Why Choose Planet Solar?
Why We Choose the Equipment and Panels We Offer
We have one mission here at Planet Solar - to provide you the best equipment, with the best workmanship and financing, for the lowest price - period! A well designed and installed solar system will last for 50+ years, so make sure you choose the best equipment to enjoy generations of worry free, virtually maintenance free Power from the Sun.
The solar industry changes almost daily. The panels get more powerful, new products and financing come and go from the market, tariffs are imposed, and pricing changes. Even for us full-time solar professionals it can be a lot to keep up with, and there is no way that an online search for a couple of hours can match the knowledge those of us solar professionals who spend 50 hours or more per week can offer. It's our job to know everything there is to know about the present and future direction of the solar industry, so you don't have to. Just give us a call, and we will be happy to give you straight answers to your solar questions. Or, you can go to our 'Straight Answers to Solar Questions' page here.
As one of the oldest and most respected solar companies in the US, we are constantly visited by all the major solar equipment suppliers showing us their latest and greatest new widget, and solar lenders pushing us to offer their products. We look at it all with one thing in mind - our customer's best interests. Here's the logic we use to offer the best products to our customers:
Warranty Not all warranties are created equal. Sure, all panels come with a 25-year warranty, and it sounds really good. But we read the fine print. 90% of solar panels come with a production warranty to produce 80% of the rated power in year 25 - that is, as long as the panel is still in one piece. Nearly all of those panels only have a 10-year product warranty, so if it falls apart after 10 years you are out of luck. The panels we use (LG, QCell, and Panasonic) have a 25-year product AND production warranty, with LG and Panasonic guaranteeing over 90% power production through year 25.
Age, Strength, and Diversity of the Manufacturer A 25-year warranty is only as strong as the company that stands behind it, and is meaningless from a few year old company, which most solar panel manufacturers are. Panasonic is 101 years and LG is 76 years in business, and both are multi-billion dollar diversified conglomerates (meaning they make many types of products, not just solar). You can count on them to be around to honor their warranty. Making sure your warranty is backed for the full 25 years is our #1 priority. And most of the time the panels we offer are made right here in the USA.
Efficiency The entire purpose of Going Solar is to make enough power for your home or business. The more efficient the panels and inverters, the less solar we have to install and the more money we save you. We want to install as many solar panels as you need in the limited space of your roof, so we use panels and inverters that are the most efficient in the world.
Availability Some panel manufacturers just can't seem to get their production schedule synched up with delivery to us, causing all sorts of delays that neither you nor Planet Solar will accept. Our suppliers are huge companies with decades of logistics experience, so that we almost never experience supply delays.
Value Finally after all the above is considered, we factor in price. With our size and prominence in the solar industry, we receive volume pricing that few of our competitors can get, and are able to offer the best and most efficient solar panels for prices lower than our competition offering you 2nd-tier equipment.
"AC PANELS" - Solar Panels with Integrated Microinverter
As said above, solar panels make DC power, but some panels are made with a small inverter mounted right onto the back of the solar panel. The solar industry has been trying this for years, with varying levels of success. Sunpower tried multiple times to use a microinverter made by SolarBridge, and finally acquired SolarBridge to make the AC panels, but they had so many failures they finally gave up and started using Enphase microinverters for their AC panels. Two questionable warranties by two non-diversified, solar exclusive companies.
Instead we are using products made by one manufacturer by LG Electronic, a $100Billion per year, 70+ year old brand that you know and trust. LG is diversified in that they are not only solar but make high-end TVs, washing machines, microwaves and more. Chances are you have an LG product in your home already. Many products require microinverters, like microwaves and washing machines, and LG has been making them for over 50 years. Put this on the back of their industry-leading high efficiency solar panel, and you have the best product available in solar today - and its all backed by the best warranty in solar - a full 25 years on everything, backed by the same rock-solid 70+ year old company. And we provide you this great product at a price that beats our competition using lower-quality equipment.
