October 23, 2023

Q Cells vs SunPower - Which solar panels should you buy?

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Solar energy is an increasingly popular choice for Australians looking to power their homes. Over 30% of Australian residences are using solar power, and that number is continuing to increase.

It's a great time to get a solar panel system for your home. Saving money on your electric bill and contributing to a sustainable environment is possible with a good solar system.

But buying your first solar panels can be hard if you don't know what to look for.

When installing a solar system, it’s important to get reputable solar panel manufacturers to give you quotes and do a proper installation. While getting a good solar battery, monitoring system, and solar inverter is important, getting high quality panels are vital for solar systems to function.

Some of the best solar panel manufacturers are Q Cells and SunPower, which have been putting up residential and commercial solar systems for years. Every provider of solar options says they have the best solar panels, but you must check if it’s right for you. Don't be afraid to ask, since terms like "series panels" are not easily understood.

There is not much difference between Q Cells panels and sunpower solar panels. They're both from good reputable companies, with good warranty and great after sales support. The prices are also quite similar.

The only major difference is where the parent company comes from, so choosing solar panels from either of these two options should not be a big headache.

Who are these solar panel companies?

Having a good reputation is vital in the solar industry, because you only want to install solar panels once.

If a company isn’t reputable, the chances of getting poor solar panels or an unsuitable solar installation go up.

If solar panels aren’t installed properly, you might pay more for your energy bill than you would without solar. This is also true if the solar panels aren’t good quality.

Q Cells

Q Cells solar panels

Q Cells is a German company though its headquarters is in South Korea, which is part of the Hanwa business conglomerate.

They produce both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline solar panels have a black colour, while polycrystalline solar panels are blue.

Q Cells’ residential solar panels have an efficiency rating above 20%, and offer power storage solutions to help retain the captured power.


Solar Energy Company | Solar Panels | SunPower Global

SunPower is a US-based company that only produces monocrystalline solar panels. These solar panels have efficiency ratings above 22%, making them high-efficiency solar panels.

SunPower's solar panels are known for their durability, lasting longer and generating more power for their users over their lifetime.

Both are top solar panel companies, winning awards for their solar panel technology, and both have trusted solar industry partners worldwide who install their solar panels.

You shouldn’t worry when these companies analyse your home and give you a quote. They will do all the research and planning necessary to provide the best solar system possible.

What criteria do you use to compare solar panels?

When comparing the solar panels between two companies, you must look for certain qualities to know what is right for you.

Every solar system depends on multiple factors such as roof space. You can't compare prices for only one panel, since houses must have other panels to generate enough power.

A solar system will differ for every house, and you shouldn't use other solar systems as a hard guideline for your budget.

Fortunately, there are other criteria to help you compare solar panels. Look at solar panel efficiency, type, warranty, and power output. Every company in the solar industry has documents listing this information.

Comparing these qualities ensures you can decide which solar panels you want, then compare your desires with the detailed quote.

This allows you to get an expert opinion on the right solar panels, getting the most out of your solar energy investment. 

To demonstrate the differences between the company’s solar panels, the comparison will look at one residential solar panel from each company.

Comparing the solar panels

The Q.MAXX BLK-G4+ panel from Q Cells and the Maxeon 3 DC Black, 410-420 W panel from SunPower.

Both are high quality panels and some of the best solar panels used for residential buildings. The Maxeon panels were used since it was the best SunPower panel brand to make a proper comparison.

Solar Panel Comparison Table

Here is a side-by-side comparison of each solar panel in the comparison.

Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that a solar panel can convert into usable electricity.

The efficiency of a solar panel is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of sunlight that hits the solar cells and is converted into electricity. If a solar panel has high efficiency, it turns more sunlight into power.

The average efficiency of a solar panel is between 15-22%.

The most efficient solar panels help you put fewer panels on your roof while still saving more money per watt and cutting down your electricity bills.

An efficient panel means you can make use of limited roof space, as solar cells generate more energy.

A good installation company knows how to position panels to make an optimal solar system for your needs.

High-efficiency panels can be expensive, but they can save more money on an electricity bill than conventional panels.

Efficient solar panels are affected by several factors, such as the amount of sunlight received by the solar cells, the temperature, and the current weather. Power tolerance is also important to avoid solar panels from providing too much or too little energy during the day.

Efficiency will never reach 100%, but you want the highest efficiency. Higher efficiency panels are more expensive, due to the high-quality solar cells necessary to convert more energy.

The Q.MAXX BLK-G4+ panel has an efficiency of up to 21.4%, which tolerates a temperature range between -40oC and 85oC. It’s a monocrystalline solar panel, which is known for having high efficiency over a polycrystalline panel.

The Maxeon 3 DC Black, 410-420 W panel has an efficiency of up to 22.2%, which tolerates a temperature range between -40oC and 85oC. It’s also a monocrystalline solar panel to help boost efficiency as much as possible. SunPower solar panels have better efficiency, but that also comes with a higher cost.

Solar Panel Type

The type of solar panel is another important factor when comparing solar panels, which determines what materials are used during their creation.

Solar panel type helps you identify the best solar panels for your home.

There are three common solar panel types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Both SunPower and Q Cells will recommend a solar system based on your budget, cost, and optimal placement for panels.

Monocrystalline panels

Q Cells panels

Monocrystalline panels are made from a single, high-purity silicon crystal, and they usually have a uniform, black appearance.

These solar panels are known for their high efficiency and great durability, but they are also more expensive since the manufacturing process is more complex.

