Skip to content
SunPower Reviews, Panels, and Installation. Sunpower panel efficiency

SunPower Reviews, Panels, and Installation. Sunpower panel efficiency

    SunPower Texas Solar Panels — 3 Month Review

    Below, I’ll review our SunPower solar panels that we have on our roof here in Texas, 3 months since they were first installed on Twosday. I’ll review the overall process time, quality of installation, financing, the app, and other factors. For each factor, I’ll give SunPower a score from 0 to 5, with 0 being the worst and 5 being best for each factor. Overall, I gave SunPower a score of 41.5 out of 45. There are a few areas where it can improve, which is true for all of us. My overall recommendation: I highly recommend the panels and the company.

    Note: Ukraine is getting pounded into oblivion by Russian aggression. Anything we can do to reduce funding for that murderous regime is in the world’s best interest. Solar panels are great to avoid burning coal and natural gas, saving tons of CO2 every year and greatly reducing your annual electricity costs. I own nominal amounts of shares in Ford, SunPower, Sunrun, and Tesla.

    Average Lead Time — 5 months. Score: 3 out 5

    This was the lowest scoring area for SunPower. Because of some unforced errors, our average lead time (the time from starting the process to the end) took 5 months. The major factor here was homeowner association (HOA) approval, which took 3 months, from October to January. I gave SunPower the Power of Attorney to negotiate and submit the necessary documentation for our solar panels on our behalf. The first time they submitted the documents wrong and incompletely. By the time they figured out what was wrong with HOA guidance, two months had passed. If you are looking for solar panels and have an HOA, get the necessary documents the HOA requires and submit them yourself. Our Architectural Review Committee meets once a month. If something is wrong, we have to wait another month. Texas efficiency at its finest (sarcasm). Not everyone will be as patient as I was to get solar panels. A community neighbor got panels installed on their roof in 2 months, start to finish, by using Tesla.

    Average Cycle Time — 3 to 4 weeks. Score: 5 out of 5

    Once we had HOA approval in hand, SunPower was able to schedule panel installation within 3 to 4 weeks. This seems reasonable, and it’s why I gave SunPower 5 out of 5.

    Panel Installation Time — 3 hours. Score: 5 out of 5

    22 solar panels were installed on my south-facing roof within 3 hours. This includes running the cabling through the attic, down my gutter, and next to the electrical box. Another person came in a few days, installed the SunPower monitoring box, hooked up the electrical wires, painted the cable next to my gutter, and did a preliminary inspection. The second person took 1 extra hour. States can do a lot better to make it easier to get solar approved. It shouldn’t take orders of magnitude more time to get approval than it does to do the installation.

    It did take 1 month after the solar panels were installed to get my utility to install the bi-directional panel. SunPower said they would follow up, but there were no results after a month. I called the utility directly, they apologized and said they were backed up, and then they installed the bi-directional meter the next day. The power was out for 5 min and the new bi-directional meter was installed. This meter is what calculates how much power you get from the grid and how much you send back.

    Note: Even if you don’t have the bi-directional meter set up, the panels are powering up your house. You just won’t get any credit for what you send back to the grid.

    App Quality. Score: 4 out of 5

    The app has some good features and has so much potential. If you have a battery, you can see the real time power flows between your home, battery, solar and the grid. I recommend SunPower do the same if you only have solar. Right now, I have to switch between my local utility app and the SunPower app to get all the home usage information. Our utility app is behind by one day. SunPower has a real opportunity to simplify the user experience.

    Image from SunPower’s website, showing the real-time electricity flow in the app for users with batteries.

    Features of the app I like: real-time power reading, energy production every 15 minutes, as well as energy and power produced in a day, month, year, lifetime, and custom. I really like seeing how much CO2 we have saved, the equivalent of trees planted, miles not driven, and gasoline saved. I would love to see how much water is saved from having solar panels.

    The customer service phone number and email is easy to find. The app tells you the size of the system. This has not been working during my time with the app. I spoke with Sanah about the issue last week. Sanah is in SunPower’s public relations department. She said she would bring this up with their engineers and get it fixed.

    Note: From backup-of-the-envelope calculations, any decently sized solar panel system will save more CO2 for a lower out-of- cost than most mid-range and high-end EVs. The exceptions where an EV may make more sense to offset CO2 are if you drive a ton every year or your state’s grid heavily relies on coal for power (cough cough, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky). I’ve asked Sanah if SunPower can include the CO2 calculations in the app, for data geeks like me. Solar panels EVs for most of us, concerning CO2 savings. Special thanks to sri for the discussion.