Inverter Your solar panels make DC power (like a flashlight) and the power needs to be inverted to AC power so that it can be used in your home. Consider the inverter 'the brains' of your solar energy system, not only inverting the current to AC but also running diagnostics on both your system and the grid to insure everything is safe, and shutting down if there is an energy surge like a transformer blowing up or a lightning strike. It also monitors your system's production and uploads the data on the cloud for you to see from any smart device, anywhere in the world. Planet Solar offers both microinverters and hybrid inverters, depending on the situation. Both of our suppliers are #1 in their segment, and provide the most reliable equipment in their class. We are happy to install either inverter type, the choice is yours.
Microinverters from Enphase These are the inverters to use when you don't want any boxes on your wall, you are adding panels to an existing system, or you only need a very small solar panel system. Each solar panel has its own dedicated small inverter attached to it, so all of the equipment is on the roof. They were originally developed to mitigate the impact of shade on a solar panel array, but soon gained popularity because inexperienced sales people and solar installers didn't have to learn much about solar and could still install a working system. They have a 96.5% efficiency rating, and their latest versions have been very reliable. Most new home builders request microinverters. But they do have some drawbacks; they are limited at producing 290watts. The solar panels made today all make over 300 watts, and we currently are installing 325 - 370 watt panels. Why would anyone install a 370watt panel when the inverter connected to it is only capable of 290 watts? It's just wasting potential power! You'll hear some story that this is a good thing, but it's just from a company that doesn't offer anything else, and its wrong. Another thing said about microinverters is that if an inverter fails, you have only lost one panel and not the entire system, and that is true. However, it is also true that instead of one very reliable inverter on a wall where you can easily service it, you have many inverters with complicated electronics located on your roof and under a solar panel, where it is difficult to service. Finally, microinverters come with a slight cost increase.
Hybrid Inverters from SolarEdge
Our hybrid inverters combine the best of both microinverters and string inverters. The system has an inverter which is at ground level, where it's location can be protected from heat and is easy to service. Then each panel is attached to a very simple device called a power optimizer, which maximizes the solar potential of each panel, whether shaded or in full sun. They have a max power cap of 410watts, far above every residential solar panel and allowing ALL of the power of your panels to be generated. Each optimizer outputs exactly 380 volts, which is the most efficient voltage for the SolarEdge inverter, so it is always running at its highest efficiency of 99%. With our hybrid inverter system, you'll get every possible watt from your solar panels, to save you the most money - both in up-front costs and over the 25 year guaranteed life of your system.
Home Batter System We use the same logic and high standard on the home battery systems we offer as we do in choosing solar panels. There are only four companies offering home battery systems that are "ready for prime time", and they are Generac, LG Electronics, and Tesla Powerwall, and Panasonic. Please go to our page on Home Batteries for more information.
Why We Chose to Quit Using SunPower Panels
The So-Called 'World's Best Solar' Leaves a Lot to be Desired
Sunpower Doesn't Make Solar Panels Any More (2018)
Sunpower has been predicted to Go Bankrupt Since 2017 and most of all-Sunpower's Panels Aren't More Efficient than LG or Panasonic
Sunpower's Customer Service is Atrocious
Planet Solar used to be a Sunpower dealer, starting in 2012. Panasonic had left the North American market for a time to provide panels for Japan after the earthquake / tidal wave knocked out the Fukushima nuclear plant, and LG had not entered the US market yet. After 5 years of Sunpower courting us to become a dealer, we became a Sunpower dealer. However in 2015 Sunpower started losing at least $200MM each year, and since then have been selling off the best parts of the company to avoid going bankrupt. In 2018 they sold off their lease receivables (which really was the most valuable part of the company) as well as their microinverter business for pennies on the dollar. In 2019 they sold off their panel manufacturing division to Chinese company Maxeon, which is really all they had left. What they do now is just provide a brand - they basically are a franchise now with hundreds of companies that call themselves 'Sunpower by (insert name here) Solar'. They offer use of their name, and access to the Chinese-made Maxeon panels - that's it.
In 2016 we saw the problems they were facing, and made the decision to terminate our dealer agreement with them. The main reason was that though solar panels are guaranteed for 25yrs, we really didn't trust the financial stability of Sunpower to honor their warranty. We are so very pleased with our decision, as Sunpower appears to be (according to a news report linked below) spiralling toward bankruptcy. It's just one of dozens of examples of how Planet Solar keeps its eyes on the industry, and makes decisions that are in our CUSTOMER'S best interests. We got asked again to become a dealer in Oct. 2020, but we'll keep offering the REAL world's best solar - from LG and Panasonic.
