Tesla Solar Vs. Trinity Solar: Which Company Is Better?
By Dan Simms /
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Tesla Solar vs. Trinity Solar provider comparison:
Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
With clean energy solutions becoming more and more popular, countless homeowners are searching for a reliable solar contractor to design and install a solar energy system for them. Which company you pick for the job might not seem like an important choice, but it absolutely is.
The installer you choose for your solar energy system will determine your initial cost of going solar, the efficiency of your equipment and its ability to meet your energy needs, how much you save in the long run, and much more.
In this article, we’ll be comparing Trinity Solar and Vivint Solar based on some of the most important criteria for your solar decision, including cost, value, customer service, and more.
Along with companies like SunPower, Momentum Solar, and SolarCity (now Tesla), Trinity Solar and Vivint are some of the largest solar providers in the country.
Trinity Solar is one of the more popular regional installers in the U.S., and Vivint (now Sunrun Inc. — we’ll continue to refer to it as Vivint) is one of the largest and most prevalent national solar installers. Since these solar installation companies will appeal to millions of customers, we think it’s important to compare them and help our readers decide which is the better option for them.
|Company||Brand Is Best For||Price||Warranty Coverage||States Served||BBB Rating||Payment Options||Solar Services Offered|
|Trinity Solar||The overall quality and customer service||$$$||25 years for equipment and 5 years for workmanship||9 states||A+||Cash, loans||Solar panels, solar battery storage, EV chargers, solar monitoring|
|Vivint||Leases and affordability||$$||25-year performance and manufacturer’s warranty (dependent on financing method)||20 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico||A-||Cash, solar loans, leases, PPAs||Solar panels, backup battery, and EV charger installations; solar monitoring|
Trinity Solar started in the late 1990s as a small family-owned HVAC company. In the early 2000s, it changed gears and became a dedicated solar installer. Despite a change in its business model and subsequent rapid expansion, it’s maintained the outstanding customer service you’d expect from a smaller company.
Trinity is best known for its customer service, but it also provides high-quality, durable solar equipment that stands out for its performance.
Its warranty coverage isn’t the best, but the company’s commitment to responding quickly to claims means you get great protection for as long as the coverage lasts.
Vivint solar had its beginnings in Utah in 1999. Through aggressive door-to-door marketing tactics, it quickly grew to become a nationwide solar panel company.
The company is best known for its leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), which it promotes by offering outstanding coverage packages for these payment options only.
Unfortunately, Vivint ran into some legal issues due to poor customer service and misleading marketing practices. It was acquired by Sunrun — another national solar installer — in 2020 and now operates under that name.
While going solar will usually save you money on your energy bills in the long run, the up-front cost is typically quite steep. Most homeowners will look first at system prices from the companies they’re considering, which can vary quite a bit. We’ll explain why in the sections below and compare the pricing offered by Trinity and Vivint.
Prices charged by solar installers will fluctuate primarily due to the different types and brands of equipment they offer. Companies that carry and install high-quality, high-efficiency photovoltaic equipment will usually come with higher costs. However, this equipment can often produce more electricity and save you more on utility bills in the long run.
Solar installers also each have their own pricing for the labor involved in installing solar products. Labor charges can swing your total price by hundreds or thousands of dollars, with higher prices usually equating to better customer service.
Finally, the financing options offered by solar companies can affect your current and future costs of going solar. The options, along with their upsides and downsides, are as follows:
Trinity Solar doesn’t publicize the solar equipment brands it installs. It does offer only tier-one, monocrystalline panels, but the brand specifics are unavailable. The overall quality is high, and the price comes in around average.
Vivint’s prices are below average, so a solar power system from this company will usually be more affordable than from Trinity. It installs the following equipment brands:
One additional thing to consider is that Trinity only accepts cash purchases and solar financing, while Vivint accepts both of these options plus leases and PPAs. Vivint has these additional options to keep renewable energy solutions more accessible and is also a bit less expensive, although we don’t recommend leases or PPAs in most cases.
Both companies offer free quotes and deliver good quality. However, Vivint is the clear winner when it comes to solar system cost. This solar energy company has below-average pricing overall, and it also has more affordable and accessible financing options, including leases and PPAs.
Since solar equipment is so expensive — systems come in at around $16,500 on average after the federal solar tax credit is accounted for — most customers will look for good warranty coverage to ensure their investment is protected. Solar warranties typically cover the equipment, panel efficiency, workmanship or a combination of the three.
Trinity Solar offers a 25-year equipment warranty, which is the industry standard. Unfortunately, there is no performance guarantee, and the workmanship warranty only lasts for five years.
Vivint only provides the manufacturer’s warranty on solar equipment if you purchase or finance your panels.
