SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose?  - Climatebiz (2023)

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Robert Wortrich

Climatebiz Editor

Jul 6, 2022


SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (2)

SunPower vs. Sunrun —two giants at the forefront of the U.S. solar industry.

Both are known for their quality solar panels, battery systems, and other solar-related offerings.

But who are? Which company has the superior products? And above all, which of these solar providers are right for you?

This article will help familiarize you with each of the above companies by answering these questions and more!


Climatebiz experts design, research, fact-check & edit all work meticulously.

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Table of Contents

SunPower Vs. Sunrun

Solar Panel ManufacturingMaxeon Solar TechnologiesThird-Party Suppliers
Rating / Efficiency415W @ 22.3%N/A
Output Warranty25 yearsN/A
Output Guarantee92% of Rated PowerN/A
Solar Product Warranty25 yearsN/A
Warranty of Other ComponentsInverter (25 years)
Mount (25 years)
Monitoring System (10 years)
Energy Storage (10 years)

Getting To Know SunPower

SunPower was first established in 1985 by Richard Swanson, an electrical engineering professor from Stanford, and has been headquartered in Silicon Valley ever since.

The company provides green-tech energy solutions to consumers by selling, installing, and financing solar power products such as panels, batteries, monitoring software, and mounting hardware.

A point of pride for this solar giant is the fact that they’re the only U.S-based company that’s been around longer than its 25-year warranty.

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (4)


In August 2020, the SunPower Corporation made the decision to split into two separate public companies:

  • SunPower: responsible for supplying all solar-related services to customers.
  • Maxeon Solar: the company responsible for producing thehigh-efficiency solar panelsthat SunPower is known for
SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (5)

Maxeon Solar is based in Singapore, with factories in France, Malaysia, Mexico, and the Philippines. The company strategically chose these locations to help them take advantage of low-cost manufacturing processes throughout Asia.

Now don’t let the idea of “low-cost manufacturing” put you off. While the split and change in locations have brought their manufacturing costs down, the quality remains the same.

Since the split, Maxeon has provided SunPower with quality products such as the Maxeon 6 AC Solar Panel — boasting an efficiency rating of 22.8%.

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (6)

In short, the strategic decision to divide the company into two parts has paid off for both them and their consumers.

Are you struggling to size your solar system? Our in-house experts have created a unique solar calculator to help make things easier for you!

Getting To Know Sunrun

Sunrun was first established in 2007 by founders Lynn Jurich, Nat Kreamer, and Ed Fenster.

The company engages in the design, development, installation, sale, ownership, and maintenance of residential solar energy systems throughout the United States.

They offer these solar services both directly to their customers and through their partners, including installation, sales, and strategic partners (retail partners included).

Solar Service Pioneers

A significant difference between Sunrun and other solar companies (SunPower included) is their solar service model. Right from its inception, Sunrun pioneered this model to create a low-cost solution for customers seeking to lower their energy bills.

So, what is this solar service model?

The core service offering comes in the form of Sunrun’s lease and power purchase agreements — the company refers to these agreements as “Customer Agreements.”

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (7)

How It Works

While SunRun allows customers such as yourself to purchase one of their solar systems, 80% – 90% of their business comes from “solar as a service.”

Essentially, a customer will enter into an agreement with Sunrun, which allows the company to lease out and install a solar system on your home — typically over a 20 to 25-year period.

Sunrun provides daily system monitoring, free maintenance,repairs,and comprehensive insurance throughout this period. In exchange, they receive a steady cash flow from a high-quality customer with good credit. Ultimately, this allows the company to qualify for tax (and other) benefits.

If you’re interested in SunRun’s leasing options, click here.

What’s In It For The Homeowner?

By entering into a lease agreement with Sunrun, you can acquire a solar system for little to no money upfront. Instead, you pay a monthly fee. When this fee is less than the local utility’s electricity rates, you save money.

But remember, Sunrun does still sell solar systems. As such, you can choose from several flexible solar financing options or pay outright.

What’s more, you can choose to purchase a leased solar system after the contract period is up.

Which Company Produces Better Quality?

Naturally, when choosing between solar companies, it makes sense to go with the one that provides better quality panels.


In this case, you know what you’re getting with SunPower — top-quality products like the Maxeon 6 AC Solar Panel.

Together, SunPower and Maxeon have developed an incredibly strong following due to the quality of their offerings. What’s more, you know (even before you purchase) where your solar panels are coming from and who’s manufacturing them.


Quality-wise, SunPower stands confidently behind its products, offering 25-year industry-leading warranties that cover its systems comprehensively.

The warranty covers repairs, repairs, labor, and shipping at no extra cost.