    Includes real-time electricity production, lifetime production, and CO2 savings.

    Professionalism. Score: 5 out of 5

    Everyone was professional and cordial, all throughout the process. Photo by Vijay Govindan/CleanTechnica.

    Customer Service. Score: 4 out of 5

    I contacted SunPower customer service once by email after installation due to perceived low power production. They responded back within 2 days and said everything was okay. Sanah told me the new CEO, Peter Faricy, with a long stint at Amazon previously, has made improving customer service the #1 FOCUS for SunPower going forward.

    App includes the SunPower email and phone number, along with hours.

    Quality. Score: 5 out of 5

    As you can see from the photos, I’m very happy with the quality. Panels look good, installation is clean, everything is properly done.

    sunpower, reviews, panels, installation, panel, efficiency

    Notice on our breaker panel, exterior wiring in a cable sleeve, and the SunPower monitoring box. Photo by Vijay Govindan/CleanTechnica.

    Photo by Vijay Govindan/CleanTechnica.

    Photo by Vijay Govindan/CleanTechnica.

    Financing. Score: 6 out of 5

    Tesla’s financing is now 4.49%, 10% down, and over 10 years. SunPower partnered me with Tech CU in California. They offered me 1.99%, 0% down, and a 25 year term. For the same 100, I can finance a 4 kW system with Tesla and a 7 kW system with SunPower. I am looking to add more panels and the interest rate will be higher. Even so, it will be lower than 4.49%.

    Easy financing is key to quickly expanding residential solar. We need more panels, higher efficiency, at lower upfront and monthly cost. At this low rate, the solar financing rate is lower than my mortgage rate. Since the financing is a credit union, any extra money they get is used to benefit the credit union owners. SunPower did a great job partnering with Tech CU. Note: Once financing is set, you have 30 days with Tech CU to expand the amount of financing.

    Even though solar panels will reduce your overall energy expenditure, making you a better credit risk, the financial system will ding your credit for being another loan. It’s another way the current financial system works hand in hand to promote fossil fuel providers. Pick a financing company that wants to help solar and renewable energy grow.

    Miscellaneous. Score: 4.5 out of 5

    SunPower has partnered with 17 of the leading 20 homebuilders in California to incorporate solar efficiently into new homes, right from the blueprint. Their latest was Landsea Homes on March 1st. I look forward to seeing that program expand nationwide. It’s easier for people to add in solar as they are building a new house. Ford has partnered with Sunrun for home solar and EV charger installation. SunPower can grow solar relationships by working with other auto manufacturers.

    One thing I appreciate — SunPower makes it easy to expand solar or batteries with the existing system in the future.

    Batteries and virtual power plants are in early stages of expansion. If you want batteries, Tesla Powerwalls through SunPower will cost much more than Powerwalls directly from Tesla. SunPower’s own battery offering is based on LFP chemistry.

    Conclusion

    As I said at the beginning, I would highly recommend SunPower for your solar panels. I’ve been telling everyone in our community to take a look. I eagerly await their own battery offering in Texas.

    I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So.

    If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you! Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

    Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

    SunPower Reviews, Panels, and Installation

    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.

    With more than 30 years of experience in solar technology. SunPower has established itself as one of the leading companies in the industry. It has developed some of the most powerful and energy- efficient solar panels on the residential market, offering a fully customized solar system with in-house components. The result is a highly efficient system designed to operate at optimal production for decades. But does that mean SunPower is the best solar company for you?

    To help you with your decision-making process, we’ve conducted in-depth research on the company’s benefits, drawbacks, services, customer reviews, and more.

    Available in 50 states Has been in the industry since 1985 Provides its own monocrystalline solar panels

    Available in 23 states 25-year warranties for the product, labor, and inverter Power protection guarantee

    25-year workmanship and product warranty Perks for new construction homeowners Available in 20 states

    Benefits and Drawbacks of SunPower

    Benefits Drawbacks
    Offers some of the highest-efficiency solar panels in the solar industry today Doesn’t offer Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to residential customers
    Provides a 25-year comprehensive warranty offered for its panels and systems Limits solar system customization to SunPower products only
    Covers all 50 states

    SunPower Reviews

    Our analysis of SunPower customer reviews reveals that homeowners like the company’s high-quality equipment and excellent system output. Customers also think the sales representatives are helpful and knowledgeable. However, many people have faced issues with the customer service team. They mention communication issues, citing a lack of callbacks and follow-ups. We typically analyze Google Reviews for each company, but due to a limited number of reviews for SunPower. we analyzed reviews on Best Company instead. Read a sampling of what customers had to say below.

