SunPower Vs. Trinity Solar: Which Company Is Better? (2023)
By Dan Simms /
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Sunrun vs. Trinity Solar provider comparison:
If you’ve been looking for an affordable solar installer to handle your solar system installation, the likelihood is that you’ve come across both Sunrun and Tesla Solar.
These are two of the biggest names in the solar industry, and their service areas are massive.
Both companies have their benefits and drawbacks, and there’s a lot of information out there to sift through for both options.
In this guide, we’ll compare Sunrun and Tesla Solar based on a few of the most important factors you should consider. We’ll explain why we think Tesla is a better option overall and how to decide which one is best for your purposes.
Together, SunRun and Trinity Solar cover a big chunk of the U.S., which means a large number of customers will likely be considering these installation companies. We think it’s important to see how these installers stack up against each other so that you can make an informed decision about which option you choose for your home.
|Solar Company||Brand Is Best For||Price||Warranty Coverage||States Served||BBB Rating||Payment Options||Solar Services Offered|
|Sunrun||Leases and affordability||$$||10 years for a roof leak, 25 years for performance, and a manufacturer’s warranty||20 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico||A-||Cash, solar loans, leases, PPAs||Solar panels, solar energy storage, EV chargers, energy efficiency monitoring|
|Trinity Solar||Experience and Service||$$$||25 years for equipment and 5 years for workmanship||9 states||A+||Cash, loans||Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers, solar monitoring|
Sunrun has been a major player in the solar industry since 2007. After acquiring Vivint Solar, it now serves nearly half the country and has provided affordable photovoltaic equipment — including panels, inverters, batteries, and EV chargers — to countless customers. It recently announced a partnership with Tesla Solar to provide access to Tesla Powerwalls.
Sunrun is one of the larger advocates for solar leases, which we generally don’t recommend, but this option makes solar accessible to more homeowners. It provides an affordable option with no up-front payment that promotes affordable conversion to renewable energy.
Sunrun has historically had issues with customer service, primarily because it outsources installations to third-party companies.
Trinity Solar is a family-owned regional company with a much smaller footprint than Sunrun. Despite its smaller size, it still struggles with maintaining quality customer service.
Trinity Solar doesn’t support solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), so it’s a bit less accessible than Sunrun. It also tends to be a bit more expensive, making it appealing to fewer customers.
Trinity Solar has accumulated over two decades of experience since it was founded in 1996. It backs its work with better warranty coverage than Sunrun as well, and it handles the installation process in-house.
Since solar equipment averages over $25,000 throughout the country, the cost of your solar power system is an important factor to consider when choosing an installer. This is especially true because prices for equipment and labor can vary widely among companies.
We’ll compare the cost and affordability of Sunrun and Trinity below.
The price you pay for your solar equipment can vary quite a lot among installers. Prices differ for a few reasons.
First, each company provides specific equipment brands, some of which are more expensive because they have lengthier warranties and/or superior efficiency and quality.
Second, companies can charge different prices for labor. Sunrun, a large company that outsources installations, can afford to charge less for them. Trinity manages its own installation team, which is inherently more expensive.
Sunrun is one of the more affordable national solar companies, with prices falling below the average in most cases. To improve solar accessibility, the company also accepts all financing options, including:
Trinity Solar doesn’t accept leases or PPAs, so it will almost always involve a bigger cash layout upfront. Plus, its prices are a bit higher on average. This could be due to different equipment brands offered or the superior warranty coverage it includes.
If you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum, Sunrun is likely the better option. This company is more affordable, on average, and has no money-down purchase options. It’s best to get free quotes from both companies to compare, though.
Solar warranties provide peace of mind that your equipment will function properly, and it also saves you from potentially costly repairs if anything goes wrong. Longer and more comprehensive warranties will always be better, especially when they cover equipment worth thousands of dollars.
Sunrun provides an equipment warranty of between 10 and 25 years, as well as a 25-year performance warranty. If you lease your solar energy system, it offers a much better warranty that covers the workmanship, equipment, energy production, and roof shingle leaks.
Trinity Solar provides a 25-year warranty for all equipment, plus a workmanship warranty for five years. The workmanship warranty is below the industry standard, but Sunrun doesn’t have one at all.
It’s tough to say which company is better for warranty coverage overall. Sunrun has a performance warranty, while Trinity doesn’t, but Trinity has a workmanship warranty, while Sunrun doesn’t. Trinity has a better equipment warranty in most cases, but Sunrun offers an outstanding warranty for leased solar power systems.
