If you’ve been doing your solar research, you probably already know that some of the most efficient panels on the market come from SunPower, a panel manufacturer out of California. SunPower is noteworthy not just for their exceptional efficiency, but also for their aesthetics and excellent warranty offering (bumper-to-bumper for 25 years for both product and performance). SunPower is one of the brands that homeowners request most frequently when comparing offers from solar installers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace and it has hundreds of dealers across the world.
What does it mean if an installer is a SunPower dealer?
Most solar installation companies work with multiple brands of equipment. When you compare your options for solar on EnergySage, you can request a specific brand of solar panels, and in many cases, installers can update their offer to include it. If the company hasn’t previously installed a system with the panels that you’re requesting, they can often work with a distributor to get that equipment.
However, SunPower panels are a little bit different. If you request that a solar company provide you with a SunPower quote, there’s a good chance they’ll come back and say that they cannot. That’s because, unlike other solar panel manufacturers, SunPower has a preferred dealer network. If your solar installer gives you a quote that includes SunPower panels, they have been certified by SunPower to do so after going through a vetting and training process. These installers are also required to meet certain criteria around customer satisfaction.
When installation companies become SunPower dealers, they’re put in one of four different tiers: Authorized Dealer, Elite Dealer, Master Dealer, or Commercial Dealer.
What’s the difference between SunPower dealer tiers?
SunPower dealers in every tier sell and install the same products, but they’re set apart by a few factors.
SunPower Authorized Dealer
SunPower Authorized Dealers are able to sell and install SunPower systems because they’ve completed specialized training about installing and selling SunPower systems. In addition, Authorized Dealers meet SunPower’s customer satisfaction criteria.
SunPower Elite Dealer
SunPower Elite Dealers are viewed as SunPower’s “top-notch partners.” These installers complete and pass more sales training with SunPower. They also are required to meet higher customer satisfaction scores.
SunPower Master Dealer
SunPower Master Dealers meet all the standards of the lower tiers of the dealer network. They are considered Master Dealers when they’re invited by SunPower to do so. Once a company becomes a Master Dealer, they only install SunPower panels.
If you’re getting a proposal from a Master Dealer and want to look at a quote with a different panel manufacturer, they will not be able to sell it to you. (They can, however, install different types of panels made by SunPower!)
How you can quickly tell if you’re working with a Master SunPower dealer? Simply look at their name: if the company is called “SunPower by X,” with X being the installer’s original name, they’re a Master Dealer. There are fewer Master Dealers throughout the country than installers in the other tiers, so there may not be a Master Dealer that installs in your immediate area.
SunPower Commercial Dealer
These dealers have been certified by SunPower to install their equipment for commercial systems and properties. These installers have also gone through training from SunPower, and also have their work inspected by SunPower themselves to ensure that their installations match up with SunPower’s reputation for quality.
Do other manufacturers have dealer networks?
SunPower is not unique in partnering directly with installers; other popular panel manufacturers, such as Panasonic and LG, partner directly with installers to provide them with additional training, connections to customers, and a high level of service. Panasonic has two tiers of installer partners (Authorized and Premium), while installers partnering with LG are in one tier: the LG PRO network.
Should you go solar with a SunPower option?
SunPower panels are certainly some of the best on the market (and the only panel manufacturer rated as “Premium Plus” on EnergySage), but that doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. You may want to invest in SunPower panels if you have limited amounts of roof space and a high electricity bill – the added efficiency of the SunPower offering will mean more electricity production higher savings on your electricity bill over time.
However, if you have ample amounts of roof space and can fit more panels on your roof, the efficiency benefits of a SunPower installation aren’t as important, and you may want to consider installing more, slightly lower-efficiency panels. The primary downside of SunPower panels is that they are typically one of the most expensive options on a cost-per-watt basis, but this higher upfront investment can be worth it in many circumstances.
Many highly qualified installation companies are SunPower dealers, and there are excellent installation companies that choose not to install SunPower as well. EnergySage works with a network of 500+ installers, including SunPower Dealers and other solar companies that have been pre-screened and vetted by us.
By signing up to join the EnergySage Marketplace, you can receive and compare quotes from different companies to determine the best solar option for you and your home. If you’re interested in a particular panel brand, whether SunPower or not, you can simply note that in your profile upon registration.