Sunrun Vs. SunPower: Which Company Is Better? [2022 Guide]
Here’s what we’ll cover in this solar provider comparison:
- How does Sunrun compare to SunPower?
- Sunrun vs. SunPower: Which has lower costs?
- Does Sunrun or SunPower offer better warranties?
- And much more
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Overview: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
We think it’s important to compare Sunrun and SunPower because these are two of the country’s largest and most well-known residential solar panel installation companies.
Most solar customers are likely to consider these solar companies at some point in their decision process, so this article will serve as a guide to help homeowners decide which is right for them.
|Company||Brand Is Best For||Price||Warranty Coverage||States Served||BBB Rating||Payment Options||Solar Services Offered|
|Sunrun||Leases and affordability||$$||25-year performance and manufacturing;
10-year roof leak warranty
solar battery and electric vehicle (EV) chargers,
|SunPower||Overall quality and
|$$$$||25-year performance, manufacturing and workmanship warranties||50 states||A+||Cash,
solar battery and electric vehicle (EV) chargers,
Sunrun Solar Overview
Sunrun was founded in 2007, and it has since become one of the largest and most recognizable names in renewable energy — especially after purchasing Vivint Solar. It is perhaps best known for its solar leasing and power purchase agreement (PPA) options, which provide a no-money-down option for solar customers.
There are a few downsides to working with Sunrun, including its history of mixed customer reviews, poor customer service and the push for leases. Solar leasing works well for some customers looking for quick and affordable access to clean energy, but in the long run, this option benefits the company more than the customer.
Sunrun has its upsides as well, including easy access to solar, a massive service area and access to tier-one solar panel brands.
SunPower has been serving the solar industry since 1985, so it has decades of experience and success behind it. It installs some of the best solar panels with the highest efficiency ratings in the industry. It has since moved manufacturing to its sister company, Maxeon Solar, in order to focus its resources into its residential installation network.
Choosing SunPower for your solar installation means committing to some of the highest-quality solar cells and technologies in the industry. It also means that you’ll get one of the most comprehensive and long-lasting solar warranties available.
Of course, SunPower isn’t a perfect company. It outsources many installations via its network of certified installers, which can detract from personalized customer service in some cases. It also comes at a higher price than most other installers, but the equipment quality is outstanding.
Cost Comparison: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
Solar panels are expensive no matter where you live, so it’s important to consider the pricing of any solar company before committing to its services. We’ll include some pricing information for both Sunrun and SunPower in the sections below.
Costs And Financing Options
When it comes to cost, SunPower will typically be more expensive than Sunrun. SunPower panels usually cost between $2.85 and $3.25 per watt, which is well above the national average. Sunrun usually comes in around the average of $2.66 in most areas.
It’s important to note, however, that the panels provided by SunPower are some of the most high-efficiency and high-quality options on the market, so the quality for the price is far better than Sunrun, despite being more expensive upfront.
Both Sunrun and SunPower make solar accessible by accepting the following payment options:
- Cash payments
- Solar loans
- Lease options
- Power purchase agreements
We like the fact that SunPower offers its own in-house solar financing options with low-annual percentage rate (APR) loans for qualifying U.S. residential customers. Sunrun’s business model on the other hand focuses more on selling solar leases, which are less beneficial to the customer.
While we typically only recommend cash payments and solar loans, however, leases and PPAs are viable options that make solar accessible to virtually all homeowners.
Which Company is Cheapest, Sunrun or SunPower?
As mentioned above, Sunrun will almost always be cheaper from an upfront-cost standpoint. Sunrun is usually priced at or below average for the areas they are available, while SunPower comes in above the average.
However, since SunPower’s Maxeon panels are much more efficient, it’s possible that they will save you more money in energy savings over time. In other words, with SunPower panels, you get more bang for your buck.
SunPower will usually be more expensive upfront, but its panels are more likely to provide greater savings over time. This is especially true in areas where energy costs or energy needs are high or sunlight isn’t abundant or intense.
Our Pick For Best by Cost – Sunrun
If you’re comparing Sunrun and SunPower strictly based on cost, then Sunrun will win every time. Its panels will almost always be more affordable.
However, we recommend taking the value-to-cost ratio into consideration. In that case, SunPower is the clear winner.
Warranties Offered: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
Another important consideration to make is the warranty provided by each company. As you might already know, solar warranties cover the equipment, workmanship, energy production or some combination of all three. The more comprehensive the warranty, the better.
SunPower has a longer-lasting warranty (40 years in some cases), which means you and your home will be covered for longer. It covers the equipment, the workmanship and the power generation of its panels for 25 years. This is one of the best warranties in the industry.
With Sunrun installations, you’ll be covered by the solar panel manufacturer’s warranty for equipment, which lasts from 10 to 25 years, plus a performance warranty for 25 years. Sunrun also offers roof leak protection for 10 years, which is a nice incentive in some areas and something SunPower doesn’t always provide.
Our Pick For Best Warranties – SunPower
Overall, we recommend the SunPower warranty over the Sunrun warranty. SunPower has one of the leading warranty options in the industry, covering workmanship, equipment and energy production (less than an 8% decline in power production) for 25 years. The best part of the warranty is that, unlike Sunrun, all aspects are covered by the same company.
