Tesla vs. SunPower: Which One Is Better? (2023)

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Image by Woody Welch, courtesy SunPower

By Jesse Bratter, Content Director, Elemental Green

The future of solar energy is looking bright. In 2007, there wasn’t a single utility-scale solar plant in the United States. Today, there are more than 2,500, and over a million solar installations across the country. The rapid growth of solar energy—energy powered by the sun—has allowed systems costs to decrease and the number of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panel installations to rise in the residential arena. Going solar means monetary advantages like tax credits, increased home values and savings on utility bills. But making the switch has significant environmental benefits as well, including a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other dangerous pollutants.

While solar energy still only makes up 2.3% of the country’s renewable energy source, there are brands like SunPower and Tesla who are leading the charge toward bringing this type of renewable energy to the masses. From solar panels to entire solar roofs and storage components that harness energy, their options are plenty. We’ve done the research for you and are bringing you the variables you’ll want to know about when deciding what’s right for you.

(Video) Which Brand of Solar Panel is Best? - Tesla vs SunPower

Tesla vs. SunPower: Which One Is Better? (1)

SUNPOWER

SunPower is a pioneer in solar energy. It was co-founded in 1985 by Dr. Richard Swanson, whose research and curiosity would lead to grants from the Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy in the eighties. A few decades and over a billion solar cells later, the brand has become known for its high-efficiency PV technology and promises more solar power from fewer panels, counting among its clients Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, among others. Their solar technology has powered Solar Impulse 2 (the first airplane to fly around the world without fuel) and Grover (a NASA-generated robotic rover that explored Greenland).

Whereas solar energy systems by many other brands might combine parts made by separate manufacturers, the SunPower Equinox system comprised of components all designed to work together seamlessly by SunPower, including the panels, inverters, racking and monitoring. Under SunPower’s umbrella of offerings—the SunPower Equinox system for residential use, Helix system for commercial use, and the SunVault storage system—SunPower employs Maxeon solar panels, which contain solar cells that are built with a solid copper foundation, pure silicon and an unobstructed surface to capture light and produce up to 55% more energy in the same space over 25 years than conventional panels.¹ Each cell has a sleek black surface with zero grid lines and an anti-reflective coating. Because of how they’re constructed, the cells are prone to less corrosion and breakage than their counterparts, enabling them to last longer and stay stronger. Also of note, the microinverters that are integrated into each panel (as opposed to one inverter for the entire system) allow the power output to be maximized even in less desirable conditions like low light or partial shade.

SunPower offers the option to purchase, finance or lease your system, essentially paying a “utility bill” that gets you green energy. And, in an effort to approach sustainability from a 360-degree angle, they’re bringing solar energy education to students through the SunPower Horizons Program, among other initiatives.

TESLA

After establishing themselves in the electric car market, Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016, expanding its technology into the residential solar power arena. Today, it offers solar panels with proprietary hardware, custom-designed solar roofs with solar roof tiles, a Tesla Solar Inverter that converts sunlight-powered electricity into clean energy, and the Powerwall—a solar storage solution that expands the capacity of their solar systems. In line with Tesla’s fleet of electric vehicles, the design of Tesla’s solar panels and storage is sleek: The Powerwall is a white, minimalist rectangular case with the Tesla logo, and the panels—sealed to protect against leaks caused by rain, snow or ice—are all-black and have a low profile and fewer anchor points than other brands, keeping them un-cumbersome and close to the roof.

Tesla works with the city to obtain the proper permitting and handles the installation and powering-on process through your utility. They also offer the option to purchase, finance or enroll in a subscription. Tesla has deployed hundreds of Powerwalls and solar panels to aid in a number of clean energy initiatives, including former SolarCity nonprofit GivePower, which opened a water desalination plant in Africa in 2019. Tesla hopes that by driving one of its electric cars and using its solar power and storage solutions, that the brand is creating a holistic approach to energy independence.

(Video) Which Brand of Solar Panel is Best? Tesla vs. SunPower vs. LG

Tesla vs. SunPower: Which One Is Better? (2)

The cost of a home solar system can vary, even in the same city, due to a range of factors. These include the quality of the solar system, a household’s size and energy needs, local weather, and available roof space.

