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Ordering Soon - SunPower or Tesla?

travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,774
1,398
Marble Falls, TX
Hi all, we are getting ready to order solar and storage preferably with it. Question is that as we get closer, we are hearing/seeing that SunPower has much more efficient panels, and the warranty is like 92% guaranteed production after 25 years, with a 20+ year warranty versus Teslas like 80% or so production, and a 10 year warranty on system components.

Has anyone went SunPower route instead, and our priced out a system with them?

Did anyone go with the SunVault battery product? Seems like it is more $$$ for less storage.

Overall, you can't get prices as easily as with Tesla, so was hoping for some roundabout 1) estimates, 2) feedback on SP versus Tesla overall if thinking long-term, and plan on staying in house long-term.

Thanks!
 

SolarGardener

Member
May 19, 2021
15
7
Dallas, TX
I obtained quotes from Tesla, SunPower, and various local providers. SunPower's quote was the highest at $3.46/W, compared to $2.01 from Tesla (other local providers were somewhere in between).

SunPower offered me an additional discount if I paid in cash (no loan) which brought their price down to $3.08, but that's about it. When I told them I had better quotes, they simply said "ok" and gave up on trying to sell me anything.

I ran the math, and the higher guaranteed production did not come anywhere near to offsetting the 53% premium over Tesla.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,191
1,596
East Bay NorCal
I obtained quotes from Tesla, SunPower, and various local providers. SunPower's quote was the highest at $3.46/W, compared to $2.01 from Tesla (other local providers were somewhere in between).

SunPower offered me an additional discount if I paid in cash (no loan) which brought their price down to $3.08, but that's about it. When I told them I had better quotes, they simply said "ok" and gave up on trying to sell me anything.

I ran the math, and the higher guaranteed production did not come anywhere near to offsetting the 53% premium over Tesla.

That was my experience as well. Their pricing was super high with no budging. And they could only do a single powerwall with no time of use shifting. They also wouldn’t do stand off + flashing on my tile roof... only hooks.

But we all know Tesla is doing cutthroat pricing and basically trying to wipe out the completion. And the Tesla service suffers as a result of their razor thin margins. So just buying on price alone could bite you on the back end.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
How do you mean that you can't get prices as easily with Tesla? For the panels, you should be able to go to the website, select a size, and get the number. The cost (outside parts of CA, it seems, where it is higher) is $8200 per 12 (340w) panels, or about $683 each (before incentives.) PW costs vary based on the number selected, but the site lists those prices. Unless there is additional electrical work necessary (like replacing the main panel) beyond the install, the price you pay should match the website. Getting specific designs may be more difficult, but the base pricing should be fixed.

On the warranty, note that the battery warranty on both appears to be 10 years (having just looked it up.) SP may have better warranties on some electronics, which is a definite advantage, though depending on which ones (as they also exclude some of their equipment,) the actual value of the warranty may not be huge relative to Tesla's.

When you say more efficient panels, are you indicating that they generate more wattage from a given area, or are you just referring to them being higher quality (and thus lower degradation?) For the former, this might be a benefit if you are trying to maximize coverage on your roof, though the size of panels means this will often come down to the exact size of the panels and roof shape. For the latter, there are two things to consider. First, if it is a specific goal to offset all usage, the 80% number could be a concern. But, if the goal is more about savings, then the numbers you presented suggest in the area of maybe an 8% or so difference in total generation over 25 years (assuming the Tesla panels have a near-immediate loss of a few percent.) So, that can just be factored in to the relative pricing.

As noted by others, you will likely pay more with SP for these benefits. And, you will potentially get better service as well (only based on Tesla's being so poor.) It will be up to you to determine how much that is worth.
 
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travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,774
1,398
Marble Falls, TX
How do you mean that you can't get prices as easily with Tesla? For the panels, you should be able to go to the website, select a size, and get the number. The cost (outside parts of CA, it seems, where it is higher) is $8200 per 12 (340w) panels, or about $683 each (before incentives.) PW costs vary based on the number selected, but the site lists those prices. Unless there is additional electrical work necessary (like replacing the main panel) beyond the install, the price you pay should match the website. Getting specific designs may be more difficult, but the base pricing should be fixed.

On the warranty, note that the battery warranty on both appears to be 10 years (having just looked it up.) SP may have better warranties on some electronics, which is a definite advantage, though depending on which ones (as they also exclude some of their equipment,) the actual value of the warranty may not be huge relative to Tesla's.

When you say more efficient panels, are you indicating that they generate more wattage from a given area, or are you just referring to them being higher quality (and thus lower degradation?) For the former, this might be a benefit if you are trying to maximize coverage on your roof, though the size of panels means this will often come down to the exact size of the panels and roof shape. For the latter, there are two things to consider. First, if it is a specific goal to offset all usage, the 80% number could be a concern. But, if the goal is more about savings, then the numbers you presented suggest in the area of maybe an 8% or so difference in total generation over 25 years (assuming the Tesla panels have a near-immediate loss of a few percent.) So, that can just be factored in to the relative pricing.