While Sunrun does include roof leak protection for 10 years, the warranties overall don’t last as long and will depend on the manufacturer of your panel. There are also some customer reports that suggest that warranty claims with Sunrun aren’t as straightforward as they should be.
Coverage Area: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
Coverage area is an important thing to consider, even for large national companies like Sunrun and SunPower. This can be an easy deciding factor when it comes to which company to choose, as both might not service your state.
Sunrun services 22 U.S. states and territories total, including:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- Washington D.C.
SunPower claims to service all 50 states, although U.S. territories are not included.
Our Pick For Best Coverage Area – SunPower
If you live in Puerto Rico, Sunrun is your only option among these two companies. However, SunPower covers all 50 states, so from a service area standpoint, SunPower is the clear winner.
Solar Panel Performance: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
In terms of the variety of solar panel brands offered, Sunrun takes the lead. Sunrun installs equipment from solar brands including LONGi and Costco. These are considered tier-one monocrystalline solar panels.
However, SunPower only installs panels manufactured by its sister company, Maxeon. These panels are considered the most efficient option on the market, and many people believe their high cost is well worth the investment.
Although the price tag is high upfront, a quick look at the reliability and long-term performance shows why SunPower is worth the money. Your panels will produce far more energy over their lifetimes, generating far more long-term savings for your investment.
Our Pick For Best Panel Performance – SunPower
In terms of options, Sunrun is a better choice, as you’ll be able to pick from a few panel brands. However, SunPower solar panels are the far superior choice, providing better efficiency and higher quality.
Customer Experience: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
When you’re choosing a company to install a multi-thousand-dollar solar energy system on your home, you’ll want one that will deliver good customer service and be responsive if you have issues after the installation.
SunPower has a much better reputation for customer service and warranty coverage than Sunrun, but both can come with their own downsides.
We’ll include some customer reviews for each company in the sections below to give you an idea of the service you can expect from each.
What Customers Say About Sunrun
Sunrun has a very troubled history when it comes to customer reviews. In fact, the majority are poor, suggesting that Sunrun has sacrificed quality and consistency for scalability.
Many of the customer complaints for Sunrun mention poor customer service and slow response times, especially with regard to resolving complaints. Confusion among the sales and installation teams along with issues regarding warranty coverage are some other common problems mentioned in customer reviews.
Of course, there are plenty of customers that have nothing but great things to say about Sunrun as well. It’s clear that the installer you get and the representative that handles your solar project have a major impact on your experience. Some people love:
- The flexibility of the installation team
- The overall low price of Sunrun’s equipment
- The wide range of services provided
- The affordable access to top-tier solar equipment
Below are some online customer reviews that capture what you can expect from Sunrun:
“I started the Sunrun process in December of 2021 and was told I would have solar by April. Now we are in August and no solar, no contact of clear information is being made. They hired a roof contractor to fix the roof and they broke the original tiles replacing them with discolored tiles (do not match). I have contacted the installation manager who provided me with a number that does not work. Sunrun is horrible. I have told others to choose a different company!”
—Antoinette via Better Business Bureau (BBB)
“The employees were helpful, prompt, knowledgeable, and friendly. The gave me tutorials all along, and the workmanship was excellent! We could not be more pleased with our experience with Sunrun. I very much recommend this company!”
— Kay via BBB
For additional information about the general disappointment among Sunrun customers, check out this video:
What Customers Say About SunPower
SunPower generally gets better customer reviews than Sunrun, especially when it comes to customers being pleased with the production and dip in their electric bills.
Positive reviews usually mention how efficient the panels are and how quickly the company responds to warranty claims. This is one major area where SunPower excels above Sunrun.
However, the company has garnered some negative reviews as well. SunPower still outsources many of its installations, so customer service can vary based on who is handling the work.
We’ll include some examples of customer praise and complaints below:
“This was probably the smartest choice I have made aside from purchasing my home. The only thing I did was secure my pets during installation and kick back and wait to save a ton of money. If you have concerns just reach out to your SunPower team let them know the problem. They’re the experts; let them handle your concern. Bottom line — keep paying your utility company or generate your own power along with a big tax break.”
— Fred B. via BBB
“Customer service is poor. I signed a contract for my panels and paid the deposit and after almost five months I can’t get any answers as to why I don’t have panels on my roof. Need to call several people before anyone calls me back. Same with emails. No one from management will talk to me. Just get the same runaround. Very poor customer service, they just don’t care.”
— Raymond via BBB
Our Pick for Best Customer Experience – SunPower
Both Sunrun and SunPower are massive companies, which means anyone can experience delays in response times or installations with either solar provider.
However, SunPower has a far better reputation for responding to and addressing warranty claims, so this company comes out ahead in terms of overall customer service and quality of experience.
Final Verdict: Sunrun Vs. SunPower
Overall, we strongly recommend SunPower over Sunrun. SunPower has far superior technology and warranty coverage, and although it’s a bit more expensive, customers tend to agree that the quality of the equipment and responsiveness of the team is well worth the added investment.
The table below provides a quick comparison of these two brands from a high-level view.
Our Top Pick: SunPower
Between these two companies, we would strongly recommend SunPower. This company has a better reputation for customer service, provides superior products and warranties and responds more quickly to warranty claims. The majority of customers rave about SunPower’s professionalism and expertise, as well as the quality of its equipment.