SunPower

SunPower has made a name for itself by selling the highest-efficiency solar panels available²—so well made that their performance outlasts many of their competitors. To help you understand the price of going solar in your area, we’ve analyzed SunPower price quotes, as well as gathered quotes by third-party sources for thousands of homeowners across the country³. In the United States, the cost of owning a 6kW solar system ranges from $12,025 to $54,720, or in other words, from $2.00 to $9.21 per watt, before considering the benefits of available tax credits and incentives. Whereas many other brands lose 19% of their original DC power output in 25 years, SunPower’s guarantee says their loss is only at 8% after that long. That’s why they offer a 25-year Complete Confidence Warrantyfor everything on the roof that covers repairs or replacement, with a 10-year warranty for monitoring hardware and SunVault Storage. SunPower offers a savings calculator where you can estimate how much their solar system can save you in electricity bills.

Tesla

Tesla touts itself as offering the lowest-costing solar panels in America. And to stand by that claim, they have a price-matching program where they review quotes from other providers and reevaluate your Tesla quote if your order meets a list of certain criteria. Their average costs for a 6kW solar panel system range from $14,940-$17,940 (before tax credits) according to Energy Sage and includes a 25-year Panel Performance Warranty and 10-year Comprehensive Warranty that covers your entire solar system including Powerwall, solar converter, and roof mounting and leaks. The solar roof tiles come with a 25-year warranty for the tiles, power, and weatherization.

Though seemingly a substantial investment up front, solar panels quickly pay for themselves after a few years, and you can then reap the benefits of significantly reduced electricity costs moving forward. And both SunPower and Tesla offer a virtual design studio so you can see what solar panels will look like on your home.

Imagine you just got back from an expensive trip to the grocery store and stocked your refrigerator with produce and meals to feed your family for the next week or two. Or maybe you’re streaming the latest series that everyone’s talking about and it’s just about to get to the most important plot twist. And all of a sudden, there’s a lightning storm and the power goes out. (Or there’s a grid failure like there was in New York City in 2019. Or rolling blackouts like there are in California when there’s risk of wildfire danger.) With a solar storage system, your solar panels can send the excess electricity they generate during the day to a solar battery, and that battery can then keep you running in the event of a power outage. It can also power your home once the sun goes down, or simply lessen the amount of electricity you pull from the grid during peak hours when electricity is most expensive.

(Video) 5 Things You NEED to Know Before Ordering Tesla Solar

SUNPOWER SUNVAULT

SunPower’s SunVault storage does just that. It comprises two parts—SunVault Battery and Hub+—designed with a contemporary aesthetic to be mounted on a wall inside or outside your home. When paired with the brand’s Equinox solar system, it offers a complete home solar and storage solution that is designed and warranted by a single company, mitigating parts comparability or repair confusion down the road. Their technology promises more charge cycles than conventional systems, allowing you to power more of your home during a power outage. Plus, SunVault lets you monitor your energy production and control how you’d like your stored energy to be used, right from your phone through the mySunPower app. Want to keep your appliances on? Done. The lights? Done. Maybe you have an electric vehicle you’ll need charged. You can change settings through your mobile app and consider it taken care of. The result is cleaner energy that can save you money and stress. In other words: no more navigating in the dark with a flashlight.

  • Rated Energy Capacity: 13 kWh (up to two SunVault batteries can be connected together, for a total of 26 kWh of storage)
  • Continuous Power: 6.8 kW
  • Energy Storage System Dimensions: 26” W x 63” H x 15” D
  • Hub+ Dimensions: 17” W x 46” H x 6” D (surface mount)
  • Seamless transition to backup and back to the grid
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, WiFi and cellular
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

TESLA POWERWALL

Tesla has also released its battery storage solution: the Powerwall. It too stores energy and can be used any time to reduce your reliance on the grid, in the evening, or during a power outage, offering a quieter, gasoline-free solution to a conventional generator. The clean energy you’ll produce with Tesla’s solar system minimizes your carbon footprint and allows you to monitor and manage your energy production and consumption through its mobile app. There are no exposed hot vents or wires (good news for children and pets), and the all-in-one water and weather-resistant product can be mounted indoors or out.

