Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar: Which Company Is Better?
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Tesla Solar vs. Trinity Solar provider comparison:
- Is Tesla Solar or Trinity Solar a better option for solar panels?
- Which company is cheaper: Tesla Solar or Trinity Solar?
- Is Tesla’s warranty better than Trinity Solar’s?
- And much more
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- Price-match guarantee
- Sleek, efficient and durable solar panels
- Best solar battery on the market
- Some reported issues with customer service
- Customer service varies by local dealer
- Solar Panels
- Solar Batteries
- EV Chargers
- Solar Roof Shingles
- System Monitoring
Overview: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
Tesla and Trinity Solar are very popular options for going solar, and their service areas are large. Since they can both service countless customers and will likely be contenders for many homeowners, we think it’s important to compare them and explain the upsides and drawbacks of working with both companies.
|Company||Brand Is Best For||Price||Warranty Coverage||States Served||BBB Rating||Payment Options||Solar Services Offered|
|Tesla Solar||Wide Coverage Area and Affordability||$$||25 years for equipment, 10 years for installation||50 states||B||Cash, solar loan||Solar panels, solar energy storage, EV chargers, solar shingles, solar system monitoring|
|Trinity Solar||Positive Customer Experience||$$$||25 years for equipment and 5 years for workmanship||9 states||A+||Cash, loans||Solar panels, solar battery storage, EV chargers, solar monitoring|
Tesla Solar Overview
Tesla — the same luxury electric vehicle (EV) company owned by Elon Musk — is a nationwide solar installer that manufactures high-quality solar panels, solar roof shingles, and solar batteries (the Tesla Powerwall).
The company began in 2003 in California, focusing its efforts on EVs, but it purchased SolarCity in 2016 and entered the solar industry around the same time. It now serves all 50 states through a network of third-party installers.
Tesla is one of the best solar companies for technology, although its outsourcing business model means the customer service is subpar in many cases.
Trinity Solar Overview
Trinity Solar has been serving solar customers since the early 2000s, before which it was a family-owned HVAC company. After entering the solar industry, it quickly expanded to serve nine states and is now one of the more popular regional installers in the country.
Trinity Solar sets itself apart from Tesla with its in-house installation team, which helps the company provide superior customer service in most cases. It doesn’t manufacture its own solar equipment, though.
Cost Comparison: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
Many solar customers don’t realize that the installer they choose can have a dramatic impact on the price they pay to install their solar energy system. In the sections below, we’ll explain why prices differ between installers, and we’ll get into how Tesla and Trinity compare in terms of pricing.
Costs & Financing Options
One reason costs vary among providers is the quality of the equipment they provide. Solar panel companies that install high-efficiency panels, microinverters/inverters, and batteries will naturally cost more than those that install lower-efficiency or lower-quality brands.
Labor costs can vary among companies as well. For example, Tesla outsources installations to third parties and is able to keep costs low by doing so.
Trinity Solar’s labor charges tend to be a bit higher because it manages a team of in-house installers, which is inherently more costly.
Finally, the financing options made available to you can have an effect on your up-front costs, your total solar panel system cost, and your energy savings. We’ll list the available financing options below, along with a brief explanation of how each affects your rooftop solar system cost:
- Cash purchase: Highest cost up front but maximum long-term savings on electric bills because you’re not making system payments
- Solar loan: Much lower cost up front but also lower long-term savings and higher overall cost due to interest
- Solar lease: Little to no up-front cost but minimal savings over time
- Power purchase agreement (PPA): Similar to leases
Which Company Is Cheapest, Tesla Solar or Trinity Solar?
Tesla only installs its own equipment, which is on the expensive side. However, the company offers price matching to maintain affordability and accessibility to its solar products.
Trinity Solar doesn’t publicize the equipment brands it uses, but it does note that it only installs tier-one monocrystalline panels. The likelihood is that these panels are on par with Tesla’s, but they are also likely to be more costly because the company doesn’t match competitor prices.
There are reports of the company installing these brands:
- SunPower (Maxeon panels)
Both Tesla and Trinity deal only with cash purchases and solar loans, so they’ll be a bit more costly upfront than other solar energy companies that accept leases and PPAs — like Sunrun and SunPower.
Our Pick for Best by Cost – Tesla
Tesla and Trinity Solar are both similar in cost at face value, especially since they accept the same payment options. However, Tesla matches competitor prices, so it will often be at least slightly more affordable than Trinity.
Warranties Offered: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
The warranties you receive for your solar power system should play a role in which provider you choose. The coverage can help protect your investment in renewable energy and guarantee that your equipment functions as it should for years after it’s installed.
Tesla provides a 25-year warranty for its equipment and a 10-year workmanship warranty. The workmanship coverage is much lower than the industry average of 25 years, and there is no guarantee for power production.
Trinity Solar provides even less coverage with a 25-year product warranty and just five years of coverage for workmanship. This company also provides no guarantee for power production or efficiency.