However, if you choose a lease or PPA — neither of which is advisable — the company offers a 25-year warranty for equipment damage, power production, workmanship, and roof leaks. This is one way Vivint incentivizes leases and PPAs.
Neither of these is the best solar company for warranty coverage, as both lack an efficiency warranty. If you’re purchasing your panels, Trinity has a superior warranty that covers workmanship for five years. If you’re leasing, Vivint offers better coverage, although this payment option isn’t recommended.
Most solar companies don’t provide nationwide coverage, so it’s a good idea to look into a provider’s service area to see if it can even serve you. This can save you time researching and comparing companies.
Trinity Solar is a regional company that currently serves nine states. including:
Vivint — now Sunrun — serves 20 states, including:
Vivint also covers Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Vivint has more than double the coverage of Trinity Solar, so going by service area alone, Vivint is the clear winner.
Solar panel performance might seem like a minor aspect of your solar decision, but it’s actually quite important. Ultimately, the energy efficiency of your solar system determines how much electricity your panels produce and how much you save long-term on your electric bills from your utility company.
Trinity doesn’t publicize any information on the brands of panels, inverters, microinverters, or batteries it installs, so we can’t compare the brands Trinity and Vivint install, although Vivint does publicize the equipment brands it carries.
However, both companies only install monocrystalline, tier-one panels, so it’s likely that the performance is similar to the best solar panels offered by each.
While it’s hard to compare the performance of these companies’ brands due to a lack of information, it does seem clear from company reviews and consumer reports that they’re about equal in terms of efficiency.
Customer service is important no matter what industry you’re discussing, but it’s especially crucial in the solar industry. Not only can a positive experience leave you satisfied with the installation process, but good customer service generally means you’re more likely to get a solution to any issues you have with your system after the solar panel installation is completed.
In the sections below, we’ll discuss what kind of service you can expect from Trinity Solar and Vivint.
Trinity Solar is a family-owned company that prides itself on delivering quality customer service. For the most part, the company does exactly that. Most customers are pleased with the communication and service they receive, and many customer reviews mention positive things, including:
Of course, the company also has some negative reviews. Some customers complain about delays in response times due to the size of the company, although these are mostly outweighed by positive comments.
Below are some Trinity Solar reviews we found online.
“Trinity Solar gave me a great customer service experience. I would like to shout out to some of the people who went above and beyond. Eva was so polite and jumped right on top of all my concerns making it a pleasurable experience. Brian had all my information ready and was very professional. And lastly, thank you to my sales rep for coming through for me and making my solar experience better than I could have ever imagined. I recommend this product to anyone.” — Adam V. via Better Business Bureau (BBB)
“I had high hopes for Trinity. A family member used them and loved his solar panels. The customer service with this company is absolutely terrible. We don’t hear from anyone unless we reach out. It’s now 3 months after our panels were installed and I am still paying an electric bill to our electric company. I have yet to see the benefit of my solar panels. In our experience, I honestly would not recommend this company to anyone. The $1500 referral bonus isn’t even worth the aggravation.” — Danielle G. via BBB
Unfortunately, Vivint has a longstanding reputation for poor customer service. The company was facing several lawsuits that ultimately led to Sunrun purchasing the company outright. Many of the negative customer reviews mention things like:
Some customers were pleased with the service they received from Vivint and currently receive from Sunrun. The experience seems to depend on the situation and the representatives assigned to your solar project.
Below are some customer reviews of Vivint/Sunrun.
“We are delighted with our new solar system. Although the initial cost may have been slightly higher than other vendors, the entire process was efficiently handled by Sunrun. They were responsive to any inquiry and communicated frequently about the next steps. From planning to activation went off without a hitch. We heartily recommend Sunrun to our friends and neighbors.” — Nancy N. via Better Business Bureau (BBB)
“They have horrible customer service. We have been calling and calling to have someone look at our panels that produced 1/4 of what they did the year before…Still to this day our panels do not produce what is in [the] contract, even after adding a second system. Wish I would’ve never been a Vivint customer.” — Taylor W. via BBB
This news story also provides a snapshot of the poor customer support Vivint — now Sunrun — delivers
Both Trinity and Sunrun have their upsides and downsides when it comes to customer experience and customer service, but Trinity provides far better customer service — especially after the installation process when it’s needed most.
We would recommend Trinity Solar over Vivint for most customers. The table below provides a side-by-side look at these companies and should provide some insight into why Trinity Solar is a better option overall.
Trinity Solar is a far better company in our book. It has superior warranty coverage, prioritizes cash purchases and solar loans (which are more beneficial to solar customers), and provides better customer service.
Trinity Solar is a bit more expensive, but the quality and peace of mind you get are well worth the extra money.
Comparing authorized solar partners
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