Sunrun does not manufacture its own products. Instead, the company uses multiple suppliers for their equipment, though they do have a partnership with LG.

Here’s the issue: you won’t know which panels you’ll be provided with until going through the purchasing process.

With this in mind, it’s difficult for us to provide you with a concrete answer as to the overall quality of their panels.


Sunrun provides a 10-year workmanship warranty against damage to your roof or any installation problems.


In this aspect of the SunPower vs. Sunrun debate, SunPower takes the cake. Their comprehensive, 25-year warranty and the fact that their panels are a known entity make it an absolute no-brainer!

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which Company Is Cheaper?

Price Of Residential Solar In The U.S.

The 2021 NREL white paper report puts the median cost of residential solar at $2.75 per watt (2020).

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (8)

However, EcoWatch provides an updated 2022 price of $2.66 per watt.

For argument’s sake, we’ll use the more update-to-date value.


According to the NREL’s white paper report, SunPower’s residential solar panels cost around $4.15 per watt.

Taking this figure into consideration, a 5kW solar panel system in the United States will cost you around:

$4.15 per watt * 5,000 watts = $20,750

SunPower Vs. Sunrun: Which should you choose? - Climatebiz (9)


Sunrun’s solar panels tend to come in at a more expensive $4.91 per watt.

Looking at these figures, a 5kW solar panel system in the United States will cost you around:

$4.91 per watt * 5,000 watts = $24,550

Please Note: the above values do not consider system efficiency. While we’d like to account for efficiency to give you more accurate estimates, it simply isn’t possible due to Sunrun sourcing its products from multiple third-party suppliers.


Both SunPower ($4.15) and Sunrun’s ($4.91) costs per watt are well over the $2.66 average.

But again, it’s clear that the second round of the SunPower vs. Sunrun duel goes to SunPower, with the former having a slightly cheaper cost per watt average.

Which Company is Right For You?

This part of the SunPower vs. Sunrun debate comes down to your needs.

If you’re looking to purchase a solar system outright, we highly recommend SunPower. There’s a reason they’ve become a juggernaut in the solar industry — their service and products are well renowned and of high quality.

However, if you don’t want to commit to purchasing a system and would instead prefer to lease one, then Sunrun is a solid bet.

Yes, we know that SunPower leases out their systems too, but Sunrun has been at the forefront of solar leasing agreements for a long time. After all, they did pioneer the model.


Reviews exist for a reason. Sure, inherent bias does exist, but it’d be silly to ignore the value of reviews entirely.

Here are some links to each company’s reviews on Consumer Affairs and Best Company with the above in mind.



Related Reading: Average Peak Sun Hours (United States)

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the SunPower vs. Sunrun debate!

By now, we’re confident that you have a much better idea of each company and what they entail. But remember, additional research can only benefit you. So before you commit to anything, be sure to investigate as much as possible.

In closing, we hope you’ve found this resource to be of use. Should you have any further questions or insights into this (or any other topic), we encourage you to join our budding community!


Who is better SunPower or sunrun? ›

SunPower has overall higher quality solar panels than Sunrun. Thanks to its superior output ratings, efficiency ratings, and warranties, SunPower solar panels dramatically outperform Sunrun panels. The SunPower M Series solar panels are the best solar panels on the market today.

Who is the most reputable solar panel company? ›

  • The Best Solar Panel Installation Companies of 2022.
  • SunPower.
  • Sunpro Solar.
  • Blue Raven Solar.
  • Momentum Solar.
  • Palmetto Solar.
  • Trinity Solar.
  • Tesla.
4 days ago

What is the number 1 solar company in the US? ›

NextEra Energy

Who makes the most efficient residential solar panels? ›

The 7 Most Efficient Solar Panels for Homes
  • Q Cells: Best Value.
  • Silfab: Best Warranty.
  • Canadian Solar: Most DIY Friendly.
  • Panasonic: Best Panels for Hot Climates.
  • REC: Best Durability.
  • SunPower Maxeon: Most Energy-Efficient.
  • Longi: Best Mid-Tier Option.
15 Aug 2022

Does SunRun actually save money? ›

Sunrun is a good and practical choice for customers looking to quickly and simply save money on their energy bills through a solar lease. However, for homeowners looking for attentive customer service both before and after installation, we advise you to shop around.

Is SunRun in financial trouble? ›

Based on the latest financial disclosure, Sunrun Inc has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 51%. This is 26.05% higher than that of the Technology sector and about the same as Solar (which currently averages 51.96) industry. The probability of bankruptcy for all United States stocks is 28.04% lower than that of the firm.