    “Their representative was the most knowledgeable of all of the people that I talked to and had come by and visited and he answered all of my questions, and I appreciated that. Also … it was all integrated, so if I have a problem with one thing, the same company would be able to take care of every aspect of it. I did have a problem with it: When it first came online, it was not reading right and in one phone call it was taken care of. They seem to have the best equipment out there—definitely not the cheapest but the best. The financing part went really smoothly.” —Terrance via Best Company

    “The panels that I got are absolutely fantastic. I’m producing more power than I consume right now, and it will help so much having these credits for when the summer really starts to crank up. The installers that came out were professional and courteous. The sales team was knowledgeable and professional as well. Every concern that I have had so far has been addressed quickly, except for one: The app doesn’t work properly. I have emailed about it and thus far only been given lip service as to it being fixed.” Michael W. via Best Company

    “This company is horrible and not responsive. Spent 55,000 on solar panels, they hooked them up wrong, and I’m not getting an advantage in having solar. Called and got nothing from them. Got an email that didn’t answer the issues with my system. DO NOT BUY.” —Brian P. via Best Company

    “We have been reaching out to SunPower every single day to get the system fixed. All they say is the scheduler will reach out to you, and that has never happened. We didn’t get notified of the system being down, and once we found out, we were assigned a person who never showed up. Very poor communication from them, and we are very frustrated.” —Devavrath via Best Company

    SunPower Overview

    SunPower has developed advanced solar technology since its founding in 1985. Over the years, it has produced some of the most efficient solar panels available. Though SunPower moved its panel manufacturing division into a separate company called Maxeon Solar Technologies in 2020, the panels remain optimized for SunPower systems. SunPower has also developed its own solar storage system and microinverter technology. The SunPower system is designed to work with each of the company’s custom products, creating a seamless solar power system designed to work at maximum efficiency. SunPower is available in all 50 states. However, its coverage varies by zip code. We recommend contacting SunPower directly to ensure your home is within its service area.

    SunPower Solar Panels: The Leading Option in the U.S. Solar Industry

    SunPower is one of the leading companies in the U.S. solar industry, with a history dating back more than 50 years ago. Photovoltaic (PV) products manufactured by SunPower are a byproduct of intense research, outstanding craftsmanship, and high-quality manufacturing processes that result in SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels that can retain around 92% of their DC power generation capacity in 25 years.

    Products manufactured by SunPower have a great performance, highly aesthetic designs, and long warranties extending up to 40 years in some cases. If you are looking to learn more about SunPower, how the company works, its technology, available products, and other interesting information about it, then this is the right article is for you.

    SunPower overview: History, subsidiaries, and technology

    The history of SunPower started in 1970, when Dr. Richard Swanson, the co-founder of the company, chose solar energy to deal with the oil crisis in the country. The company was finally created in 1985, as a result of two grants awarded by the Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Throughout its history, SunPower has heavily focused on research and adapting cutting-edge solar technology available in the industry, to create its outstanding products. As a result, SunPower has created world-record solar cells used in all types of applications like residential, commercial, utility-scale, and even special projects created by NASA.

    SunPower does not only provide high-quality PV products, but a complete range of energy solutions including generation, monitoring, control, and storage. The company is currently positioned as one of the leading solar companies in the U.S. solar industry.

    Understanding more about SunPower, how they work, and its technology will provide you with greater insight into the reach of the company and how its products might suit your needs.

    SunPower or Maxeon Solar: Who is who?

    SunPower was created as a U.S. solely based company, focusing on selling PV solutions only to the U.S., but this did not limit its reach. In 2020, Maxeon was created as a spin-off company of SunPower, allowing it to sell PV solutions to customers all over the world, by dealing with SunPower-branded products on an international scale, delivering solar energy solutions to Asia, Europe, and more than 100 countries all over the globe.