  • Energy Capacity: 13.5 kWh, up to 10 powerwalls
  • Power: 7kW peak / 5kW continuous; seamless backup transition; pure sine wave output
  • Size: 45.3” L x 29.6” W x 5.75” D
  • Weight: 251.3 lbs
  • Installation: Floor or wall mounted, indoors or outdoors
  • Warranty: 10 years

SunPower and Tesla retailers and installers are located across the United States. They have made it easy to check the availability of retailers in your area using handy search tools developed by both companies. Each enables you to type in your zip code on their websites (us.sunpower.com, and tesla.com) to locate a service near you.

In 2005, the government passed the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through the Energy Policy Act, offering homeowners a federal tax credit that could be applied, dollar for dollar, to their income tax (which, as opposed to a rebate that offers cash back, instead offsets what you might owe) for the purchase of a solar energy system for their residence in that same year. The percentage was set to decrease in increments and has been extended several times over the years. It was most recently set to expire in 2022. But in 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which extended the credit of 26% in 2021 and 2022, which means you can still take advantage of it by beginning construction before January 1, 2023. (It will decrease through 2026 thereafter.) Find out which tax credits (and additional incentives) you qualify for through the .

It’s difficult to say which provider is best, as there are so many variables that might make one a better option for each homeowner over another. Cost, technology, durability, longevity, social impact and more might affect your choices, not to mention your location, house needs and climate conditions. But we know one thing for sure: if you’re thinking about investing in solar energy for your home, there’s no better time than now.

¹SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (280 W multi, 17% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²), 8% more energy per watt (based on PVSim runs for avg US climate), 0.5%/yr slower degradation rate (Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018).

²Maxeon 370 W panel is 22.7% efficient. Based on a data sheet review of websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of June 2020.

(Video) We Installed Solar Panels! Why Didn't We Use Tesla?

³EnergySage: $16,860 average; Solar Reviews: $12,025 average; and SunPower and Dealers: $55,260-$14,940 full range.

FAQs

Why is SunPower the best? ›

SunPower is considered a high-end solar company because it offers the most efficient solar panels on the market. Those panels come with an increased price and SunPower runs more expensive than competitors. However, those competitors often can't match the lifespan and performance of SunPower.

Which solar company has the most efficient panels? ›

Best solar company overall

SunPower Solar takes the top spot on our best list thanks to its top-of-the-line solar panels and strong warranties. The solar panels SunPower offers have industry leading efficiency marks (22.8%) and a warranty that guarantees at least 92% production after 25 years.

Is SunPower good solar company? ›

SunPower has maintained a positive reputation over its more than 30 years in the industry. The company holds an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Why Tesla solar is so cheap? ›

How are Tesla's solar panels so cheap? Tesla's easy ordering process is one of the reasons they have such low prices. Their brand name recognition also helps a lot. Tesla doesn't have to do a whole lot of work to get people to their website.

Is SunPower worth the extra money? ›

SunPower comes at a premium price but offers excellent module quality and performance, as well as a top-notch warranty, and a reliable dealer network.

Does Apple use SunPower? ›

Apple's 17MW of SunPower

Apple's spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California, is adorned in SunPower solar panels, a testament to the company's pledge to power its facility with 100 percent renewable energy.

Should I buy SunPower? ›

SunPower Corporation - Sell

Valuation metrics show that SunPower Corporation may be overvalued. Its Value Score of F indicates it would be a bad pick for value investors. The financial health and growth prospects of SPWR, demonstrate its potential to underperform the market. It currently has a Growth Score of C.

What is the number 1 solar company in America? ›

The top five solar panel manufacturers in the U.S. are Hanwha Qcells, Jinko Solar, Silfab Solar, Mission Solar Energy, and Solaria. These companies produce high-performance solar panels for residential and commercial installations.

Are Tesla solar panels the most efficient? ›

Tesla S series solar panels have an efficiency of 19.3% to 19.8% while the H series panels have an efficiency between 20.1% to 20.6% which is mostly on par with other solar panel companies. Competitors ADT Solar and SunPower can claim efficiency of 20% or more.

Which solar panels are the most reliable? ›

Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.

How long will SunPower panels last? ›

The industry standard for most solar panels' lifespans is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation.

Is SunPower a Chinese company? ›

SunPower is an American provider of photovoltaic solar energy generation systems and battery energy storage products, primarily for residential customers. The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, was founded in 1985 by Richard Swanson, an electrical engineering professor from Stanford University.

