New Mexico Solar Company Comparison: Sunspot
Choosing a home solar company in the Las Cruces area of New Mexico is a major decision that can cause plenty of stress and anxiety for homeowners.
Turning to a hometown business can feel safe. Sunspot Solar Energy Systems of Las Cruces strikes that comforting note on its website, calling itself “the local solar energy company.”
But while shopping locally can make sense when buying a hammer or a set of lawn furniture, investing in a home solar energy system is a complicated choice that will affect your home’s energy efficiency, value, and appeal for decades. It’s best handled by solar companies with broad experience and deep expertise.
Both Go Solar Group and Sunspot Solar Energy Systems were founded in 2009, and both companies boast positive online customer ratings and reviews. While Sunspot Solar has operated locally, however, Go Solar Group has installed solar arrays throughout the Western U.S. and internationally. Also, Go Solar Group offers a wider range of higher-quality brands and product choices, based on the companies’ websites.
Choosing Solar Panels: Price vs. Efficiency
Comparing products via Go Solar Group’s free customized quotes empowers homeowners to pick the best long-term value. A solar panel’s efficiency — how well it transduces sunlight into electricity in conjunction with the inverter — makes a major difference in the panel’s performance over its expected 40+-year lifespan.
Go Solar Group offers four high-efficiency solar panels on the market. These customers also have the option of choosing a high-quality German-engineered module by Axitec, which is this company’s preferred and most commonly installed module, or a made-in-America panel from Silfab.
Go Solar Group also offers LG solar panels, which are the industry leaders according to a 2019 review of 30 solar panel brands by the industry website Solar.com, performing at an impressive 87% efficiency after 25 years (which is the duration of time most panels are warrantied for), and offering the best smart-home integration. Go Solar Group also offers Solaria solar panels, which are rated No. 2 overall in the above survey and No. 1 on aesthetics.
Sunspot offers no information on its website about solar panel brands, the independent website Solar Reviews, however, says Sunspot installs Hyundai solar panels — an option many homeowners choose for its lower price, but one that trails the industry in efficiency, according to Solar.com. Hyundai’s equipment warranty and performance guarantee are also substandard, guaranteeing only 80.2% module efficiency after 25 years — several percentage points below the LG, Solaria, or Axitec brands.
Comparing Your New Mexico Solar Company’s Credentials
Key members of Go Solar Group’s team have earned certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) — the solar industry’s gold standard for service, requiring training, experience, passing a very difficult exam, and agreement to a code of ethics. Although choosing solar companies with NABCEP certification is recommended by public officials in the Las Cruces area, there’s no evidence on Sunspot Solar’s website or the NABCEP directory that its installers have received its ‘PV Installation Professional’ designation.
Battery Backup: Will You Have Power in an Outage?
Go Solar Group offers 3 tiers of battery backup. A battery backup system dramatically increases solar ROI by letting homeowners keep more unused solar energy for their own homes to use at a later date, rather than exporting it back onto the grid, which most utility companies, PNM included, credit only at pennies on the dollar via net metering.
Another benefit of battery backup for homes with solar panels is the emergency preparedness it provides, letting people store more power for use at a later date in the event of an emergency, like a power outage. E.g., this enables homeowners with these systems to prevent food from spoiling in a fridge if the grid goes down or power is made unavailable.
Sunspot Solar offers no information on its website about battery backup. But Go Solar Group offers several flexible battery-backup options. The company is a licensed Certified Tesla Powerwall Installer of the industry-leading Powerwall.
Go Solar Group also offers several of Goal Zero’s popular lithium-ion batteries at a wide range of prices, including the Yeti 1500 and the Yeti 3000, which are the portable versions of Go Solar Group’s battery backup options. These portable battery options are typically powered by Goal Zero’s portable 200 Boulder Panel.
Solar Company Values: An Opportunity to Give Back
Most solar providers claim to embrace certain values. Sunspot Solar declares on its website that it values “efficiency, quality, and local service.”
In addition to adhering to company values of accountability, synergy, and improvement, Go Solar Group is unique in offering its customers a chance to help improve the world. For each solar array Go Solar Group installs domestically, the company offers microfinancing via 1heart1mind.org for an equivalent solar array for a Ugandan family.
This initiative sprang from the founders’ own experience volunteering with Mothers Without Borders, prior to the company’s founding. Since Go Solar Group’s humanitarian initiatives started, the company has been able to build a solar-powered boarding school and clean reading light for hundreds of Ugandan children. Through this program, Go Solar Group and its customers have changed lives in more than 5,300 Ugandan households, providing more than 3 million hours of additional, solar-powered study time after dark for children in need.
Therefore, if you go solar with Go Solar Group, you aren’t just helping your home – you’re helping the home of a Ugandan family and its children abroad.