    Maxeon currently holds more than 1,000 solar patents and has achieved revenue surpassing 700 million by selling high-quality PV products all over the world. This company has partnered with over 1,400 solar sales and installers to extend its reach within different countries, granting homeowners across the globe the possibility to enjoy high-quality PV solutions with fully integrated solar energy systems.

    SunPower Technology

    SunPower high-efficiency solar panels are manufactured using some of the best monocrystalline silicon modules in the market. The company integrates this high-quality material with highly-developed solar cell structural designs like IBC solar cell technology and shingled technology to create their high-quality products.

    IBC Solar Cell Technology

    Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) solar cell technology is one of the most advanced and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies available for SunPower solar cells. The technology places solar energy conversion at the back of the cell, also relocating the electrodes at the rear side of it.

    Since IBC SunPower solar cells have relocated the frontal electrodes at the back, they feature a larger useful area for photons to impact, which results in the SunPower high-efficiency solar panels. IBC SunPower solar cells are up to 20% more efficient than Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact (PERC) solar panels.

    With this technology, SunPower has been able to create highly aesthetic solar panels with no visible contacts at the front, commonly known as the SunPower All Black solar panels. Installing these modules at homes or any other locations, will not disrupt the superiorly aesthetic aspect of the place while providing the capacity to generate solar power.

    Shingled Technology

    Shingled technology is one of the latest manufacturing methods for creating solar modules. By combining it with mono-PERC technology, SunPower has created the Maxeon Performance modules that can reach up to 625W in solar power generation with a single module, featuring a 21.2% conversion efficiency.

    SunPower Performance modules manufactured with shingled technology, are robust solar panels featuring resistance to thermal stress, humidity, and Potential Induced Degradation (PID). The circuitry design can also mitigate hotspots while increasing energy production under unfavorable conditions.

    Aside from increasing conversion efficiency by reducing whitespace between SunPower solar cells, Shingled technology increases flexibility for the modules, making them more durable and resistant.

    Are SunPower solar panels the right option for you?

    SunPower PV modules feature cutting-edge technology, outstanding performance, and superior aesthetics, making them ideal for practically any application, but especially for residential.

    SunPower solar panel price tends to have a slightly higher cost than traditional low- and mid-efficiency solar panels, but the high conversion efficiency, great durability, low power degradation, and long warranty, provide benefits surpassing the price difference between modules.

    SunPower has tailored-designed solar panels and other PV solutions, suited for residential, commercial, and utility-scale applications. SunPower products are the preferred option picked by many investors, project developers, electric utilities, homeowners, government entities, and retail businesses.

    If you are looking for extremely high-performance modules designed for the most demanding applications and featuring highly aesthetic designs, then SunPower panels are the right fit for you.

    SunPower products

    SunPower has a wide variety of PV solutions featuring different efficiencies, price range, estimate size, power rate, and other technical and visual variations. In this section, we will introduce each product series manufactured by SunPower.

    sunpower, reviews, panels, installation, panel, efficiency

    M Series

    The M series solar panels by SunPower, feature Maxeon Gen 6 patented solar cells that can deliver a great performance with module options ranging from 420W to 440W. M series modules are compatible with the SunPower Equinox Solar System and the mySunPower Monitoring system, featuring an AC microinverter that directly converts DC to AC at the output of the module.

    With a high conversion efficiency of 22.8%, M Series SunPower residential solar panels and commercial solar panels are placed among the most powerful AC coupled PV solutions in the market.

    A Series

    Coupled with powerful microinverters, A Series SunPower solar panels are among the first residential modules to have achieved a solar power generation capacity of 415W. A Series SunPower panels include high power output options going from 400W to 420W for SunPower residential solar panels, and 430W to 450W for SunPower commercial solar panels.

    Featuring a maximum conversion efficiency of 22.5% for the A series, these modules are among the best AC coupled solar panels, falling second only to the M series modules.

    X Series

    The X Series SunPower PV modules are an outstanding show of durability, performance, and low degradation over time. These modules are designed to achieve a conversion efficiency superior to the 22.0%, delivering more power and higher savings while requiring fewer modules installed on the roof.

    Featuring a power output of 360W for SunPower residential solar panels and 470W for the SunPower commercial solar panels, X Series SunPower solar panels are built over a solid metallic foundation, making them almost invulnerable to the corrosion and cracking of regular modules. These modules produce 60% more energy than conventional modules featuring the same size and they are covered by a 25-year warranty.

