SunPower Vs. Tesla Solar: Which Company Is Better?

Here’s what we’ll cover in this solar provider comparison:

  • How do SunPower and Tesla Solar compare?
  • Which company is more expensive: SunPower Vs. Tesla Solar?
  • Does SunPower or Tesla have better warranty coverage?

EcoWatch has helped thousands of homeowners find the best option for their own homes to go solar, saving them time, money, and headache in the process.

Ecowatch Author Dan Simms

By Dan Simms

Updated 11/23/2022

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If you’ve been doing research on solar companies to hire to install your solar energy system, you’ve almost certainly heard of SunPower and Tesla. 

These are two of the largest and most well-known companies in the solar industry, both offering top-tier equipment and nationwide service.

There’s a lot of information about both of these companies on the internet, and it can be challenging to sift through everything and figure out which is the better option.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at how SunPower and Tesla compare when it comes to warranty coverage, overall customer experience and more. We’ll also explain why we believe SunPower is the better option in most cases.

Jump To:

  1. SunPower Vs. Tesla Overview
  2. Cost Comparison
  3. Warranties Offered
  4. Coverage Area
  5. Solar Panel Performance
  6. Customer Experience
  7. Which Company Is Best?
Best National Provider
Badge icon

Nationwide Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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SunPower

  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
  • Pros icon National coverage
  • Pros icon Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Con icon Expensive
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon System Monitoring
Best Technology
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Nationwide Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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Tesla Energy

  • Pros icon Price-match guarantee
  • Pros icon Sleek, efficient and durable solar panels
  • Pros icon Best solar battery on the market
  • Con icon Some reported issues with customer service
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon Solar Roof Shingles
  • Service icon System Monitoring

Overview: SunPower Vs. Tesla

Given the size and popularity of both SunPower and Tesla, we believe it’s important to compare these companies side by side to help you choose one for your solar panel installation. 

You’re very likely considering one or both of these providers for your solar panel system, so we think it’s important to have all the facts before you choose.

Company Brand Is Best For Price Warranty Coverage States Served BBB Rating Payment Options Solar Services Offered
SunPower Overall quality and system performance $$$$ 25-year performance,
product and workmanship warranties
50 states A+ Cash,
loan,
lease, PPA
Solar panels, backup battery and EV charger installations;
solar monitoring
Tesla Solar Affordability and company reputation $$ 25-year performance,
10-year workmanship warranties
22 states C- Cash,
loan
Solar panels, backup battery and EV charger installations;
solar monitoring

SunPower Overview

SunPower has been serving the solar industry since 1985. With decades of experience and a history of providing top-of-the-line solar equipment, SunPower is an outstanding choice when installing solar on your home.

SunPower previously manufactured solar panels but has undergone recent changes in how the company operates. Its manufacturing responsibilities now belong to its sister company, Maxeon, while SunPower focuses its efforts on its installation work. Right now, though, it still outsources a good deal of its solar projects.

SunPower is well-known for outstanding equipment quality, as well as an industry-leading solar warranty.

Tesla Overview

Tesla is a massive tech company owned by Elon Musk and based in California. It got its start in the early 2000s as an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer and then purchased SolarCity (another of Musk’s companies) in 2016. Since that acquisition, Tesla has been heavily involved in developing its renewable energy technologies.

Tesla manufactures its own panels and offers one of the best solar batteries available for residential solar systems: the Tesla Powerwall. It also offers the Tesla Solar Roof, a futuristic, low-profile option for meeting your energy needs.

Tesla outsources all of its installations to third parties, much like SunPower used to.

Tesla
Courtesy: Tesla

Cost Comparison: SunPower Vs. Tesla

Solar equipment is expensive no matter which company you choose for your installation. However, prices vary wildly among installers, so cost is a primary concern for many homeowners when choosing a solar company. 

We’ll compare the pricing of these two companies in the sections below.

Costs and Financing Options

SunPower manufactures some of the best panels in the business, but they come at an above-average cost. SunPower panels range from $2.85 to $3.25 per watt in most cases, while Tesla’s solar panels average around $2.50 per watt. 

Tesla also offers price matching to keep costs as low as any competitors.