Is SunPower going out of business? ›

SunPower will continue to be a distributed generation energy services company while their new company, Maxeon Solar Technologies (Maxeon Solar), will focus on the manufacturing of solar panels. Why the sudden split?

Who is the biggest solar company in the world? ›

List of Top 10 Solar Companies in the World
S. No.Solar CompanyCountry
1.Trina SolarChina
2.Canadian SolarCanada
3.Jinko SolarChina
4.JA SolarChina
6 more rows
25 Jun 2022

What is the most popular solar power? ›

The most common types of domestic solar panels are monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, and thin-film solar panels. There are additional types of solar panels on the market, however, these three are most commonly used for domestic purposes.

Who makes the most money in solar? ›

40 Solar Jobs Ranked by Median Annual Pay
Solar Job TitleMedian Annual Pay
1Lawyer With Solar Expertise$114,970
2Solar Project Developer$105,060
3Software Engineer$99,195
4Solar Energy Systems Designer$94,240
36 more rows

Why is my Tesla solar bill so high? ›

You may notice a higher bill in the summer when your solar system is producing the most energy. This energy is typically applied as a credit by your utility for usage later in the year. Tesla no longer provides this financing offering for new systems.

How long do Tesla solar panels last? ›

Your solar panels are guaranteed by their manufacturer to at least 80% of nameplate power capacity for at least 25 years.

Does Tesla solar increase home value? ›

Does solar add value to a home? Absolutely. Tesla Solar Roofs, in particular, are a great choice for energy-efficient savings, a lower carbon footprint, and a beautiful modern look. Installing one also increases the value of your property.

Does NASA use SunPower? ›

SunPower Maxeon have been selected by NASA to work alongside them in a number of projects, including experimental unmanned vehicles, solar-powered aircraft, solar generation at NASA facilities, and also for the Greenland Grover, cousin to the Mars rover, which was used to study the ice caps of Greenland.

How long is SunPower warranty? ›

SunPower offers the most comprehensive panel warranty in the solar industry. Coverage for defects related to workmanship and materials for 25 years. Hassle free repair, replacement or reimbursement for any defective panel.

Is SunPower a good long term investment? ›

Strong growth: Sunpower's growth is a strong point for the company, with expectations of +68% by 2024. Earnings are expected to increase: Analysts also expect the company's earnings to increase for both the current and future fiscal years.

Who is buying SunPower? ›

TotalEnergies is the majority shareholder of SunPower, a leading solar technology and energy services provider. This acquisition is another step in TotalEnergies' roadmap to develop its distributed generation business, currently accounting to close to 500 MW in operation worldwide.

What companies use SunPower? ›

Seven of the Top 10 companies with the most solar installed have SunPower® systems: Walmart (145 MW), Prologis (107.8 MW), Apple (93.9 MW), Costco (50.7 MW), Macy's (38.9 MW) and Hartz Mountain Industries (22.7 MW).

Will SunPower go up? ›

Stock Price Forecast

The 18 analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for SunPower Corp have a median target of 22.50, with a high estimate of 30.00 and a low estimate of 15.00. The median estimate represents a +28.50% increase from the last price of 17.51.

Is SunPower American made? ›

SunPower – San Jose, CA.

Does SunPower install Tesla powerwall? ›

SunPower Dealers are responsible for all integration and performance of systems incorporating Tesla Powerwall 2 AC and SunPower Equinox.

Does SunPower have a battery? ›

The SunPower SunVault offers one type of battery, the 13 kWh battery. You can install up to two if you need more backup power, giving you a maximum 26 kWh of energy capacity. The SunVault system includes the battery itself, as well as the Hub+.

How long is the wait for Tesla solar? ›

Depending on your location, the approval process typically takes one to six weeks.

Which company is best for solar rooftop? ›

Top 10 Rooftop Solar Installation Companies in India, 2022
  • Waaree Solar.
  • Tata Solar.
  • Mahindra Susten.
  • Sunsure Energy.
  • Fourth Partner Energy.
  • SURYA DAY PRIVATE LIMITED.
  • Orb Energy.
  • Vikram Solar.
21 May 2021

Who has the best power grid in the US? ›

Oregon ranks first in the nation for energy, as well as in the infrastructure category overall. Washington places second in this subcategory, followed by South Dakota, Montana and Iowa. Learn more about the Best States for energy below.