However, the cost per watt is also higher for these panels, getting more solar energy for your investment. If you can afford the expense, the extra cost could be worth it.

Polycrystalline panels

Sunpower Panels

Polycrystalline panels are made from multiple fragments of silicon, which are melted together to form a single panel.

These panels have a blue colour and are often cheaper than monocrystalline in exchange for having less efficiency.

Most panels you think of are polycrystalline, though their use may not be right for your solar system. The cost per watt is slightly lower for these panels, but they are still great for solar systems.

Thin-film panels are made by depositing a thin layer of semiconductor material (such as amorphous silicon) onto a substrate material (such as glass or plastic).

They are lighter, more flexible, and cheaper than their crystalline counterparts.

However, they are more fragile and don’t last as long, with their cost per watt lower than other panels. Most panels that aren't for buildings are usually thin-film panels.

Both the Q.MAXX BLK-G4+ and Maxeon 3 DC Black, 410-420 W panels are monocrystalline for the highest efficiency.

Q Cells also has polycrystalline solar panels for purchase, if that turns out to be more suitable for your residence.

Solar Panel Warranty

Solar panels do not last forever, and they will degrade over time. Even a defective panel generates less energy, affecting overall energy production.

A solar panel warranty is a form of assurance that tells customers how long a company expects a panel to last.

If a solar panel breaks down during the warranty, it will be replaced free of charge. There are two types of warranty offered for most solar panels: product and performance.

Product Warranty

Product warranty covers defects in the manufacturing or materials of the solar panels and other components. Product warranties are offered by the manufacturer, with their duration depending on the equipment and product brand.

Performance Warranty

Performance warranty guarantees that the solar panels will maintain a certain level of efficiency over time. If the solar panels do not meet the guaranteed efficiency levels during the warranty period, the manufacturer must repair or replace the panels.

The typical solar panel warranty is a 25 year product warranty and come with a performance guarantee.

If the panels on the market don't come with a product warranty that feels worthwhile, it's best to find something else for your solar system.

A performance warranty should also accompany a product warranty, though the years don't have to match.

The Q.MAXX BLK-G4+ offers a 25 year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty. It's great for residential solar, as you can look at other solar installations on the market once the warranty ends. If you think you will replace solar systems later, you can shop around for more options later.

The Maxeon 3 DC Black, 410-420 W panel goes even further with a 40 year product warranty and a 40 year performance warranty. It's higher than the 25 year performance warranty that most solar panels offer, and a reason SunPower panels stand out in the market. A SunPower system will last you a very long time, and you likely won't need other solar systems over its lifetime.

Solar Panel Power Output

Fronius Power Generation

Solar panel power output refers to the amount of electricity that a solar panel can generate when exposed to sunlight.

It’s usually expressed in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) depending on the manufacturer. Power output depends on several factors, such as solar panel orientation, the number of solar panels, and the intensity and duration of sunlight a panel receives.

Solar power can be influenced by varying degrees of temperature, which is why your panels should be able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Power tolerance is also important since the amount of power should be constant and not vary too much. Both panels in the comparison have good power tolerance, which means you can expect their stated output to not vary much.

The Q.MAXX BLK-G4+ panel offers 400-410 W per panel, while the Maxeon 3 DC Black, 410-420 W panel offers 410-420 W. Having a higher power output rating isn’t everything though, as you must consider other factors such as placement and cost.

Just because SunPower panels produce slightly more energy doesn't mean they are right for you.

These factors are important, which means you should trust a professional's opinion on a panel's power output rating.

Which customers benefit from Q Cells solar panels?

Q Cells solar panels suit customers who are looking for cost-effective solar panel installations. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive, and you might want the cheaper polycrystalline panels if that’s what you can afford.

Q Cells solar panels are often lighter, allowing you to put more panels on your rooftops. For residential solar, Q Cells panels are a great fit if you want solar systems that don't overburden your rooftop.

Since Q Cells solar panels have a 25 year warranty, they are great for customers who feel that they want better solar panels in the future. Solar panel technology is constantly evolving, and more efficient models will enter the market.

Waiting 25 years before considering a replacement gives you good value out of your current solar panels. You then have plenty of access to the market when technology improves. (133 words)

Which customers benefit from SunPower solar panels?

SunPower solar panels are better for customers who want long-lasting solar panel installations, and are willing to spend more money.

While conserving cost is an important factor, SunPower panels can save you money over the long run. If your installation is done correctly, you might even get negative energy bills, sending power back into the grid.

If you plan to have a single solar power installation, the 40 year warranty is appealing. You won’t have to worry about your SunPower solar panels failing at any point, and the chances of replacing your solar panels is low.

40 years is a long time for a solar panel installation, which you can likely factor into long-term purchases such as a family home. (126 words)


Whether you go with Q Cells or SunPower, you must decide what your budget is and where you believe your solar panels can go. Installing solar panels isn’t cheap, and it will cost a lot of money in the beginning.

The cost savings from solar energy will come over time, when your energy bills are cheaper and save you money that you would have spent. When you hear “solar panels paid for themselves”, it’s usually the cost savings from your electricity bills that “pay” for the solar panels.

Both companies have an impressive track record in creating and installing solar panels, and you aren’t likely to go wrong with either one.

Check your estimated budget and then invite partners from both companies to take a look. Use the information in this article to check what the quotes recommend, and discuss with your partner what you can afford or desire.

That will help you decide which company has the right solar panel system, and which one is better for you in the long run.

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