With the rise in popularity of renewable energy solutions, it’s no surprise that Australians are looking to make the switch to solar power. But choosing the right solar panels for your home or business can be tricky, and there are many factors to consider.
When looking to invest in a solar energy system, people search for solar panels that offer high efficiency rates, proven results, and the guarantee of a quick return on investment.
One of the global front-runners for solar PV technology is SunPower, and if you’re looking into solar panels, you’ve probably heard of them. But how do their panels stand up to the test in Australia? How reliable are their products in Queensland weather?
In this evaluation, we will assess SunPower modules based on our standards for high-quality solar panels:
- Design and Performance
- Solar Panel Warranty Periods
- Longevity in the Market
- Ongoing Service and Support within Australia
SUNPOWER: AN OVERVIEW
Founded in 1985, SunPower has been committed to producing high-quality solar panels that are both efficient and durable. Becoming one of the leading producers of photovoltaic (PV) modules, SunPower panels are used in homes, businesses and utility-scale solar projects around the world.
With a global sales network spanning over 100+ countries, SunPower is known for providing efficient, durable and sustainable energy solutions around the world. SunPower has built a strong reputation for top tier solar modules and solutions.
SunPower is committed to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. The American company uses sustainable materials in its panels and manufacturing processes, and it is continually working to reduce its carbon footprint.
DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE
SunPower is leading the PV manufacturing industry with their incredibly high efficiency ratings. Select SunPower solar panels can achieve an efficiency rating of up to 23.7%, which is some of the highest ratings available on the market.
SunPower panels convert a higher percentage of sunlight into usable electricity in comparison to the industry average (typically 15-18%). This means that SunPower panels can generate more electricity with fewer panels, which can save home and business owners money upfront and over the long term. With rising energy costs, return on investment is important to consider when selecting solar panels.
In addition to their high efficiency and performance, SunPower panels are well-known for their durability. Made with high-quality materials and tested to withstand even the harshest weather conditions, SunPower panels are made to last. This is extremely important when it comes to choosing the right panels for Queensland rooftops.
Queenslanders know our seasons hold intense weather cycles, from dry, hot summer days, to flash floods and hail storms in spring. On top of this, coastal properties have to battle salt erosion and inland homes endure dust erosion… it’s fair to say that Queensland provides vast and harsh weather conditions.
Considering this, it is crucial for Queenslanders to ensure the durability of their solar panels. SunPower’s extensive product testing and unwavering commitment to producing resilient and dependable solar panels demonstrate their capability to thrive on Queensland residences. We confidently affirm that these panels not only function effectively but also maintain their performance over the years, surpassing the degradation commonly observed in industry-standard panels.
While most other panels typically have a degradation rate of approximately 0.75% per year, SunPower Maxeon panels have been proven to degrade at only 0.2% per year, just less than a third of the rate of its competitors. (Jordan, et al, “Robust PV Degradation Methodology Application” PVSC 2018 and “Compendium of Photovoltaic Degradation Rates” PiP 2016).
To put that into a real world perspective, SunPower solar panels are set to provide up to 25% more energy in their first year of operation than their competitors. By their 25th year of operation, that advantage grows to roughly 45% more energy production. Therefore, you can expect an approximate average of 35% more energy across the modules’ lifespan compared to other panels in the industry. (SunPower, 2023).
Solar Cell Design
This impressive advantage is the result of their patented solar cell design. The SunPower Maxeon cells are the lifeblood of the SunPower panels, and are created uniquely to serve as the foundation for their top tier solar panels. Conventional solar cells are composed of a silicon wafer that reside on a thin layer of paste made up of silver and aluminium, which provides little support to the thin silicon wafer.
In comparison, SunPower’s Maxeon cells are built on a solid copper foundation. This foundation provides solid support to the silicon wafer and is the key to the SunPower cell’s protection against degradation and damages.
SunPower solar panels also boast an appealing design to complement their impressive functionality. The SunPower Performance Range has a sleek black design that blends seamlessly into rooftops. SunPower panels are an ideal choice for homeowners who want to harness solar power without compromising their home's aesthetics.
Overall, SunPower modules are known for their class-leading efficiency and top-of-the-range panels in terms of high-performing cells, maximum efficiency, and superior design. Their technology significantly reduces cell degradation with efficiency reported to still reach 88.3% even in its 40th year.