SunPower accepts all payment options, which means its products and services remain accessible to most homeowners. These options include:

  • Cash purchases
  • Loans for solar panels
  • Leases for solar panels
  • Power purchase agreements (PPAs)

Tesla only accepts cash purchases and solar financing (loans), so its products are a bit less accessible.

Which Company is Cheapest, SunPower or Tesla? – Tesla

Tesla solar panels will almost always be more affordable than SunPower’s. Not only are its products naturally less expensive, but the company also matches the prices of competitors to keep your total costs down.

However, SunPower’s panels are considered the best in the industry, so the value-to-cost ratio is still outstanding. They can help reduce your electric bills more, saving you more in the long run.

Our Pick For Best by Cost – SunPower

When it comes to an upfront price tag, Tesla is the winner of this category. Its products are naturally priced lower and can dip in cost due to price matching. 

However, since SunPower’s panels are more efficient and degrade more slowly, SunPower may  actually provide a greater return on investment (ROI) over 25 years. A simpler way to phrase it? SunPower offers better bang for your buck. 

All in all, both companies will appeal to different customers. If balancing affordability and quality is most important, you may want to consider Tesla. If quality is your first and foremost concern, opt for SunPower.

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Warranties Offered: SunPower Vs. Tesla

Since solar equipment is so expensive, every customer should carefully consider the included warranty coverage. Solar warranties can cover equipment damage, issues caused by poor installation and the performance of the panels. The more comprehensive the coverage, the better.

SunPower offers one of the best warranty coverage packages available. It protects the equipment (including panels, batteries and microinverters), efficiency and workmanship, all for 25 years. 

It guarantees a minimal degradation rate for its solar inverters, panels and other clean energy equipment (see below). Most customers report that product warranty claims are easy to file and are responded to quickly.

high efficiency solar panel maxeon annual degradation rates
Courtesy: SunPower

Tesla offers a 25-year panel performance warranty and a 10-year workmanship warranty. This pales in comparison to SunPower’s and doesn’t provide the same peace of mind.

Our Pick For Best Warranties – SunPower

SunPower is the clear winner in terms of warranty coverage. The company has one of the most sought-after warranty packages available for home solar systems. It’s especially great if you live in areas that experience low-sunlight conditions or extreme weather.

Coverage Area: SunPower vs Tesla

SunPower and Tesla both have service areas that span the entire U.S., so just about every solar customer in the country will be able to receive products or services from either of these companies.

As mentioned above, SunPower is working on converting its business to all in-house installations. However, at the moment, both companies outsource most of their projects, with Tesla outsourcing all of them.

Our Pick For Best Coverage Area – Tie

SunPower and Tesla are tied when it comes to coverage area, with both companies maintaining impressive nationwide coverage.

Solar Panel Performance: SunPower Vs. Tesla

SunPower and Tesla are both widely revered in the industry for their highly efficient equipment that outperforms many competitors. The table below provides a side-by-side look at the panels manufactured by each company.

If you’re looking for the best panels money can buy, SunPower solar panels are your best option. These are considered the best solar products for energy production for residential rooftop solar panel systems, and they’re backed by an industry-leading product warranty.

Manufacturer Efficiency Warranty Length Durability Size Best For
SunPower Panels Maxeon
(the former manufacturing arm of SunPower)
Ranges from 19% up to 22.7%, depending on product line 25-year performance,
product and workmanship warranties
High 320 watts up to 435 watts, depending on product line Customers who want maximum efficiency and performance at any cost
Tesla Solar Panels Tesla Efficiency specs are not available 25-year performance warranty,
10-year workmanship warranty
High 425 watts Customers looking for a nice blend of affordability and quality

Tesla manufactures high-quality panels as well, although the specifications for power production aren’t made available. The company is also better known for its energy storage products, mainly the Tesla Powerwall II battery. This is one of the best solar batteries in the industry.

Our Pick For Best Panel Performance – SunPower

Although both of these companies install tier-one, monocrystalline solar panels that are capable of outstanding production, we have to go with SunPower for overall performance. 

SunPower’s panels are recognized as the most efficient and reliable, have performance and sustainability specs listed online and come in several size and power options suitable for most home solar projects.