Our Pick for Best Warranties – Tesla
Although neither Tesla nor Trinity is the best solar company for warranty coverage, Tesla’s warranty package is a bit better. It matches Trinity’s options but adds five years of coverage to the workmanship. We should note that Trinity has a better reputation for responding to warranty claims, though.
Coverage Area: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
Considering the coverage area of a solar installation company can determine if the provider will be able to serve you at all. Of course, this is an important thing to consider, and companies with larger footprints will be more appealing to more customers.
As mentioned previously, Tesla uses third-party installers to provide access to clean energy in all 50 states. All homeowners in the U.S. can go solar with Tesla, which is a huge deal.
Trinity Solar is a much smaller operation that uses an in-house installation team. The company currently only operates in nine states, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Our Pick for Best Coverage Area – Tesla
As a nationwide solar installer, Tesla is the clear winner when it comes to the service area.
Solar Panel Performance: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
The energy efficiency of your solar panels and other equipment is hugely important because it determines how much of your energy bill you can offset with solar energy — especially if your utility company doesn’t offer net metering. Ultimately, panel performance can affect your long-term energy savings and how quickly you pay off your system.
Tesla doesn’t post efficiency ratings for its solar panels or solar roofs. Trinity Solar doesn’t publicize the equipment brands it uses.
While it’s hard to say exactly how these companies stack up in terms of panel performance, the quality of the equipment is similar, and the efficiency is also very likely about the same. Most customers with average energy usage report that the panels from both companies meet their energy needs.
Our Pick for Best Panel Performance – Tie
Since neither company has performance specifications available for its equipment, we can only assume that they are similarly based on customer reports of power production. It’s safe to say that Tesla and Trinity Solar are about tied when it comes to panel performance.
Customer Experience: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
Another important consideration when choosing a solar installer is its customer service. The customer support a company provides affects your overall experience, but it can also have an impact on your long-term system cost and how well your system functions after the installation process.
In the sections below, we’ll provide some information about how each of these companies handles customer issues and the service each provides.
What Customers Say About Tesla Solar
Since Tesla outsources installations, it loses a lot of control over the customer experience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, it has a reputation for poor customer service. Many of the customer complaints include mentions of these issues:
- Poor communication from the installer
- Delays in the installation and connection to the power grid
- A lack of professionalism from the installation team
- Slow response times to warranty claims and system issues
The experience you have with Tesla seems to depend largely on the installer assigned to your project, though. Many customers also report positive experiences and great customer service.
We’ll include some customer reviews for Tesla below to give you an idea of what to expect.
“Loved that they showed up with their mask and protection equipment and on time every day. They were really clean and organized and respectful at all times. The installation process was easy thanks to the crew. [They answered] every single [question] I asked in a professional manner. I highly recommend this team.” — K.C. via Yelp
“Well, now it’s been almost a year since the panels were installed on my roof, and they are still not hooked up…Tesla was incredibly attentive until they got the panels mounted on my roof, then they just disappeared. I can only imagine they did this so I couldn’t go with another company. I’d ask them, but they don’t answer my emails or calls anymore.” — Jennifer P. via Yelp.
What Customers Say About Trinity Solar
As a much smaller company that operates with its own installation team, Trinity has a much better reputation for customer service.
Countless customers rave about:
- The professionalism of the crew
- How the installation team is respectful of personal property
- The knowledgeability of the team
- The company’s willingness to help take advantage of solar incentives like the federal tax credit
Once again, though, the experience depends on the project manager and installation team you get. Plenty of customers also complain about a lack of response from the company, delays dealing with warranty claims, and an overall poor customer experience.
Below are some reviews for Trinity Solar that should elucidate the experience you can expect.
“Trinity was very responsive when I had questions about my eight-year-old installation. My technical questions were answered professionally and on a timely basis. The system has performed perfectly and as expected.” — Norm C. via Better Business Bureau (BBB)
“Trinity Solar put equipment on the wrong side of my house which had to be moved. In doing this they put holes in the ceiling sheetrock in my basement and a hole in my foundation. I tried to change my lease agreement and pay off the system instead and they would not work with me. Do not do business with this company. They are sloppy and greedy.” — Rhona W. via BBB
Our Pick for Best Customer Experience – Trinity Solar
Neither of these providers is the best solar company to work with if you want quality customer service. However, Trinity Solar handles installations in-house and generally provides a better experience.
Based on reviews, it seems more customers are willing to give referrals to Trinity than to Tesla.
Final Verdict: Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar
Overall, we recommend Trinity Solar over Tesla.
Both companies are about equal in terms of panel performance. Although Trinity has a slightly less impressive workmanship warranty, the company is also more likely to respond to claims and provides better customer service overall.
Our Top Pick: Trinity Solar
We recommend Trinity Solar over Tesla for most homeowners. The company has better customer service and offers more options for solar equipment brands. It also provides a more localized experience via its own installation team.