Below I will review our SunPower solar panels that we have on our roof here in Texas, over 3 months since they were first installed on Twosday. I will go over overall processing time, installation quality, financing, application and other factors. For each factor, I will rate SunPower from 0 to 5, with 0 being the worst and 5 being the best for each factor. Overall, I gave SunPower a rating 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 falling into oblivion due to Russian aggression. Anything we can do to reduce funding for this murderous regime is in the best interests of the world. Solar panels are great for avoiding burning coal and natural gas, saving tons of CO2 every year and dramatically reducing your annual electricity costs. I own nominal amounts of stock in Ford, SunPower, Sunrun and Tesla.
Average term — 5 months. Rating: 3 out of 5
This is the lowest rated area for SunPower. Due to some direct errors, our average lead time (the time from the start of the process to the end) took 5 months. The main factor here was Home Owners Association (HOA) approval, which took 3 months, from October to January. I have given SunPower Power of Attorney to negotiate and submit the necessary documentation for our solar panels on our behalf. The first time they submitted the documents wrongly and incompletely. By the time they figured out what was wrong with the HOA advice, two months had passed. If you are looking for solar panels and you have an HOA, get the necessary documents from the HOA and submit them yourself. Our architectural review committee meets once a month. If something goes wrong, we have to wait another month. Texas efficiency at its finest (sarcasm). Not everyone will be as patient as me to get solar panels. A neighbor in the community installed panels on his roof in 2 months, start to finish, using Tesla.
Average cycle time — 3-4 weeks. Rating: 5 out of 5
Once we had HOA approval in hand, SunPower was able to schedule the installation of the panel within 3-4 weeks. That sounds reasonable, and that’s why I gave SunPower 5 out of 5.
Panel installation time — 3 hours. Rating: 5 out of 5
22 solar panels were installed on my south facing roof in 3 hours. This includes running the wiring through the attic, through my gutter, and next to the electrical box. Another person came a few days later, 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 an extra 1 hour. States can do much better to facilitate the approval of solar energy. It shouldn’t take longer to get approval than it does to install.
It took 1 month after installing the solar panels for my utility to install the two way 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, then they installed the two way meter the next day. The power was cut for 5 minutes and the new two-way 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 have not configured the two-way meter, the panels provide power to your home. You simply won’t get any credit for what you send back to the network.
App quality. Rating: 4 out of 5
The app has good features and has so much potential. If you have a battery, you can see real-time power flows between your home, battery, solar, and grid. I recommend SunPower do the same if you only have solar power. 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 one day late. SunPower has a real opportunity to simplify the user experience.
Features of the app that I like: real-time power reading, energy production every 15 minutes, as well as energy and power produced in a day, a month, a year, a lifetime and personalized. I really like seeing how much CO2 we’ve saved, the equivalent of trees planted, miles not driven and gas saved. I would like to see how much water is saved with solar panels.
The customer service phone number and email are easy to find. The app tells you the size of the system. It didn’t work during my time with the app. I spoke with Sanah about the issue last week. Sanah works in SunPower’s public relations department. She said she would tell their engineers about it and fix it.
Note: From envelope saving calculations, any decent sized solar panel system will save more CO2 for less cost than most mid-range and high-end EVs. Exceptions where an electric vehicle may make more sense to offset CO2 are if you drive a ton every year or if your state’s grid is heavily dependent on coal for electricity (cough cough, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky) . I asked Sanah if SunPower could include CO2 calculations in the app, for data enthusiasts like me. Solar panels > EV for most of us, regarding CO2 savings. Special thanks to sri for the discussion.
Professionalism. Rating: 5 out of 5
Customer service. Rating: 4 out of 5
I contacted SunPower customer service once via email after installation due to perceived low power output. They responded within 2 days and said everything was fine. Sanah told me that new CEO Peter Faricy, who has a long history at Amazon, has made improving customer service SunPower’s number one goal going forward.
Quality. Rating: 5 out of 5
As you can see from the photos, I am very satisfied with the quality. The panels look good, the installation is clean, everything is well done.
Funding. Rating: 6 out of 5
Tesla’s funding is now 4.49%, down 10%, and over 10 years. SunPower partnered me with Tech CU in California. They offered me 1.99%, 0% down payment and a term of 25 years. For the same $100 I can finance a 4kW system with Tesla and a 7kW system with SunPower. I am looking to add more panels and the interest rate will be higher. Even so, it will be less than 4.49%.
Easy financing is essential for rapid development of residential solar energy. We need more panels, higher efficiency, at a lower initial 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 owners of the credit union. SunPower has done a great job partnering with Tech CU. Note: Once funding is set, you have 30 days with Tech CU to increase the funding amount.
Even though solar panels will reduce your overall energy expenses, which will increase your credit risk, the financial system will reduce your credit to be another loan. This is another way the current financial system works hand in hand to promote fossil fuel suppliers. Choose a finance company that wants to contribute to the growth of solar and renewable energy.
Various. Rating: 4.5 out of 5
SunPower has partnered with 17 of California’s top 20 homebuilders to efficiently integrate solar power into new homes, right from the master plan. Their latest was Landsea Homes on March 1. I look forward to seeing this program expand nationally. It is easier for people to add solar power when building a new house. Ford has partnered with Sunrun for the installation of solar and electric home chargers. SunPower can expand its solar relationships by working with other automakers.
One thing I appreciate – SunPower makes it easy to expand solar or battery power with the existing system in the future.
Batteries and virtual power plants are in the early stages of expansion. If you want batteries, Tesla Powerwalls through SunPower will cost a lot more than Powerwalls directly from Tesla. SunPower’s battery offering is based on LFP chemistry.
As I said at the beginning, I would highly recommend SunPower for your solar panels. I told everyone in our community to take a look. I look forward to their own supply of batteries in Texas.
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