• When doing your solar research, you may come across Solaria solar panels. Founded in New Mexico in 2000, this company has been around for awhile and as a result many local solar companies install their panels. When comparing solar panels, you may consider installing Solaria panels as a cheaper alternative to a premium panel. Is this a wise decision? Well, if you’re looking for a higher efficiency panel that produces more power for longer, with a better warranty and backed by a solid company, SunPower panels are for you. Let’s look at the details of these facets to see just how much better SunPower panels actually are.

    Solaria Solar Panels Efficiencies

    Solaria has a variety of both commercial and residential solar panel models, but for the sake of this blog we will look at just the residential models.

  • Solaria Panel Model350R-DB355R-DB355R-PD360R-PD
    Max Power (Watts)350355355360
    Efficiency (%)19.419.619.619.9
  • So there efficiencies range from 19.4% for their 350 watt models, up to 19.9% for their 360 watt models. Let’s see how these compare with the top SunPower solar panel models.

    SunPower Solar Panel Efficiencies

    SunPower has a wide variety of solar panels options that range from 335 watts up to 425 watts. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular X and A Series SunPower Modules to see how they stack up against Solaria.

  • SunPower Panel Model355 BLK345400415425
    Max Power (Watts)335345400415425
    Efficiency (%)2121.521.522.322.8
  • So as you can see, the SunPower solar panels X and A series solar panels, even the lower wattage ones, have a higher efficiency than the most efficient Solaria panel. Even their 360 watt panel only comes in at 19.9% efficiency, compared to SunPower’s lower-wattage 335 model. Since these panels have a higher efficiency, they can produce more power with less roof space, so if you’re trying to maximize your roof space to produce the most power possible, you’ll want to choose SunPower panels.

    To visualize the difference between SunPower efficiencies, and Solaria efficiencies, see the chart below:

  • Power Guarantees

    Every solar panel naturally produces less power over time. This occurs for a number of reasons, but how much efficiency a panel loses a year is a big part of what determines its overall quality. Most solar companies have a power guarantee that is included in their product warranties, which guarantees that the panel will not lose more power production than a certain percentage over a 25-year period. Let’s look at the power guarantees of both Solaria and SunPower panels to see which warrants more production over time.

    Solaria Power Power Guarantee

    If you look at Solaria’s product warranty, you’ll find that they warrant that power degradation will not exceed 2% in the first year, and .5% every year after, ending with 86% in the 25th year after shipment. So that’s about a 14% power degradation over 25 years. That means that in the last few years of the warranty, the solar panel will be creating at least 10% less power than when they were originally bought.

    SunPower Power Guarantee

    If you take a look at SunPower’s product warranty, you’ll see that they warrant that their panels will not lose more than 0.25% efficiency every year. So that means at the end of 25 year warranty period, they panels will only lose 8% of their initial efficiency compared to Solaria’s 14%. So that means that SunPower panels lose 6% less efficiency than Solaria panels, and therefore will create a lot more power in the later years of the warranty. You can see here the difference:

  • So if you’re looking to get the most power out of your system, SunPower panels clearly produce more power for longer, especially the A-series, which produce almost 60% more energy at year 25 of operation than conventional panels.

    Solaria Vs. SunPower Warranty

    A warranty on your solar panels is extremely important as it determines how much you will be able to rely on your solar company to keep your system up and producing. One thing to be noted when talking about warranties is that with most solar companies, every part of the system - the panels, racking, monitoring, are under different warranties as most of the time, each of these elements are made by different companies. Installing Solaria would get you that. Yes, you would have a warranty on your Solaria panels, but not on any other elements of the system. With SunPower, every part of the system is warranted under one warranty. That’s because all the elements SunPower systems are made by SunPower - from the racking to the panels. So if any part of the system goes wrong, SunPower has your back. 

    The Solaria Warranty

    Let’s take a look at Solaria’s warranty to see what is included. Their product warranty is for 25 years from the date of shipment. That only includes the panels, and basically warrants that production will not decrease by more than 2% in the first year, and 0.5% in the years after.  If the efficiency drops below that, the company will come out and replace the panels. This warranty only covers the solar panels, and does not include the racking, microinverters, or any other part of the system. So if anything other than the panels malfunction, then it will not be covered under the warranty.

  • System PartPanelsWorksmanshipRackingMicroinverters
    Years Warranted25 years25 yearsN/AN/A
  • The SunPower Warranty

    As we have said, with the SunPower warranty, every aspect of the panels is covered by the warranty. For 25 years, the panels, microinverters, racking and power production are all covered. For 10 years, the monitoring hardware is covered. This coverage is among the most comprehensive in the industry, with a record breaking .25% a year power loss warranty, so if power degradation goes above that, SunPower will replace your panels. SunPower will also ship any new parts needed for replacing any damaged parts to this system for free.

  • System PartPanelsWorksmanshipRackingMicroinvertersYears Warranted
    25 years25 years25 years25 years
  • Company Health

    The other aspect of a warranty that needs to be considered when researching solar is the health of the company you are buying from - as a solar manufacturer that goes out of business cannot fulfill the stipulations of the warranty they sell. What we know about the solar business is that many companies, both manufacturers and installers, have come and gone since the beginning, and with the ups and downs in the industry that come with government incentives coming and going, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for that pattern. So choosing a manufacturer that will be in business that is financially healthy, and therefore will be in business for the long run, is now as important as ever.

    When you look at SunPower’s financial health, they have been on solid ground for quite a while. SunPower is a public company and its present market cap (value) is $1.9 billion with 6,600 employees. Also, while the company’s stock did bottom out around 2017, it has gone up over 100% in 2019 alone. So clearly, professional investors are optimistic about SunPower, and with their brand being internationally associated with quality and high efficiency, you can rest assured that they will be around for the long run.

    While it is hard to find financial information on Solaria as they are a private company, they did publish a press release recently that states that they are now subcontracting out the production of about half their panels to a Chinese company called Shingsung E&G’s. So Solaria as a manufacturer is now not even producing half of their panels. That is an indication that the company can not handle the scale of production required to keep up with the demand, which is an indicator of unhealthy financials and management.

    So as you can see, when comparing SunPower and Solaria solar panel systems, SunPower panels have better efficiency, less power degradation, and a better warranty that is backed by a healthier company. So homeowners who are looking to get the most power out of their roof for longer, and a system that has all elements of it warranted by a financially stable company, should choose SunPower. Contact us today if you’d like a quote on aSunPower system for your home.

     

  • About the Author

    Michael Powers

    http://www.terrawatts.com/

    Michael is one of the founding partners of SunPower by Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He is a certified practitioner and coach for TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic). He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.