Sunpower took our leaving the dealer network a bit personally, as no one leaves the SP dealer network. Most of their dealers have been brainwashed into believing that any panels other than SP will fail or worse. It's actually a running joke in the solar industry to say 'they've drunk the Sunpower Kool-Aid'. The worst thing is that when we quit our dealer agreement, they told us that we could no longer touch any of the SP systems we've previously installed, or it would void the customer's warranty. Instead they would send out a local SP dealer to service those systems moving forward. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! That's not the kind of customer service you should expect from the so-called best solar panels? We just want to service our customer's systems, but our hands are tied. But please - even if you have an SP system installed by us, call us first. We will hook you up with an SP dealer that we know does good work to properly service your system. See below how awful the SP service has become.
Research It Yourself
It is our rule that we don't speak badly about others, and we won't. The above claims are simply facts that we experienced with Sunpower. But I will let news reports that you can find yourself online address all the claims above - just check the links below to see for yourself.
SP doesn't make panels any more:
SP predicted to go bankrupt:
SP Panels are NOT more efficient than other top-tier panels: I will address this one in text. SP makes a 400watt panel, but it is a full 7 inches longer than a regular panel. It's just bigger, that's all. I could provide you a 500watt panel if you'd like, but it will be the size of a kitchen table! The LG NeonR panel actually has the same or more power per square inch as a Sunpower panel, but for a much lower price. And best of all, the LG panel is backed by a 74-year-old company that makes $100Billion+ dollars per year, not a company on the verge of bankruptcy. Also, LG will be releasing its NeonR 400watt panel in a few months, which will be 7 inches shorter that the SP panel for the same 400watts (and thus way more efficient).
Also, we are seeing this summer (2020) that most Sunpower dealers are offering the SP 327watt panels. First, its only 327watts vs LG 375watts, but most of all, the SP 327watt panel is 2014 technology! It is their 'economy line', but is being sold as if it's the newest and best technology out there. Imagine buying a new phone but with 2014 technology - it'd be obsolete day one. Same with solar.
Sunpower's Customer Service is Atrocious:
There is a Facebook post from an SP dealer that was promoting Sunpower, but the post went terribly wrong. Go find it yourself, over 90% of the 300+ posts from real customers say they can't get anyone to fix their system or their system worked for a short time and then quit working, and that is from one FB post alone. Go find one for yourself, you'll see what we mean. Or, just check online reviews for Sunpower - its pretty bad.
The Best Equipment, Financing, Workmanship, and Value. Every Project, Every Time.
There's a reason our customers are smiling - they've just had the best customer experience of their lives. When you choose Planet Solar, count on enjoying the best solar has to offer, every step of the way.
One of the oldest solar installers in America. That's important in an industry that has seen 80% of solar companies leave the industry within 2 years. Planet Solar is the oldest of the top 35 companies in the US*. When your system needs service, we'll be here to take care of you.
The most friendly and knowledgeable solar consultants in the industry.
The best equipment on the market, from names you trust like LG, Panasonic, Tesla, and Generac, with full 25 year warranties.
Fast Installation times.
Award-winning workmanship. No other company on Earth can say they had zero installation failures through two category 5 hurricanes.
The Best Financing - all $0 down and no pre-payment penalty. APR as low as 2.99%, some with no loan fees, and up to 18mo. no payments.
The Best Value. Our prices are always very competitive, usually lower than our competition using inferior panels and inverters. When you factor in the guaranteed power generation of a top-tier solar panel and installation, we bring you the best value available in solar today.
(*Solar Power World Magazine - July 2018)
"One of the best companies by far that I've had the pleasure to work with. Marilyn has been very helpful and very friendly. I highly recommend Planet Solar for all your electrical savings!!!
Great experience. Clean, prompt, honest. Did exactly what they said.
SKEPTIC. I was very skeptical of solar until I met with Marilyn, she was very professional and honest. The only salesperson that told me I couldn't have 100% coverage because of all the redwoods surrounding my house. I appreciated her honesty and that's why I chose her company. We've had no electric bill since the switch was turned on.