SOLAR PANEL WARRANTY PERIODS
The protection of your investment is an integral consideration when choosing your solar system components, which is why we always recommend components with at least a 15-year warranty. A long-term warranty period is a good indicator of the quality of support you’ll receive from the manufacturer as well as the quality of a solar panel or component.
SunPower takes the cake for their comprehensive warranty periods. On their two most popular solar panel ranges they offer the following warranty periods:
- SunPower Performance Panel Range: 25-year product warranty
- SunPower Maxeon Panel Range: 40-year product warranty
The SunPower Maxeon solar panel warranty is industry-leading. There are few competitors who can match SunPower’s comprehensive 40-year product warranty.
SunPower’s 40-year ‘Complete Confidence’ warranty is backed by field-testing data. Their warranty promises a decrease in power of no more than 0.25% per year.
This is backed by a study of more than 230MW across 149 actual global sites using a methodology developed in collaboration with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in America.
SunPower Maxeon 3 400W Solar Panels Installed on New Farm Home
LONGEVITY IN THE MARKET
With an outstanding 35 years in the solar industry, SunPower has established a highly regarded reputation amongst solar energy providers. Their long-running career and knowledge of the industry has created a strong foundation for them to manufacture some of the highest quality products on the market.
SunPower has received recognition from leading industry analysts such as Bloomberg and PV Evolution Labs. They are considered a Tier 1 solar module manufacturer, meaning that they are one of the top manufacturers in terms of performance and bankability.
They are also ranked as a PV Evolution Labs Top Performer across 5 of the 6 annual tests completed for the rankings. PV Evolution Labs is an independent solar panel reliability testing company and the tests for the rankings are completed voluntarily.
ONGOING SERVICE AND SUPPORT WITHIN AUSTRALIA
With a dedicated Australian support team in Elsternwick, Victoria, SunPower has on-the-ground assistance for Australian customers. They are able to ensure reliable and efficient warranty or replacement services Australia-wide.
Hand-in-hand with a good installer who will also service and support your warranty requests, you’re guaranteed to run into as few issues as possible down the line. Springers Solar has been operating for over 21 years and as one of Queensland’s longest-serving solar installers, we have established solid relationships with our suppliers, including SunPower, to ensure that our customers receive the best after-sales support possible.
Springers Solar’s after-sales support team is Brisbane-based, and offers ongoing support for all our Springers Solar customers.
THE SUSTAINABILITY BONUS
In addition to the many benefits of the SunPower solar panels and their fulfilment of our standards for high-quality solar panels, SunPower also boasts a strong sustainability focus that goes beyond being in the renewable energy industry.
SunPower Maxeon panels were the first solar panels to disclose their ingredients through the Declare Label. The Declare Label is a platform created to guarantee complete transparency about building materials and exactly what goes into them.
This information is available for all Maxeon 2 and Maxeon 3 panels, meaning that you can know exactly what your solar panels are made of and where those ingredients were sourced. This provides transparency on SunPower’s ethical trading and allows customers peace of mind in terms of supporting ethical operations.
On top of this, in March 2020, SunPower’s manufacturing facility in Mexicali, Mexico was re-certified by NSF Sustainability (National Science Foundation) as a Zero Waste to Landfill facility, and currently remains the only solar panel manufacturing facility to achieve this.
This certification means that the manufacturing facility is able to divert more than 99% of its waste, with less than 1% of their waste going towards landfill.
In conclusion, SunPower solar panels are one of the top choices for homeowners seeking to switch to solar energy. Their high efficiency, durability, aesthetics, and eco-friendliness make them a worthwhile investment for your home.
Decided you'd like SunPower installed on your roof? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote from our expert Brisbane team.
Springers Solar | Queensland's Most Experienced Solar Installer
Springers Solar provides quality components with proven performance, backed by industry-leading warranties, and dedicated after-sales support. Thousands of satisfied customers over more than 21 years of operation make Springers Solar one of the most established and experienced solar companies in Australia.
Springers Solar has received multiple awards for design and installation and is a certified/preferred installer for a large range of solar panel, inverter, and solar battery manufacturers, including Tesla, REC, and SolarEdge.
Our dedicated in-house team of electrical engineers, project managers, solar PV designers, solar installers and electricians work closely with you before, during, and long after your project is completed. Springers Solar offers an industry-leading 10-year workmanship warranty which is a testament to our qualified staff and offers you outstanding value and peace of mind.
Visit our About Us page here!