Is Sunpro Solar the Best Solar Installer? Everything You Need to Know – CNET

Is Sunpro Solar the Best Solar Installer? Everything You Need to Know – CNET

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Going solar can be a great investment in clean, affordable energy and it’s increasingly popular. Residential solar installations increased over 400% in the United States through most of 2021 compared to the year before, according to the Department of Energy. 

But it’s a big decision to make in a crowded marketplace. While you should reach out to multiple installers for quotes, including local ones, it’s worth knowing the national players, too. Below we discuss what you need to know about Sunpro Solar.

Sunpro Solar, one of the largest solar installers in America, was purchased by the home security company ADT in 2021. It’ll become ADT Solar later this year. It also offers a price match guarantee and 25 year warranties for many of its products. The announcement by LG, Sunpro’s preferred provider, that it would no longer make solar panels injects some uncertainty for the company going forward, but Sunpro might make sense if you live within its sizable and expanding service area.

What do I get from Sunpro Solar?

Sunpro Solar offers panels for purchase, but not via lease or power purchase agreement. If you purchase from Sunpro, you’re likely to get quality panels, at least in the near term.

Sunpro’s preferred panels come from LG. LG makes some of the best and most widely used panels in the industry, but recently it announced it will stop manufacturing panels in the spring of 2022. The company will continue to honor warranties on its panels, but soon you won’t be able to put them on your roof. What that means for Sunpro isn’t readily apparent. 

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Other solar companies, like Sunrun, prefer to install LG panels, too. LG’s announcement is a major shakeup, and companies haven’t had time to adapt, as of when this was published. An ADT spokesperson said in an email that the company is currently evaluating new options.

Sunpro offers two preferred batteries, Tesla Powerwall and Enphase’s IQ batteries. Tesla Powerwall is a battery widely used by solar installers. It can provide 13.5 kilowatt hours of energy in total at a rate of 5.8 kVA continuously or 7.2 kVA for 10 seconds at a time. Powerwall promises 70% capacity over 10 years regardless of how much the battery is used as long as it’s used just to back up your house. Enphase IQ batteries come in two sizes as well. The IQ Battery 3 can hold 3.36 kilowatt hours of usable energy and release it at a continuous rate of 1.28 kVA or 1.92 kVA during a 10-second peak. Enphase’s IQ Battery 10 contains three of its smaller counterparts. That makes for a total capacity of 10.08 kilowatt hours of usable energy, a maximum release rate of 3.84 kVA and a 10-second maximum of 5.7 kVA. While the Powerwall is bigger and can release more energy at once, both batteries can have more units added on. If a Powerwall was too small for your needs, you could purchase a second, or third. The same goes for Enphase, though you can add in smaller increments by adding an IQ Battery 3.

Sunpro also installs Enphase microinverters, which operate with over 97% efficiency. Enphase also offers system monitoring through a smartphone app. Through the app you can monitor your system performance, see where energy is flowing between your house, solar panels, battery storage and the grid. You can also view the performance of individual panels, take your home off the grid, and configure your system to save the most money or use the least amount of energy from the grid possible. The app is well liked, scoring a 4.7 star rating in the App Store and 4.2 on Google Play. (I did not test the app.)

Sunpro offers a couple of warranties above and beyond typical manufacturers warranties, a 25-year production warranty and a 25-year workmanship warranty. An ADT spokesperson said the production guarantee is specific to each array and included in individual contracts. LG guarantees its panels will produce at 87% of their original capacity after 25 years, but it’s not clear if Sunpro’s warranty differs from that. The labor warranty guarantees that the system will be installed “according to the reasonable standards of care and diligence generally practiced by solar installation companies” on similar installations in the same area, a company spokesperson said. That guarantee seems pretty general, but a 25-year workmanship warranty is much longer than other companies.

Are Sunpro Solar panels a good deal?

Sunpro doesn’t make the average prices of its installations public and a spokesperson declined to share that number. Solar panel installations vary in price from state to state. The median cost in 2020, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was $3.80 per watt, but others report significantly lower numbers. EnergySage said solar installation averages ranged from $2.33 per watt in Arizona to $3.43 in Washington, DC.

Regardless of the average price in your area, Sunpro is likely to compete as it offers a price-match guarantee. Within 30 days of signing an agreement with Sunpro, if you can submit to them a cheaper quote from a competing installer, Sunpro will honor that price and throw an additional $150 dollars your way. There are a few stipulations: The solar arrays offer “the same products and workmanship or equal specifications” and provide the same “benefits of Sunpro’s workmanship, installation certifications, background and drug-testing program for installers.”

Does Sunpro operate in my state? How do I order?

Sunpro has a large and growing footprint. The company currently operates in 21 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. It further reports service is coming soon to six more states: Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and West Virginia.

You can get in contact with Sunpro through a short online form, which authorizes the company to contact you via phone or email. Sunpro then conducts a site visit and presents you with a quote. Sunpro operates with in-house install teams, which have been trained by the company to install its system, Sunpro said in an email. 

Is Sunpro the best choice?

As with most major purchases, it’s best to check out multiple options before choosing one solar provider over another. If you need to finance your panels, you should shop around, too. 

Sunpro’s price-match guarantee means it should be as affordable as other installers. On top of that, while you’ll need to read the details of the warranties you’re offered, 25-year production and workmanship warranties are longer than most on the market. 

Sunpro’s preferred brands are high quality and have a strong track record. After LG announced it would stop making solar panels, Sunpro has yet to land on a new preferred panel. That’s just one change facing the company, which will be renamed ADT Solar this year after it was purchased by the home security company. It remains to be seen if the company’s offerings or services will change when the shift is complete.

While I researched as deeply as was reasonable, it’s important to note that I didn’t go through the purchasing process or get any hands-on experience with a Sunpro installation. Solar installers are difficult to review in a traditional sense, and this overview doesn’t rely on any independent, empirical testing by CNET. Be sure to do your own research into the best fit for your home.

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