SunPower solar panel review

 

"SunPower to to sell more assets to avoid bankcruptcy 2018"
"SunPower issues liquidity warning, losses through 2019"
"SunPower might survive, but barely"

 

These are all extracts from a Google search about SunPower's financial situation.

 

Today, I wake up (14th November 2019) to read that SunPower will stop manufacturing panels and a new company called Maxeon, part Chinese owned has been created to manufacture SunPower panels instead.

 

Financial problems aside, SunPower are legendary in the  solar panel business. An American company, now largely owned by a French Oil giant (Total) who have made products of unique design and to the highest quality. Not surprisingly they were first to offer a full 25 years parts and labour warranty and by all reports their 'N' type celled Maxeon range have a failure rate of just 37 panels per million made.

 

Perhaps bowing to pressure to release a more competitively priced panel, SunPower started making the 'P' type celled 'P19s' in China, and a fine-looking panel it is too, but not in the same league as the Maxeons.

 

What the future holds for SunPower, or the new spin off, based in Singapore that is now going to be making them is unknown, but they had to do something to get back into the black so we wish them well. In a sea of perfectly good but boringly identical panels, SunPower have always stood out as something different, something better.

 

If you are put off by all the changes and are looking at alternatives to SunPower panels then there are plenty that stack up as well, and often better than the P19 model because technically, there isn't anything special about the P19s apart from super model looks.

You could really buy almost anything else and get the same result, but if you want a 25 year defect warranty then Q.Cells Duo and Maxx and REC TwinPeak and NPeak are good alternatives.

However if you want alternatives to the SunPower Maxeon range, then LG NeOn2 and LG NeOn R models are closest.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks about many of these top end panels is that they often don't "fit" our unique rules in Australia and WA in particular.

In WA we are limited to a 5kW inverter and 6.66kW of panels if you want to be eligible for the feed in tariff.

As an example, the LG Neon R is currently a 370W panel. Divide that into 6.66kW and you get 17.83 panels. Well you can't have 0.83 of a panel so it must be 17.

17 x 370W = 6.29kW. That's 5.5% LESS than you are allowed and can get from other panels that are "right-sized" and as a result, whatever gains you might make from lower cell rate degredation are given up by being the wrong size.

The SunPower Maxeon 2 is currently a 360W panel. Similar problem as the LGs, you end up with 6.48kW, a loss of 2.7%.

 

Datasheets

SunPower P19

SunPower Maxeon 2

SunPower Maxeon 3