Which solar still is more efficient? ›

The overall daily productivity was improved by 47.96% for the hemispherical solar still compared to the single-slope solar still. The maximum daily energy efficiency of the single-slope solar still is 25.81%, and hemispherical solar still is 38.61%.

Do Tesla solar panels eliminate electric bill? ›

After Tesla installs your solar system, you will still be connected to the grid and have an account with your electric utility provider. Your rate plan may change post-installation as required by your utility provider. Solar can greatly reduce your electric bill, but you will often still have a residual bill.

What is the longest lasting solar panel? ›

Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.

Can you walk on SunPower solar panels? ›

This 110 watt monocrystalline solar panel uses premium PERC solar cells and will perform extremely well in both full and partial sun. It is built to withstand the harsh marine environment and is ideal mounting on a rigid boat surface. It is designed to be walked on.

How long does SunPower take to install? ›

Size and type of solar panel system

Most solar companies can install a rooftop residential solar panel installation in one to three days, depending on how many panels you're installing and how complicated the installation is.

What are the 2 main disadvantages to solar energy? ›

Solar Cons
  • Standard home solar does not “work” at night.
  • Home solar panels are not attractive.
  • DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
  • Not every roof configuration is ideal for maximum solar power generation.
  • Solar manufacturing is not good for the environment.

Why SunPower stock is falling? ›

A Wells Fargo analyst says a slowing housing market could crimp new solar sales. SunPower slid on Wednesday after shares of the solar panel company were initiated at Underweight by a Wells Fargo analyst who cited unsupportive U.S. solar policies and a slowing housing market.

Where are Tesla solar panels made? ›

In 2017, Tesla began production of solar cells and modules at Gigafactory 2 – a 1.2 million square-foot facility in Buffalo, New York.

Who is better sunrun or SunPower? ›

SunPower has overall higher quality solar panels than Sunrun. Thanks to its superior output ratings, efficiency ratings, and warranties, SunPower solar panels dramatically outperform Sunrun panels. The SunPower M Series solar panels are the best solar panels on the market today.

Which is the No 1 solar company in India? ›

Number 1 in this List is Tata Power Solar, a Leading Top 10 Solar Companies in India. As one of the Top and Best Solar Panel Manufacturer Company, Tata Power Solar manufactures solar modules, solar cells, Solar Home Lighting System and other solar products, and provides EPC services for solar power projects.

Which type of solar panel is best for home? ›

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most commonly used residential solar panel to date because of their power capacity and efficiency. Monocrystalline solar panels can reach efficiencies higher than 20%, making them the most efficient panel on the market.

Who is the biggest solar company? ›

Largest Solar Companies Research Summary

The largest solar company in the U.S. is NextEra Energy, with a revenue of $17.069 billion and an market share of 2.37%. As of 2022, the U.S. solar industry has a market size of $12 billion. U.S. jobs like Solar Technician will grow by 63% through 2028.

Who is the largest manufacturer of solar? ›

Trina Solar is a leading global solar panel manufacturer with over 25 years of experience in the industry. It is headquartered in China, with manufacturing facilities worldwide, including in Europe and the United States. Trina Solar has an annual capacity of over 100GW.

What are the top 5 solar panels? ›

Best solar panels for homes of 2022
  • Silfab: Our overall pick.
  • SunPower: Our pick for efficiency.
  • Panasonic: Our pick for premium panels.
  • LG: Our pick for accessibility.
  • Q Cells: Our pick for warranty options.
  • Canadian Solar: Our pick for affordability.
  • Trina Solar: Our pick for value panels.
12 Sept 2022

What are the most efficient solar panels 2022? ›

Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.

What type of solar panel lasts the longest? ›

Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.

Which solar panel is best for hot climate? ›

The top solar panel for hot climates is the SunPower X-Series panel. This solar panel has the following specs that make it a leader in hot climates: An industry-leading efficiency of 22.7% An annual efficiency loss of 0.25%

What are the 3 types of solar panels? ›

In this blog we will explore the main three types of solar panel cells: polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin-film.

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