Which solar company should I choose? ›

Top 10 Solar Companies
  • SunPower: Most Energy-efficient.
  • ADT Solar: Best Protection.
  • Momentum Solar: Most User-friendly.
  • Blue Raven Solar: Best Benefits.
  • Green Home Systems: Best Solar Roofing Options.
  • Elevation: Best for Whole-home Integration.
  • Trinity Solar: Most Experienced.
  • Sunrun: Best Financing Options.
28 Oct 2022

Is sunrun owned by Costco? ›

No. Although Costco and Sunrun are partners in advertising solar, Costco does not back the warranties for your solar panel system – all they provide is a Costco Cash Card and access to their Costco Member Service Hotline.

Is SunPower a good company? ›

SunPower has maintained a positive reputation over its more than 30 years in the industry. The company holds an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

What are the most efficient solar panels in the US? ›

More specifically, SunPower's high efficiency solar panels are recognized as the most efficient solar panels available, with a rating of 22.8 percent. Other manufacturers who make some of the most efficient solar panels include LG (22 percent) and REC Solar (21.7 percent).

Who dominates the solar market? ›

18 out of 27 countries in the European Union set new records for solar power generation between May and August of this year.

What are the most efficient solar panels 2022? ›

Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.

Which solar cell has highest efficiency? ›

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a solar cell with a record 39.5% efficiency under 1-sun global illumination. This is the highest efficiency solar cell of any type, measured using standard 1-sun conditions.

Which of the 3 main types of solar panels are the most efficient? ›

Among all panel types, crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency. Monocrystalline panels have an efficiency rating over 20%. PERC panels add an extra 5% efficiency thanks to their passivation layer. Polycrystalline panels hover somewhere between 15-17%.

Is Sunrun worth buying? ›

Sunrun has received a consensus rating of Buy.

Is there a lawsuit against Sunrun? ›

The SunRun class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all persons and entities in the state of California who entered into a solar power contract with SunRun prior to February 2012.

Why is Sunrun solar so expensive? ›

Sunrun cost

The average cost for a solar energy system ranges from $15,000 to $29,000, but Sunrun's prices are sometimes higher than other solar energy providers because of the technology it uses. Fill out a form on its website to get a free solar energy consultation and quote.

Does Sunrun have a future? ›

What Is Sunrun Stock's Forecast For 2022? The outlook for the solar industry as a whole is very positive -- at least when it comes to revenue growth. It seems pretty clear that solar will continue to experience rapid growth, both in the utility-scale space and in the residential space (Sunrun's market).

Can I cancel Sunrun? ›

Leasing contracts from SunRun, Vivint, or other third-party owned providers offer a short time frame where you can cancel the contract without incurring any penalty. This time frame may be different from one leasing company to another, but you can expect it to be around 30 days after signing a contract.

Does Sunrun use good solar panels? ›

Sunrun installs monocrystalline solar panels from various manufacturers. Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient panels on the market, with an average efficiency rate of 15%–20%.

Who is the biggest solar company in the world? ›

List of Top 10 Solar Companies in the World
S. No.Solar CompanyCountry
1.Trina SolarChina
2.Canadian SolarCanada
3.Jinko SolarChina
4.JA SolarChina
6 more rows
25 Jun 2022

How do I pick the right solar energy solutions company? ›

7 Tips to Choose the Best Solar Panel Company
  1. Quality Matters. Always check the quality of the solar panels sold by a particular company and monitor the devices' efficiency rates. ...
  2. Time in the Industry. ...
  3. Warranties. ...
  4. Licenses and Insurance. ...
  5. Flexible Payment Options. ...
  6. Reputation in the Market. ...
  7. Long-Term Services.
15 Apr 2022

How long do Sunrun solar panels last? ›

Studies show that solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, or sometimes longer. Still, this doesn't mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades.

Is Sunrun a Chinese company? ›

Sunrun is an American provider of photovoltaic solar energy generation systems and battery energy storage products, primarily for residential customers. The company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Are Sunrun solar panels made in China? ›

Sunrun has been in business since 2007, while Tesla only entered the solar market in 2016. Sunrun's solar panels are made in the USA, while Tesla's are made in China.

Is SunPower worth the extra money? ›

SunPower comes at a premium price but offers excellent module quality and performance, as well as a top-notch warranty, and a reliable dealer network.

Is SunPower in financial trouble? ›

Based on the latest financial disclosure, Sunpower Corp has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 26.0%. This is 35.74% lower than that of the Technology sector and 49.96% lower than that of the Solar industry. The probability of bankruptcy for all United States stocks is 34.72% higher than that of the company.

Why is SunPower the best? ›

SunPower is considered a high-end solar company because it offers the most efficient solar panels on the market. Those panels come with an increased price and SunPower runs more expensive than competitors. However, those competitors often can't match the lifespan and performance of SunPower.