As noted by others, you will likely pay more with SP for these benefits. And, you will potentially get better service as well (only based on Tesla's being so poor.) It will be up to you to determine how much that is worth.
Sorry, I should have said “as easily as Tesla”. Definitely priced out a Tesla system. Sun power is not nearly as transparent on pricing at first.
Thanks for the good feedback on panels. Yes, the higher 425 watt Equinox panels come at a premium over Tesla for sure, and would save roof space (we have a complicated custom roof) but at least we have a large 4000 sq foot 1 story ranch so decent amount of space if needed.
Thanks for the thoughts on total generation - ultimately the ROI on this is key, but also the backup factor is a major factor for us as we want to be able to be off grid easily, we generate our own water supply, etc.

Appreciate it.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
Sorry, I should have said “as easily as Tesla”. Definitely priced out a Tesla system. Sun power is not nearly as transparent on pricing at first.
Thanks for the good feedback on panels. Yes, the higher 425 watt Equinox panels come at a premium over Tesla for sure, and would save roof space (we have a complicated custom roof) but at least we have a large 4000 sq foot 1 story ranch so decent amount of space if needed.
Thanks for the thoughts on total generation - ultimately the ROI on this is key, but also the backup factor is a major factor for us as we want to be able to be off grid easily, we generate our own water supply, etc.

Appreciate it.
Sorry - misread as what you said originally makes sense. As far as the panels, some of it really could come down to exact layout as to which fits better. I would guess if you are willing to put the time in to prod Tesla along (and don't consider the cost of your time as part of the ROI) Tesla's numbers will work out better on the solar.

As far as backup goes, one area I do think Tesla has a clear advantage in is the Powerwalls. While more competitors are rolling out and improving their offerings, PWs still seem to be the gold standard for residential-scale battery backup, both for hardware and software.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,006
650
auburn, ca
Sorry, I should have said “as easily as Tesla”. Definitely priced out a Tesla system. Sun power is not nearly as transparent on pricing at first.
Thanks for the good feedback on panels. Yes, the higher 425 watt Equinox panels come at a premium over Tesla for sure, and would save roof space (we have a complicated custom roof) but at least we have a large 4000 sq foot 1 story ranch so decent amount of space if needed.
Thanks for the thoughts on total generation - ultimately the ROI on this is key, but also the backup factor is a major factor for us as we want to be able to be off grid easily, we generate our own water supply, etc.

Appreciate it.
I looked at high wattage panels like that but could not justify the cost increase
 

travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,774
1,398
Marble Falls, TX
Thanks guys on all the feedback. Will figure it out based on its all one or the other now; e.g. the panels and powerwalls have to be only done all at once through Tesla so that make is a one or the other full system.

On a side note, pretty cool to see more V2H battery options pop up - the Ford F150 with available 80 amp home service is a pretty cool addition for battery backup for homes (partial likely) for those that can make use of it in time.

-T
 
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jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,459
3,467
Northern California
Thanks guys on all the feedback. Will figure it out based on its all one or the other now; e.g. the panels and powerwalls have to be only done all at once through Tesla so that make is a one or the other full system.

On a side note, pretty cool to see more V2H battery options pop up - the Ford F150 with available 80 amp home service is a pretty cool addition for battery backup for homes (partial likely) for those that can make use of it in time.

-T
Yep, the F-150 is going to impact Tesla solar sales. SunPower many start catching Tesla in the home battery market
 
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Isletime

Member
Apr 3, 2013
34
1
Carolina Beach, NC
I have SunPower (360W panels) with Tesla PowerWalls being installed right not (literally walking on my roof right now). I'm doing 11kWp at ~ $3.05 per Watt - before incentives. So far I have been super impressed with the installation team. They should hopefully be wrapping up today.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
Yep, the F-150 is going to impact Tesla solar sales. SunPower many start catching Tesla in the home battery market
I think it at least should accelerate Tesla's plans to roll out its own V2H and V2G solutions to compete. Though it will be interesting to see what the cost and limitations end up being for the F-150 solution. (My understanding is the hardware will be free with the extended range model, but I assume there will still be a significant cost to install and, as necessary, re-configure the home electric.)
 
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SolarGardener

Member
May 19, 2021
15
7
Dallas, TX
I have SunPower (360W panels) with Tesla PowerWalls being installed right not (literally walking on my roof right now). I'm doing 11kWp at ~ $3.05 per Watt - before incentives. So far I have been super impressed with the installation team. They should hopefully be wrapping up today.
Congrats! Were they able to source enough Powerwalls for your install? SunPower quoted me two Powerwalls, but I've seen others state SunPower was only willing to allocate one to their install.
 

