Are you considering having solar panels installed on your Rockland or Orange County home? This decision is sure to save you thousands of dollars in utility costs over the next few decades. However, your overall satisfaction depends not just on the company that installs your panels, but on the company that manufactures them as well.
When comparing SunPower vs NRG, they are both popular solar panel companies that serve New York and other states across the country. Is one better than the other? Start narrowing down your options by learning more about these companies’ business histories and solar panels.
SunPower vs NRG: Business Growth
SunPower Corporation was officially founded back in 1985 by Dr. Richard Swanson. A professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, Swanson started SunPower with the intent to make solar panels more accessible to home and business owners everywhere. His inspiration came from solar cells mounted to satellites back in the 70s. He thought: if solar cells can power satellites, why can’t they be used on a more widespread basis here on the ground?
The growth SunPower has seen in the past 30 years has been phenomenal. Some of the first groundbreaking achievements occurred in the 90s when SunPower was chosen to manufacture solar cells for race cars and NASA airplanes. The milestones continued into the 2000s when SunPower broke records for the highest flying solar-powered aircraft and the most efficient solar cells every produced (24.2% conversion efficiency as of 2010).
In recent years, SunPower has grown into a global leader in the solar industry with annual revenue topping $3 billion. In 2014, the company manufactured its one-billionth solar cell, an impressive production milestone to say the least. That same year, SunPower became the first and only solar company to achieve Cradle to Cradle Certification for sustainable manufacturing.
As a company with a strong history and eyes looking to the future, SunPower is a stable manufacturer you can feel confident investing in.
SunPower earns a lot of attention as a leader in solar energy largely due to its innovative solar cells. Called Maxeon cells, they are the same size and shape as traditional six-inch single-crystal silicon cells, but they offer world-record efficiency of over 24%. When combined into conventional 60-cell solar panels, Maxeon cells achieve the highest efficiency of any ready-to-install panel at 21.5%. Ordinary panels are rated between 14% and 16% efficient.
Several design characteristics help SunPower panels achieve industry-leading efficiency ratings:
- No gridlines on the solar cells.
- Special light-trapping surface to grab more energy from the sun’s rays.
- Solid copper backing to provide added strength and resilience against the elements.
- Ultra pure monocrystalline silicon cells for incredible energy conversion.
- Anti-reflective coating to increase energy production.
NRG Home Solar
NRG Energy, the company that owns NRG Home Solar, is spin off of Xcel Energy, formed after Xcel faced bankruptcy in 2004. It was a complicated start to an energy company that decided to invest more money in green energy initiatives starting in 2009. For example, NRG Energy introduced the first completely private public care charging station network for electric vehicles in 2010.
This branch off into clean energy solutions also prompted the company to create NRG Home Solar, a company with the goal of helping homeowners go solar with affordable leasing options.
NRG Home Solar only offers leasing as a financing option, so there’s no way to directly buy or take out a loan to obtain solar panels through NRG. This is fine if you know solar leasing is the best financing option for you, but it eliminates the option of owning your own solar array.
SunPower vs NRG: Panel Technology
When you decide you want to switch to solar, you want to know that the solar panels you’re investing in are the best around. Unfortunately, when you choose NRG, it’s difficult to research panel technology in advance. This is because NRG doesn’t manufacture its own panels. Instead, it works with a network of manufacturers to keep company costs down.
The NRG Home Solar website states, “We are constantly meeting with manufacturers and distributors to ensure that our customers have the newest and best products for their homes,” but then NRG fails to specify who these manufacturers are and what efficiency ratings their panels achieve. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for NRG Home Solar to attract knowledgeable consumers who know exactly what they’re looking for.
Don’t be the type of consumer that settles for the first easy route that comes along. Make sure you’re satisfied with your solar installation by doing your research and choosing the right installers in Rockland and Orange County for you.