REC Alpha vs SunPower A series

I haven’t been able to find much information about REC Alpha solar panels but what little I have found is very positive. High efficiency, low degradation.

I’m considering a 7kW system with either 19 REC Alpha 370 w panels or 17 SunPower A series 415 w panels.

Are they pretty much equivalent as the specs indicate?
What about reliability between the 2?

Thank you

Hi @Idoclin

Have you read our REC review? It discusses the Alpha panels. I think they are very impressive.

Given the current uncertain state of SunPower, I would be inclined to back REC. However, they are both obviously top notch panels.

What is the price difference between the two? Is it the same company offering both, or different?

Cheers
Marty

Thanks for the links Marty. I have read the reviews and they were helpful. Seems like both panels are similarly efficient.

The quotes (pre-tax incentives) are from 2 different companies.
$26,500: 7 kW system with Sunpower A series 415 w panels (17)
$20,000: 7 kW system with REC alpha 370 w panels (19) and SolarEdge Inverter and Power optimizers
$20,500: 7 kW system with REC alpha 370 w panels (19) with Enphase iQ7 microinverters

Are SunPower panels that much better to warrant a $6,000 price premium or am I mostly paying for the name?

Would you recommend the microinverter setup or power optimizers? Depending on the source, I’ve heard they are basically equivalent, to microinverters are better in partial shade, to power optimizers are more efficient. We have a large tree in the south that blocks some of the morning sun.

Thank you!

I don’t mean to seem nosy, but what company and what state did you receive those quotes? Is it in the USA?

Must be the US. Have you got similar quotes @Skyke101?

$6000 is such a massive premium, there is no way they are worth that much more in my opinion.

For only $500 difference, I would go with Enphase. I think you should be very happy with either option though, they are quite comparable. You can see a thread with more info here:

@Skyke101, I am in the San Francisco area in California

@Marty, after tax rebates and incentives, the difference shrinks down to $3500 between SunPower and REC panels so closer.

The REC dealer is gently but consistently pushing Solar Edge with power optimizers and says that the Envoy Box accompanying the Enphase microinverter system will need to be replaced after 5-10 years. (The warranty is 5 years whereas all other parts of the system are 25 years.) Is this a common maintenance that needs to be serviced in the life of Enphase microinverter systems with monitoring? I haven’t heard this at all from the SunPower dealer so is this because the “customized” microinverters Enphase supplies to SunPower somehow bypasses this problem?

Thanks again

Is there any truth on those concerns over the Envoy @mexicansolarguy?

I presume that the person is talking about the Enphase monitor. Yes the monitor is warranted for 5 years. However, it is the communication gateway between the micro-inverters and the Envoy monitoring system. It is basically a wi/fi connection port. I have had one fail while in operation but it took a lightning strike to do it and it was the older series of Envoy.

I also find it is consistent, that those who do not install Enphase will use any excuse to move people away from the Enphase systems.

One of the real advantages with this system (unavailable with any other system - to the best of my knowledge) is the ability to actually fix issues through the wi/fi connection. we have recently had a couple of issues needing software updates to correct a specific problem. The software engineers were able to write the new script and send it through the internet connection to individual micro-inverters and correct the problem entirely remotely.

Thanks @mexicansolarguy
very helpful information. I will go with the Enphase microinverters

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Good choice, I am sure you will be very happy.