Isletime

Member
Apr 3, 2013
34
1
Carolina Beach, NC
I have 4 powerwalls being installed, all sourced through my solar installer. I signed the paperwork in late Jan or early Feb. When I heard about the new rules from Tesla I reached out to them and was told not to worry. My only requirement was to get the install done before hurricane season, so right on track!
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,459
3,467
Northern California
I think it at least should accelerate Tesla's plans to roll out its own V2H and V2G solutions to compete. Though it will be interesting to see what the cost and limitations end up being for the F-150 solution. (My understanding is the hardware will be free with the extended range model, but I assume there will still be a significant cost to install and, as necessary, re-configure the home electric.)
Based on what I have seen with solar installs, code compliance, etc.; this may be one of those cases where "free" cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
 
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GJones

Member
Apr 20, 2021
34
35
Napa, California
I have 10kW SunPower and 2 PW. The SunPower install dates back to 2007. I have had a couple of warranty replacements via SunPower and the experience each and every time was about as bad as you can get. Defective panel took almost a year to get replaced and the initial replacement panel was clearly used...dirty, not in box and dinged up. Another month to get it replaced. I have one set of 330w panels with microinverters - one bad inverter and full replacement of the entire set. It was only replaced because I noted drop in production - they were never going to tell me. During the replacement process, they shattered one panel - put it back and were about to leave when I checked in. I pointed it out and they claimed it was broken on arrival. Since they knew I had been on the roof as they arrived - surprised they were that stupid to make that statement. Very tense standoff, verging on fisticuffs. I prevailed. The crew that arrived to replace the shattered panel 2 weeks later included 3 workers, crew chief and 2 SunPower managers. They were very careful. Also had a failed central inverter on a separate string (in warranty), that they simply refused to replace.
SunPower is a dreadful company for warranty - that warranty is utterly worthless. Panels and systems otherwise are as advertised - 14 years in and the original panels are producing as if they were new.
Don't depend on the warranty as part of your decision.
 

GJones

Member
Apr 20, 2021
34
35
Napa, California
BTW - the PowerWalls were installed 2 years ago by Tesla. That experience was AWESOME. Great crew, fast install. prompt updates for problems during install (bad cellular component and one set of CT's did not properly communicate with the gateway). One guy came out to do the followup and he was even better than the awesome initial crew.
My experience is that Tesla has firmly stood behind their products. I have three subsequent referral installs that are all thrilled (one 8kW, 2PW, another 12kW and 3 PW and the last was a single PW added to an existing SunPower). All three referrals had similar Tesla experiences.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,737
12,434
Riverside Co. CA
@GJones experience just goes to show that there are humans behind all this stuff, and experiences from the same company can be all over the map. I will say though, as I have said before here, that IN GENERAL, most of us who have had tesla installs have had "good to great" experiences with the tesla install crew.

The experience with the administrative side of tesla tends to be "average to poor", with most of it appearing to be attributed to overwork / lack of resources in the office for tesla for the amount of work they have. Tesla also doesnt tend to do too well with "promptness" or communication of changes.

Other experiences with other companies can vary of course.

The one big surprise I have had recently with tesla, frankly, is their raising of the solar roof pricing, and being unwilling to bend much on that for existing customers. Their behavior in that is worrying, but it also tells me that they felt they simply couldnt afford to do it, opinion be darned.

Anyway, OP as I mentioned, bid this out like you are bidding out a construction project on your home, with the same due diligence you would do for that.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
3,006
650
auburn, ca
@GJones experience just goes to show that there are humans behind all this stuff, and experiences from the same company can be all over the map. I will say though, as I have said before here, that IN GENERAL, most of us who have had tesla installs have had "good to great" experiences with the tesla install crew.

The experience with the administrative side of tesla tends to be "average to poor", with most of it appearing to be attributed to overwork / lack of resources in the office for tesla for the amount of work they have. Tesla also doesnt tend to do too well with "promptness" or communication of changes.

Other experiences with other companies can vary of course.

The one big surprise I have had recently with tesla, frankly, is their raising of the solar roof pricing, and being unwilling to bend much on that for existing customers. Their behavior in that is worrying, but it also tells me that they felt they simply couldnt afford to do it, opinion be darned.

Anyway, OP as I mentioned, bid this out like you are bidding out a construction project on your home, with the same due diligence you would do for that.
Because of all the comments about Tesla's solar, lack of support, etc., when I went to bid for my new solar, Tesla was not even on the list! I was willing to pay extra to a company who I could talk to, give inputs on the design, etc. ALL in real time!! They send me updates on status. They call me on updates. AND, we used solar edge inverters! I am SO SO glad I did not get my design changed to tesla inverters. Reading about the issues and lack of timely support would drive me nuts. We are in max solar right now. Hit my max ever yesterday at 97kwh. I loved I only used 38kwh from the grid during the last month. Life is great. Now, if I can just get another 41 panels approved, I will be shocked. Still on track to have a zero true up ENERGY bill next month. So cool!!
 
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