Ah, how I hope one of our wonderful CleanTechnica readers wins this one! SunPower*, one of the world’s top solar companies (and one of my absolute favorites), is running a sweepstakes in which a lucky homeowner in California, New York, Hawaii, Arizona, or Colorado can win a home solar panel installation worth $16,000.
There’s not much more to the “news” than that. You have to enter by December 19 by completing a simple form, own a house in one of those states, and get lucky. However, for those not familiar with how awesome SunPower and its solar panel systems are, or how good of a time it is to go solar, I’ve got a lot of fun notes to add.
Earlier this year, I actually invested in SunPower. I’ve been meaning to write up an article on why I did so for months. I guess this is as good of an opportunity as any.
SunPower’s solar panel systems are top of the class, and they have been for a long time, beating their own records repeatedly. Currently, SunPower’s solar panels are the most efficient on the market, most reliable on the market, most durable on the market, and come with the highest power guarantee of any solar panels on the market (via a market-leading 25-year warranty). No matter how you slice it, SunPower is a definite leader in this highly competitive space. Nearly 30 years of experience in this space has helped with that, but being old doesn’t necessarily equal being great, and SunPower is definitely a great company in my book, and I think objectively.
Only 27 out of 1 million SunPower solar panels have been returned under warranty, based on a survey of over 6.5 million solar panels delivered between January 2006 and June 2012. That’s 27 out of 1,000,000 panels, or 0.0027%. Furthermore, SunPower estimates that only 0.25% power loss occurs in its panels, on average, after 25 years. That means that even long after your panels are paid off, they will be pumping out 99.75% of the power they were rated at when purchased. In the end, SunPower projects that its panels have a “useful life” of over 40 years. That’s longer than most of us will probably live.
Of course, solar panels from many companies will last decades and are worth the investment, but SunPower’s technology is genuinely in a league of its own. “Compared to a Conventional Panel, a SunPower® solar panel produces 75% more energy over the first 25 years,” that link states, based on a white paper published last year.
To learn more about SunPower itself, visit the SunPower site, follow its Twitter account or Facebook page, jump into its “Community” page or “Facts about Solar Technology from SunPower” page, or click on those two links in the three paragraphs above.
To learn more about the solar panel installation sweepstakes, there’s the main sweepstakes page and a FAQ page.
But this is by no means the end of the article…. I also want to highlight a bit more why now is the time to go solar. For, there will be only one sweepstakes winner, but I think almost anyone with a suitable roof should go solar these days.
A Solar Panel Installation is Good on So Many Levels
My investment in SunPower wasn’t only about the company’s merits. It was also about the overall solar power industry, the all-important topic of timing, and the critical need to support good cleantech companies that are fighting the biggest challenge human society has ever faced.
I don’t try to hide it, and I don’t think anyone who cares about society and the planet as a whole should: we need to get global warming under control in order to avoid catastrophic consequences humanity as a whole has never seen. Not simply harsh consequences, but society-crushing consequences. If we fail to act, future temperatures could even exceed human livability (like, seriously), but plenty of damage would be done and lives lost long before we reached that insane point.
Luckily, a lot of society is behind strong climate action, and there are a lot of wonderful government incentives in place at national, state, and local levels to incentivize some of the key solutions, one of which is certainly solar power (search DSIRE’s database for incentives in your area). However, who knows how long those incentives will last? In countries where fossil fuel–connected politicians have taken over, incentives have been slashed. While they last, combining available incentives with today’s relatively low solar costs may make this one of the most financially logical times for you to go solar.
Speaking of those low costs, if you’ve just caught a few of the 6,000+ articles CleanTechnica has published on the topic of solar power, you may not be aware of the following facts:
- People who go solar in the US are projected to save tens of thousands of dollars, on average, over the course of two decades. (Again, note that solar panels last much longer than two decades.)
- The price of solar panels has dropped 80% since 2008.
- The price of a solar module dropped from $76.67/watt in 1977 to $0.74/watt in 2013.
- On the wholesale electricity level, the price of solar power is coming in lower than the price of natural gas in some locations.
- Rooftop solar power adds thousands to the resale value of homes.
In other words, even if you don’t care about a livable climate, if you own a roof that isn’t shaded much of the time, you should really go solar.
Again, the good news is that a lot of people have caught on to this, and a ton more are expected to catch on in the coming years and decades. Global solar PV capacity has grown from 1.4 gigawatts in 2000 to over 100 gigawatts today, and that growth isn’t letting up at all. Even Shell — the oil company — can see solar energy becoming dominant energy source used by society by the end of the century.
Does solar make sense? By almost every measure, certainly!
So, if you are eligible, try your luck at winning a free solar panel installation via SunPower’s sweepstakes (and share that opportunity with friends and family — this is not the season of greed). However, even if you don’t win or aren’t eligible, jump on the solar bandwagon soon!
Check out more SunPower news on CleanTechnica here: cleantechnica.com/tag/sunpower
*This article has been supported by SunPower. Also, I own SunPower stock (like I said, it’s one of my favorite solar companies), but I also own stock in other solar panel companies — First Solar and Yingli Green Energy.
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