What type of solar panel lasts the longest? ›

Which Type of Solar Panel Lasts Longest? Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels last for a long time, with lifespans that go beyond their 25-year warranties.

What is the fastest growing solar company in America? ›

Fastest Growing Solar Stocks
Price ($)Revenue Growth (%)
Daqo New Energy Corp. (DQ)64.53181.9
Enphase Energy Inc. (ENPH)300.9167.8
Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NOVA)27.58120.9
16 Aug 2022

What percentage of solar companies fail? ›

Between 2000 and 2016, about 8,700 unique solar companies installed at least one solar energy system in American homes. By the end of 2016, only 2,900 installers were still active, meaning two-thirds of all solar companies had faced solar bankruptcy, or simply vanished.

Who owns the most solar panels in the US? ›

Here's a list of the top 10 and their annual solar panel production capacity in 2019:
  • Tesla/Panasonic — 1,000 MW.
  • LG Solar USA — 500 MW.
  • JinkoSolar — 400 MW.
  • Sunenergy California — 400 MW.
  • Silfab Solar — 400 MW.
  • SunSpark USA — 200 MW.
  • Mission Solar — 200 MW.
  • SunPower — 150+ MW.
18 Dec 2019

Will solar panels get cheaper in 2022? ›

The report added, a 2022 solar system could end up costing more than it would have in 2021 as providers run out of materials and deal with continued delays and higher prices. "Having been in residential solar for 15 years, the pricing trend has almost always been down.

Is it worth getting solar in 2022? ›

In every Australian state, no matter your electricity consumption, solar panels are worth buying in 2022. While there are many variables that impact the cost, savings and payback of solar panels, the upshot is that in Australia they are a good investment.

Is solar still worth it 2022? ›

Solar panels will still work in less-than-ideal conditions. However, homes that receive little light or have limited roof space will not benefit from a system. Homeowners with high utility bills: If the cost of your utility bills is constantly high throughout the year, a solar system could help meet your energy needs.

How many solar panels do I need for 2000 kWh per month? ›

A Californian resident would require x27 500-watt solar panels to produce a total of 2000 kWh per month.

Which solar panel is having lowest efficiency? ›

Three types of solar panels
  • Monocrystalline. ...
  • Polycrystalline. ...
  • Thin film. ...
  • Highest performance: Monocrystalline. ...
  • Mid-tier performance: Polycrystalline. ...
  • Lowest performance: Thin film. ...
  • Highest cost: Monocrystalline panels. ...
  • Mid-cost: Polycrystalline panels.
29 Dec 2021

Which type of solar cell has lowest efficiency? ›

Characteristically, polycrystalline solar Photovoltaic system operates at efficiency of 13-16%. This is due to lower purity of the material. Because they are less efficient, these types of solar cells are also less space efficient so they require a lot of panels for small electrical power.

Which solar company share is best? ›

Solar Stocks with the Most Momentum
Price ($)Market Cap ($B)
Enphase Energy Inc. (ENPH)300.9140.8
Array Technologies Inc. (ARRY)17.662.7
Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd. (MAXN)18.880.8
2 more rows
16 Aug 2022

Is SunPower owned by SunRun? ›

SunRun solar panels don't come from the same company, which brings us to our next point. SunRun's website says, “We only use the best solar panel manufacturers,” but it doesn't say who these are. Because of this, it's not possible to compare the technology of SunRun panels to that of other solar companies.

Is SunRun worth buying? ›

Sunrun has received a consensus rating of Buy.

How reliable is SunRun? ›

Sunrun Solar Reviews. Sunrun is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds an A- rating. BBB established this rating by evaluating Sunrun's interaction with customers and handling of customer complaints.

Is SunPower a good investment? ›

The BBB gives SunPower an A+ rating, which is above the industry average. In recent years, SunPower has focused its business on commercial solar energy systems, but the company has since doubled down on the residential solar market.

Which is best stock for long term in solar energy? ›

Tata Power, JSW Energy, Sterling and Wilson, INOX Wind, and Adani Green Energy Limited are a few solar energy companies.

Is Sunrun owned by Costco? ›

No. Although Costco and Sunrun are partners in advertising solar, Costco does not back the warranties for your solar panel system – all they provide is a Costco Cash Card and access to their Costco Member Service Hotline.

Can I cancel SunRun? ›

Leasing contracts from SunRun, Vivint, or other third-party owned providers offer a short time frame where you can cancel the contract without incurring any penalty. This time frame may be different from one leasing company to another, but you can expect it to be around 30 days after signing a contract.

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