SunPower provides above-average-efficiency solar panels, above-average warranty coverage and wide accessibility by accepting multiple payment options for its services.
SunPower is rather expensive, but we believe its industry-leading panel efficiency and quality make it well worth the investment for most Virginians.
Why We Chose SunPower as the Best National Provider
SunPower has a lot going for it, not the least of which is its best-in-class panels, which are now manufactured by its sister company, Maxeon. These panels have the highest efficiency rating of any residential solar panel, which is ideal for offsetting the above-average energy consumption in Virginia.
The company also has outstanding warranty coverage, which protects your panels, guarantees a minimum level of production and guarantees that the workmanship will hold up for 25 years each. We believe the workmanship warranty is highly beneficial in Virginia, as extreme weather like hurricanes and tropical storms can quickly expose issues that might arise from hiring a less experienced or qualified installer.
SunPower also accepts all of the four primary payment options, which means virtually all homeowners can afford to go solar through SunPower in Virginia. This is especially important in an area like Virginia, where the average cost to go solar is around $6,000 higher than the national average.
What We Don’t Like
SunPower equipment is quite expensive, coming in quite a bit above the local average on a per-watt basis. We do feel that the panels and services are worthwhile, but in an area like VA, where larger system requirements demand higher prices to begin with, we’d love to see lower pricing overall.
Additionally, SunPower only installs Maxeon panels and its own brand of batteries. We like to see companies being a bit more inclusive and offering products at both ends of the quality and cost spectrums. Still, Maxeon panels are the best in the industry, so this isn’t the end of the world.
Read our full review of SunPower for more information.
As mentioned already, SunPower only installs Maxeon panels. These have the highest efficiency and production capabilities of any panel on the market. They reach efficiency ratings of 22.8%, have great durability and have low temperature coefficients, which means they’ll lose less power capability in Virginia’s hot summers.
Below is a list of other pieces of equipment and some software options that are made available by SunPower:
- The SunVault, SunPower’s solar battery
- WallBox Pulsar electric vehicle (EV) chargers; this is a more popular option, given that EVs are becoming much more prevalent in Virginia
- The MySunPower app
SunPower is expensive, but it does keep its products and services widely accessible by entertaining all four of the primary solar payment options: cash, loans, leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
We recommend a cash purchase if you can make it work. This is the most beneficial option over time, although the high upfront costs — which are higher in VA than in most other states — can make this impractical.
A solar loan is your next best option, but the interest will push up your all-in system price and extend your panel payback period.
Leases and PPAs provide the fewest savings and don’t let you take the federal credit.
SunPower’s warranty coverage is robust and exactly what most Virginians should look for in a warranty package. The equipment, performance and workmanship warranties all last for 25 years for most panel models, although some push the coverage up to 40 years.
The labor warranty, which is 2.5x the industry average, is especially helpful in areas like Virginia, where extreme weather is common and can put photovoltaic (PV) systems at an increased risk of damage. The equipment warranty is average, and the performance warranty is five years longer than the industry average.
Click here for a free quote from SunPower.