Learn More About Best Solar Panels by Watt

Customer Experience: SunPower Vs. Tesla

Since SunPower and Tesla are both massive companies, most customers will understandably be concerned with the customer service that each brings to the table. 

Overall, SunPower has better reviews, backed primarily by its strong warranty coverage and quality of both equipment and workmanship.

There are both good and bad reviews for Tesla, but it’s a bit more of a gamble as to the quality of service you’ll receive.

With that being said, both companies outsource installations, which can lead to:

  • Poor communication with customers
  • A lack of professionalism on the part of the installer
  • Delays in installation timelines
  • Delays in connecting your system to the grid

What Customers Say About SunPower

SunPower maintains generally positive reviews from customers online. Many customers love how efficient the products are and how quickly the installation team can get them installed and connected to the power grid. 

Positive reviews also mention that warranty claims are usually responded to quickly and professionally.

Of course, the company has also accrued some negative reviews, most of which seem to stem from third-party installers that provide less-than-ideal service. Some complaints include a lack of communication between SunPower and the homeowner or between SunPower and the permitting office, as well as a lack of professionalism during installation.

Below, we’ll include some reviews for SunPower that capture the overall experience you can expect from this company.

“The most disappointing thing was their lack of customer service. It would go weeks without getting an email back or a phone call every time I would reach out to them…I probably made 40 calls and 15 emails in the 4.5 months of trying to get the job completed. 

When they did the installation, it wasn’t complete. They had to return to fix conduit work and after asking them to paint the conduit (4-5 times) they finally did but got paint on the concrete and did a sloppy job.”

— Sean J. via Yelp

“SunPower was extremely knowledgeable about the system…they set up the panels, the monitoring system and helped with the setup of the monitoring app. Explaining everything from how to reach out to SunPower for support (in the event of any issues cropping up) to details about how much each panel is expected to produce, how much it is currently producing, how to maximize production per panel and also how to identify the best time of day through the year to use power to reduce reliance on the grid and cut down on electricity costs.”

— Dennis V. via Yelp

What Customers Say About Tesla

Tesla also has mixed reviews, in large part because the customer experience depends on the quality of the third-party installer assigned to your project.

Many of the positive reviews mention good communication and knowledge about the system and the process. Some customers even mention that Tesla reps have been able to assist with taking advantage of solar incentives, like the federal tax credit.

Tesla also has many negative reviews as well. Many customers complain that the installation crew lacks professionalism and doesn’t respond to warranty claims in a timely manner. Some reviews mention poor performance of equipment which goes unfixed for weeks or, in some cases, months on end.

Below are some reviews of Tesla Solar to give you an idea of the experience you’re likely to have.

“Tesla had data that I could compare with the first two companies I had been considering. Tesla Energy Solar, had the statistics and details for me to ultimately negotiate the deal. Once I made my decision, the professional workmanship and wonderful customer service has been second to none. The install team really takes pride in their craft, and the communication has been first rate. I wholly recommend Tesla Energy Solar.”

— Al H. via Yelp

“What’s one more one-star review? Tesla’s customer service is non-existent. My Tesla solar system only worked for two days before it went down. I reported the problem and was told I would receive an email within 24hr form customer service. Then I was told 7 day, next 12 days, and finally they told me that they have no timeline. It’s been a month now and they haven’t even looked at it remotely, never mind sending someone out.”

— Felix M. via Yelp

Our Pick for Best Customer Experience – SunPower

Both SunPower and Tesla come with their downsides when it comes to customer experience. Both companies outsource installations, which can lead to varying levels of professionalism and communication. 

We recommend SunPower over Tesla, as the company maintains more positive reviews. However, it only wins by a small margin.

Final Verdict: SunPower Vs. Tesla

Generally speaking, we recommend SunPower over Tesla. 

SunPower has some of the best equipment available, and it comes backed by a much longer and more comprehensive warranty than Tesla’s solar panels. SunPower will have a higher upfront system cost, but the quality still makes the larger investment well worth it.

The table below provides a quick look at how these companies stack up against each other.

Our Top Pick: SunPower

In our opinion, SunPower is the better option between the two. The company has more positive reviews, a better warranty and offers specs for its panels that confirm they are some of the most efficient options available, making them suitable for all system sizes.

Blog author image

Dan Simms

Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.