With the countdown toward global climate goals, solar panels continue to rise in popularity as a game-changer for reducing carbon footprints and electricity bills. However, choosing the best solar panel setup requires research.
It is a delicate balance to see how much energy each panel can store with what they are made of — plus factoring in price. Demand is increasing competition, especially for brands like SunPower, who have to manage quality products with reasonable prices.
A Comparison of SunPower With Other Systems
Compared to competitors like ADT Solar and Momentum, SunPower is one of the oldest members of the solar panel market. Their tenure has garnered a reputation, having a price tag reflective of that standing — though they don’t publicize the exact dollar amount.
Most solar panel companies charge per watt, averaging between $0.90 and $1.50, depending on the material and installation location. Manufacturers can also reduce or inflate prices to their liking — this makes blanket pricing for solar panels almost impossible, given the number of variables.
SunPower suggests estimating between $2.23 and $9.22 per watt to leave plenty of room for those variables to fluctuate. However, it could cost similarly to other installers with available tax incentives. This must consider geographic location and how much sun exposure your home has.
Answering how SunPower compares to other companies in price is complicated. Despite the apparent price differences, that only accounts for the solar panels. The cost of solar panels encompasses much more, no matter the company.
How does SunPower’s total installation cost compare to what you would get at other companies? What do they offer in their solar packages?
An Analysis of Specs Against Cost
When considering extra costs lumped with installation — including overhead, taxes and potential inspection, among other expenses — the watt-per-hour price seems exorbitant. However, it does not affect the overall price much. Over half of the cost of solar panels is everything but the actual panels.
When purchasing SunPower panels, you aren’t buying just rooftop panels — in fact, you can’t. Costs include:
- Hardware, including the panels with SunPower microinverters that improve performance in low-light conditions
- Software, like monitoring
- Mounting materials
- Wires and cables
- Installation from an approved installer
Some companies may even charge for estimates or consultations — though some like SunPower do not — if you want an evaluation before committing anything financially.
The benefit of consults is they can advise how many panels are necessary based on energy usage and how beneficial they will be based on the placement of the home. Additionally, many charge different rates for the types of solar panels — monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film — and the discussion of what best suits you can happen during consults, too.
Comparing less expensive competitors like ADT Solar and Momentum to SunPower could make decision-making more interesting. SunPower installers must be trained via the company and operate independently, so service quality and area can vary.
ADT Solar has a wide range of services with cheaper services altogether. However, their payment options are fewer — SunPower offers leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) on top of loans and cash. Any solar panel company offering PPAs has a competitive advantage because of how much freedom it gives upfront to those making the renewable transition.
Momentum has the advantage of having expert representatives that provide a one-to-one concierge-style communication line, offering a perspective that rivals SunPower’s veteran status. However, despite the competitive price, their availability is slim to select states and service offerings.
Read More: SunPower Installers: What You Need to Know
A Benefit of Spending More
To justify SunPower’s solar panel cost, here are some considerations that may determine why it is better to invest now to reap benefits later. The first is SunPower’s long list of certifications, including:
- North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
- Cradle to Cradle Sustainability
- Solar Energy Industries Association
- ISO 9001
Third-party accreditations are one of the most significant competitive advantages in sustainability. It demonstrates confidence across multiple environmental realms and perspectives against different criteria depending on each organization. The more these certifications stack, the more it illustrates how widely a company has prioritized a more comprehensive approach to sustainability.
The benefit of SunPower panels is they can fit on most sized rooftops no matter what they are made from, even if you are working with limited surface area. Alongside the high price is a 25-year warranty most competitors do not offer — primarily since it is for every aspect of the panel, not just individual parts like the battery. Companies like ADT offer 25-year warranties, but they differ for every part of the panel system.
Spending more on panels also yields greater durability, reliability and efficiency, especially if you choose monocrystalline, which is known to be the best at transforming energy. However, they are complicated to manufacture compared to other forms since they are made of a single piece of silicon crystal. But paying more for that material yields better performance and more durable panels.
SunPower Solar Panels Are Competitive
Comparing costs and specs of solar panels is a juggle of personal, corporate and governmental factors. Analyzing every aspect from start to finish — including rooftop size, sun exposure, local and federal tax credits, solar panel materials and what company offers the best high-quality deal — is a great effort.
However, this is all to ensure a cleaner planet. Whether you choose SunPower solar panels or any other brand, the price equates to investing in a more sustainable future.