Overall, we’d say these companies are about even when it comes to warranties.
Companies with larger coverage areas will naturally appeal to more homeowners. While both of these brands are large, Sunrun has a much more impressive service area.
Sunrun covers 20 states, listed below, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Here’s a full list:
Trinity Solar serves nine states, including:
Sunrun is the clear winner when it comes to service areas. It serves nearly three times as many states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
When it comes to the equipment provided, both companies install tier-one monocrystalline solar panels. Sunrun installs equipment from four manufacturers, including:
Trinity Solar doesn’t publish its product offerings, but it does note that it installs only high-quality, high-efficiency equipment. It is known to favor Qcells as a brand as well.
Overall, the customer reception to both companies’ products is about the same. Many customers note that the power production meets their expectations and energy needs and helps eliminate electric bills immediately after connection to the grid. Still, the options available are far from the best solar panels in the industry.
While it’s not possible to compare these companies across the board since Trinity doesn’t publicize its offered panel brands, we score these companies about even when it comes to general solar system performance.
It’s always important to consider the customer experience that solar companies provide. With clean energy becoming more popular, there is an abundance of companies that provide below-average customer service in an attempt to capitalize on the demand and turn a profit.
In the sections below, we’ll provide a breakdown of how customers review both of these installers and a snapshot of the customer service you can expect from each.
Unfortunately, Sunrun has had many issues with customer service in the past, likely due to the outsourcing model it uses for solar panel installations.
Many customers have complained about aggressive and sometimes misleading sales tactics. This could be a result of the company pushing solar leases, which are far less beneficial for customers than cash purchases or financed systems.
Some customers also complain about poor customer service in general, including delays in installations and slow response times to warranty claims.
That being said, some customers are pleased, which means your experience will likely depend on the third-party installer you get.
Below are some telling customer reviews we found online for Sunrun:
“We had panels that were broken and not producing energy. We have been trying to get new panels installed since June 2021. I keep calling customer service. They inform me that they have forwarded my concern to whoever is in charge of the installation. No response! I was even assigned [a] “case worker.” No response after numerous inquiries regarding the status of my installation work order. Frustrated, annoyed, disappointed, and angry.” — Joseph O. via Better Business Bureau (BBB)
“The employees were helpful, prompt, knowledgeable, and friendly. They 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 A. via BBB
For more information on the service issues surrounding Sunrun’s work, you can check out this news story about displeased Sunrun customers:
Unfortunately, many of the reviews for Trinity Solar are also negative. Customers complain about a lack of communication within and from the company, leading to the following issues:
Similar to Sunrun, some customers are evidently pleased with the service they receive from Trinity Solar. Those who review the company positively mention how professional and knowledgeable the sales and installation teams are.
Some customers note that the company is even helpful in applying for solar incentives and rebates, like the federal tax credit.
Below are some reviews of Trinity Solar, which should give you an idea of what to expect from this solar energy company.
“Will never recommend or refer these people to anyone. I had a huge problem the day the solar panels were […] installed. They had left everything on and running outside and the old meter had not been replaced yet. It recorded solar production and usage, so when I got an invoice from National Grid it was through the roof — about three times higher than my average per month. After countless phone calls back and forth, the problem was not resolved.” — Andrew P. via BBB
“I am a Trinity Solar customer. From the first day of discussion until now the service I am getting from my account manager [has] been exceptional. Always responds promptly, gives responses to all queries, and facilitates required solutions. I strongly recommend their service as the installation was hassle-free and delivered on time. So far, it’s working as expected.” — Vipin K. via BBB
Both Sunrun and Trinity have lots of positive and negative reviews, and both have had a history of customer service issues. Trinity Solar generally has better customer reviews overall, so it beats out Sunrun in terms of customer experience.
Generally speaking, we don’t recommend either of these companies. Both have issues with customer service and don’t offer the best warranty coverage.
While they’re both quite affordable, neither provides great value for the money. We’d sooner recommend companies like SunPower, Momentum Solar, or Tesla, which also aren’t the best solar companies but offer far better quality and consistency within similar geographic service areas.
If we had to choose one over the other, though, we’d recommend Trinity Solar over Sunrun.
Overall, we think Trinity is marginally a better option. It has a better warranty for purchased solar panel systems and a reputation for slightly better customer service. It also doesn’t push solar leases, which are less beneficial for customers and can sometimes be considered misleading.
Comparing authorized solar partners
Having trouble deciding? Click below and use our process to receive multiple quotes instead: