteed to produce a minimum power output of 88.3% in year 40. Another report issued by SunPower claims that based on 15 million panels sold over the last few decades, only 0.005% have been returned.
Solar panel maintenance
Solar panels require very little maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. (Image credit: SunPower)
According to SunPower, the Maxeon 3 panels require very little maintenance. Still, care is necessary to achieve the best results from your solar panels.
Inspect your solar panels
Conduct a visual inspection of your solar panels at least once a year to check the electrical connections and any corrosion. We recommend contacting a professional to perform the inspection. If you live in an area with more extreme weather conditions, you should inspect your panels more regularly.
Clean your solar panels
SunPower states that cleaning your panels is not required but recommended. We suggest carrying out the cleaning with a professional during the yearly inspection. To clean your panels, use a regular garden hose, and clean during the morning or evening—do not perform the cleaning when it’s hot outside. Use a cloth or soft sponge with water for fingerprints, stains, and dirt. Do not use harsh cleaning materials, such as a brush or cleaning liquid, as this can damage your panels and void your warranty.
What the experts say
Let’s take a look at what experts have to say about the Maxeon 3 solar panels:
“SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels are an excellent option for homeowners with limited roof space, but they may not be the best option for homeowners on a tight budget. Its warranty length is impressive, but only if you are planning to remain in your home for the next 40 years. If you have a large home, a large roof, or are unsure whether or not you are going to remain in your home for another 40 years, there are more cost-effective options that offer great performance.” — Federation of Master Builders
“It’s not cheap, but blue-chip investments rarely are. Nothing short of elite characteristics overall embedded within the Maxeon 3, [as it] upholds the distinguished reputation of this highly regarded module manufacturer. The Maxeon 3 is an ideal solar module solution for any project where high yields and sustainability are a strong consideration.” — Solar Analytica report
“The financial issues faced by SunPower over recent years raised some concerns over the ability of SunPower to honour the long-term warranty commitments. Despite this, SunPower is still ranked as number one in the U.S. and many parts of the world by installers and customers alike. In other markets like Asia and Australia, SunPower does not have a huge presence, and the very high price of the Maxeon series can be difficult to justify when some other manufacturers are offering similar performance and quality at a slightly lower price. That being said, there is no other manufacturer that can match the new 40-year SunPower product and performance warranty.” —Jason Svarc via Clean Energy Reviews
With a rating of 4.5/5 on Best Company and 3.6/5 on Trustpilot, SunPower has received mixed reviews, with the majority of clients praising the quality and performance of the product. The main negative points to note are based on the local installation teams and poor customer service. However, the company seems quite responsive in dealing with their unhappy clients.
“My 11 panels are giving me plenty of great electricity, and I am happy with SunPower. No issues, and none with my rep/installer Peter Kim of Bella Hem.” —Robert Pennell via Trustpilot
“The concern I had took WAY too long to resolve—several months, and it actually is not fully resolved yet. I would never recommend this company, partially because their customer service is offshore and that makes it doubly difficult to get things accomplished.” —Corey Meyerson via Trustpilot
“[It’s] working like it is supposed to, so I am happy with it. I have been very pleased with the company so far. I haven’t had any problems. Installation went very good.” —Mark via Best Company
The Maxeon 3 solar panels offered by SunPower provide the best performance and efficiency of any panel currently on the market, but they come with a high price tag. We highly recommend this model for anyone who isn’t concerned about price and needs a high-performing system that can generate reliable energy for decades to come. It is also the ideal panel for homeowners with smaller roofs due to its high performance and efficient absorption of sunlight.
How we chose the best solar panels in the UK
We conducted thorough research and compared some of the top-rated solar panels UK suppliers to help us offer an honest and informative SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels review. To do this, we looked at costs, product quality, warranty terms, customer reviews, and expert opinions. This enabled us to develop our own view of SunPower’s solar panels system.
Frequently asked questions about solar panels
How do solar panels work?
Most residential solar panel systems utilise something called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels are constructed of cells made with semiconducting materials such as silicon. When light hits the cells, photons in the electromagnetic radiation from the sun heat them up, which causes electrons to start moving. This movement creates an electric current, which is then captured by plates and wires within the solar panel in the form of a direct current (DC) electrical charge. An inverter connected to the solar panels converts the DC into alternating current (AC), which can then be used to power all of the electric appliances in your house.
Are solar panels worth it?
In short, yes—solar panels can be a worthwhile investment thanks to a number of factors, including a decrease in cost over the last decade, the savings that can be made on rapidly rising energy bills, income from excess electricity sold back to the grid via the Smart Export Guarantee, and advancements in solar panel technology that have made them more efficient using less space.
Do solar panels work in the UK?
While the amount of electricity that can be produced by solar panels varies in different parts of the UK—a system in the south of England will typically be more efficient than a system in Scotland, for instance—they do work well across the nation. It is said that if you can see outside without artificial light, your solar panels are working. This is because they do not need direct sunlight to work. This means solar panels work even in the rain, on cloudy days, and during the winter when it is snowing—all typical weather conditions seen throughout the UK.