    E Series

    Customers who want to get affordable solar panels manufactured by SunPower will find the E Series to be the right fit for them. Power output for E Series modules includes options going from 320W to 327W for the SunPower residential solar panels, and one option of 435W for the SunPower commercial solar panels. E Series modules can achieve a maximum conversion efficiency of 20.4%, making them a great investment opportunity.

    E Series PV modules by SunPower feature a low power degradation over time and feature a 25-year warranty. Conventional modules retain 80% of their capacity after 10 years, while E Series SunPower panels retain a little less than 90% of their capacity at 25 years of operation.

    U Series. Equinox

    The U Series SunPower solar panels are the latest product from Sunpower. While little is known about these interesting new additions to the portfolio of PV modules manufactured by SunPower, they are revealed as the new addition to the SunPower Equinox System.

    The SunPower Equinox System is the best PV solution for homeowners and businesses who want to have complete control over their solar PV system with energy storage addition. This PV system seamlessly integrates AC SunPower high-efficiency solar panels featuring cutting-edge technology and superior aesthetics with invisible mounting, integrating the system with the EnergyLink Hardware and the EnergyLink software.

    SunPower vs. Other companies: Strengths ideal applications

    Over its more than 50 years of history, SunPower has delivered excellent results in the U.S. solar industry, positioning itself as one of the leading solar PV manufacturing companies in the country. SunPower is regularly compared to other world-leading solar companies like LG Solar, Jinko Solar, Canadian Solar, Q-Cell Solar, REC Solar, and other outstanding solar manufacturers in the industry.

    While SunPower has a premium price on its products, the high durability, higher efficiency, great performance, long-term warranty and low power degradation of their modules, make the investment in SunPower solar panel price totally worth it. over, while other brands compete with each other to provide the manufacture of the highest efficiency solar panels, SunPower has remained in the first position with the highest efficiency solar panels for several years.

    While in 2022 SunPower high-efficiency solar panels run at 22.6% efficiency, every year we get new innovations from this company that push that efficiency boundary a little higher and SunPower has managed to do that always on top of competition.

    Due to all these reasons, SunPower PV modules are probably the top-quality choice for homeowners who want to install robust solar panels with great performance and superior aesthetics.

    Understanding solar panel efficiency isn’t rocket science. except when it is

    Be honest—if your kid came home beaming with pride for getting a 20% on a spelling test, you’d be questioning their understanding of math (as well as language arts). Because 20% just doesn’t sound impressive. But what if your grade-schooler was being quizzed on a list of 500 doctoral-level vocabulary words? You may then be tempted to call Mensa.

    The same can be said of solar panel efficiency ratings. Once you understand what’s behind the grading system, where peak performers register percentages in the low 20s, you may have a better appreciation for the advances made in solar panel efficiency over time.

    How is solar panel efficiency measured?

    Simply put, solar panel efficiency is the ratio of energy from sunlight that a panel can transform into electricity. If you want to be a little more technical, here’s the formula:

    Even without plugging in any numbers, you can see that the more watts a photovoltaic (PV) cell can produce (using the same amount of sunlight), the more efficient a solar panel will be. This can be important when evaluating commercial solar panels, but we’ll cover that later. First, let’s start with a little history.

    A short history of solar cell technology

    Humans have been tapping the power of the sun for centuries. Magnifying glasses were used to concentrate the sun’s rays to ignite fires in the 7th century B.C., and architects throughout history have built structures with an eye toward the sky to capture as much radiant heat as possible. But it wasn’t until the 1800s when the PV revolution really kicked into high gear. Here are some highlights:

    • 1839: Edmund Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in France when he noticed the voltage between two metal electrodes in an electrically-conductive liquid increased when exposed to sunlight.
    • 1873: Willoughby Smith discovered that the element Selenium has photoconductive properties.
    • 1876:William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day created a selenium solar cell that produced electricity when exposed to light, proving that solid matter is capable of transforming light into electricity (less than 1% efficient).
    • 1932: The photovoltaic effect of cadmium sulfide was discovered by Audobert and Stora.
    • 1954: Bell Labs developed the first silicon photovoltaic cell capable of producing usable electricity, with an initial solar panel efficiency rate of 4%.
    • 1958: Hoffman Electronics created PV cells with 9% efficiency.
    • 1959: Hoffman Electronics followed up with 10% efficient cells.
    • 1960: Solar panel efficiency hit 14% by Hoffman Electronics.
    • 1985: A 20% efficiency level was reached for silicon solar cells.
    • 1994: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a solar cell that exceeded 30% conversion efficiency.
    • 1999: Spectorlab, Inc. and NREL developed a solar cell that was 32.3% efficient. (Three layers of photovoltaic material were combined into a single solar cell to achieve this level.)
    • 2012: Solar Frontier achieved 17.8% efficiency on thin-film PV.
    • 2015:SunPower recorded 22.8% efficiency for high-rate production commercial photovoltaic modules.
    • 2016: NREL and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) recorded 29.8% efficiency on a lab cell.
    • 2016: SunPower broke their previous world record for the highest-efficiency (24.1%) commercial solar panel using silicon cells.
    • 2019: EnergySage ranks SunPower #1 among the top 5 companies who produce the most efficient solar panels.

    The major take-away from this quick skip through time is that the history of solar panel efficiency shows impressive advances at first, but is now running up against the barriers of physics. Higher efficiencies require technologies that are harder to produce at scale at an agreeable cost. In other words, don’t expect any major jumps in efficiency for commercially-available solar panels any time soon.

    In fact, depending on which physicist you talk to, there is also a very real theoretical limit to how much efficiency is possible for commercially-viable modules. Most authorities put that upper cap at about 30%. For some perspective, the average commercial solar panels manufactured today (with a few exceptions) hit a range of 17% to 20%.

    Bottom line: While the future of solar technology is bright, advances will likely be modest for high-efficiency commercial solar panels.

    sunpower, reviews, panels, installation, panel, efficiency

    But records are made to be broken, right?

    Creating high-efficiency commercial solar panels that break records is a worthy goal. However, when you see claims of a new efficiency milestone being reached, be warned the results are often confined to the laboratory with no practical real-world applications on the horizon. The maximum efficiency number noted earlier is for something called “single junction cells.” These are your standard, mass-produced (and relatively-inexpensive) solar cells. When you see efficiency numbers climbing into the high 20s or beyond, be sure to read carefully. It usually means there’s some fancy tech going on that won’t likely hit the commercial market any time soon (if ever).

    There are some other processes that can produce greater solar efficiency rates that do offer real commercial potential. For example, layers of different materials can be sandwiched into a single cell to capture different light spectrums, resulting in greater efficiency (more light is captured). Another approach uses lenses to concentrate sunlight onto small, highly-efficient cells (more sunlight goes into the cell, so more energy is produced). These applications can vastly improve solar panel efficiency, but likely at a considerably higher cost. The added expense may be worth it if you’re trying to power an orbiting satellite—where size, weight and amount of power generated are key. For commercial solar power systems, however, they simply aren’t practical.

    Comparing efficiency ratings

    Now that you have a better understanding of what you’re looking at when you see a solar panel efficiency rating, here are a few other things to think about:

    • Not all solar cells are made the same. Seems obvious, but it’s worth noting. Take the industry-dominant silicon solar cell. Is it mono- or polycrystalline silicon? Monocrystalline silicon is purer and produces a more efficient solar panel; however, it is also more expensive to produce. For an interesting overview of the pros and cons of different types of solar panels, check out this article from Energy Informative.
    • Not all solar equipment providers readily offer up the efficiency of the panels they sell. It could be the company doesn’t want to provide the information if it doesn’t help sales. Or, they could actually believe that efficiency is not important. Having this information is required by law, so don’t hesitate to ask.

    So how important are efficiency ratings?

    Are efficiency ratings important if the differences are within a few percentage points? That depends who you ask.

    • Some argue that as solar cell costs go down and efficiency improves, it becomes less important because mounting hardware, inverters and other components of a solar power system have a bigger impact on the overall install.
    • Others counter that solar panel efficiency is important because more efficient solar panels can produce more power in the same amount of space. This is great for constrained areas or if you just want to get maximum output. It could also mean fewer solar modules to generate the energy you need, which can lead to lower installation costs and less preventative maintenance down the line.

    When you realize that commercial solar is a long-term commitment, it would be short-sighted to FOCUS solely on upfront costs. Considering solar panel efficiency ratings, as well as other aspects of your investment that could lead to the most savings over the life of your system, is not only important—it’s the Smart thing to do

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *