Sunrun vs Tesla Solar Panels | Choosing the Right Option for Your Solar Conversion Plan - EnviroMom (2023)

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With each day, solar panels and solar inverters are becoming an exceedingly competitive option for generating electricity. That is wonderful news for the planet too!

If you do a search on the top solar panel installers, chances are you’ll find Tesla and Sunrun leading the pack.

The good news for homeowners – who want to reduce their carbon footprint – is, there are multiple choices in terms of price and quality while setting up a solar power system.

That also means, making the right choice is more challenging. You need to compare the performance of the brands to ensure that you can really save dollars when it comes to energy expenses.

You might be wondering who will emerge as the winner in a Tesla vs Sunrun showdown?

In short: in terms of panel quality and warranties, they seem very close. The main point of difference between Sunrun and Tesla includes the higher customization with Sunrun and lower upfront costs, provided you are okay with third-party ownership of the solar panels. Tesla, on the other hand, seems to offer a lower cost (overall – not necessarily upfront) and a higher level of aesthetic concern.

Often, the devil is in the details… So, let’s have a closer look at what each company has to offer when it comes to solar panels.

Sunrun Company Profile

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Sunrun is an energy services company with a focus on residential solar panels. Presently, the brand is one of the top solar businesses in the US.

Since it was set up in 2007, Sunrun has captured a major chunk of the residential solar market. One primary reason for that is Sunrun’s acquisition of Vivint, another major solar installer, in 2020.

A great feature of the brand is it will customize a solar energy setup based on your requirements.

Also, the brand prefers to conduct business in the solar-as-service format. This means the majority of its customers are using solar panels on lease for a monthly fee.

Sunrun provides a “bumper-to-bumper warranty” on the installations which includes all repairs and replacements. Sunrun offers complete installation, maintenance, and monitoring for their panels. It also has an app for monitoring the performance of your solar installation.

Sunrun also provides backup battery options for customers. One of their battery options is the LG Chem and the other, surprisingly, is the Tesla Powerwall.

The advanced 24/7 solar system monitoring system by Sunrun is another great feature. If there’s a problem with the system, chances are Sunrun will know about it before you do.

The ordering process is simple. Once you provide some basic information through their website, Sunrun will provide you with a free quote. If you show further interest you will receive a detailed proposal from their sales rep.

Tesla Solar Company Profile

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Since its purchase of the solar company SolarCity in 2016, Tesla has taken big steps in the field of solar power. While it’s still not the top residential solar installer in the US, Tesla has a significant market share and a cost advantage over its rivals.

Tesla has followed an online-only sales strategy for its solar panels. Apart from the solar panels, Tesla has a high-end Powerwall system that offers an energy backup solution for customers. It has also launched its own solar inverter to bring the entire Tesla home solar system package under its own manufacturing umbrella.

Besides superior quality, Tesla offers some of the lowest prices in the market along with a price match guarantee.

That’s not unexpected as providing solar power at affordable rates is a major objective of the brand. However, it doesn’t offer lease plans like Sunrun. So, upfront costs are higher.

Besides, Tesla panels are also sleek and the installation focuses on a simple design and minimalist aesthetic. In addition, there’s the Tesla solar roof which offers a unique solar solution in a weatherproof package.

One thing is, Tesla doesn’t offer full-on customization. Its solar package is available in four different capacities- 4.8, 9.6, 14.4, and 19.2kW. The monitoring is done through the Tesla app which can also be used to update the various components of the system.

Ordering from Tesla is simple and you can consult virtually with an energy advisor from the brand to discuss your requirements. Tesla also uses remote aerial imagery to design the system for your home and plan the installation.

Sunrun vs Tesla: The Comparison

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Panel design and efficiency

Keep in mind, not all the solar energy that strikes a solar panel is converted into electricity. The general efficiency of solar panels in the market is around 20%, with the highest being 22.7%.

Firstly, high efficiency panels generate more electricity from a limited space. In addition, they also helps to quickly repay the installation costs.

Note, Tesla manufactures its own solar panels, while Sunrun does not. If your concern is only about panel performance and not the brand, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Sunrun mentions that it offers monocrystalline panels with high efficiency from top manufacturers. Previously, the brand used LG solar panels. Since LG stopped producing solar panels, Sunrun is using panels from brands like LONGi and Costco.

This gives the customer more choice to choose from multiple brands and judge between panel quality and efficiency. The same goes for other components of the Sunrun solar system.

Tesla solar panels offer an efficiency of 19.8% to 20.6%. These aren’t the best numbers in the market but they aren’t bad either. It is also offering a 420-watt panel which is the best in terms of power delivery in the residential solar market.

In addition, Tesla panels also have a higher shade tolerance through a half-cell panel architecture.

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Since each roof installation is unique based on user requirements, it’s hard to point out a winner in this category.

To sum up, you are not particular about choosing panels based on manufacturers, you get a more economical option with Tesla.

Warranty

The durability of the panels is an important factor that you can’t overlook. In general solar panels are covered by a performance guarantee and a product warranty.

A Tesla warranty plan mentions that the panels will deliver 80% of nameplate power capacity after 25 years. The product warranty of 25 years is also applicable to any defects in panel design and materials.

If you choose a complete solar installation from Tesla, it’s covered by a comprehensive 10-year warranty.

Likewise, Sunrun offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty on the total installation for 10 years. When it comes to the product and performance warranties, it depends on the individual panel manufacturers.

However, Sunrun’s warranties are less strong when you purchase a solar system instead of taking a lease. So make sure to check the warranty documents carefully before choosing a plan.

The other thing is, customer service for solar installations varies between states. It’s best to take feedback from other customers to find out about the service quality in your area. In general, users have found the quality of care offered by Sunrun for their leases to be satisfactory.

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On the other hand, there have been some complaints about Tesla customer service and some issues with Tesla panels that you need to keep in mind.

Coming to the app interface, Tesla is the clear winner here. The Tesla app has a smoother interface and more advanced features in terms of service and panel monitoring.

In comparison, the Sunrun app has a lower rating in both Google Play, and App Store.

Cost

In 2021 the average cost of residential solar installations in the US was around $3.28 per watt. Even so, installation costs can vary between the states.

None of the two brands offer the costs of their solar installations upfront. So you will need to get a quotation to find out the exact price for your home.

In terms of installation costs, Tesla is the cheaper option than Sunrun. All the four offerings from Tesla are well below the average costs. If you go without the Powerwall battery system, the costs can be as low as $1.50 per watt.

However, a solar lease from Sunrun with no upfront costs is definitely a cheaper option for many users. Apart from lease options, you can also pay outright or choose a solar financing plan from Sunrun.

Keep in mind, the annual lease fees can escalate each year based on the energy costs. The average annual figure for escalation is around 2%. Still, as long as the local energy charges are lower than the lease amount, you will keep saving money.

I’d suggest that you take multiple quotations and work out the math to find out the most economical option in your state.

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Availability

Sunrun panels are available in 22 states and territories. For Tesla, you need to check from their website if the services are available in your locality. At present, Tesla panels are available in 25 states.

For both the brands, the online process of application is fast and smooth. In the case of Tesla, installation is done by trained local teams. Sunrun uses both subcontractors and in-house teams.

One thing is, Sunrun will send a solar expert to check the architecture and finalize the design details. Tesla conducts the entire process through online consultations.

If this seems odd, keep in mind that these steps help Tesla to cut costs.

Final Verdict

That brings us to the end of this Sunrun vs Tesla review.

Honestly, it’s hard to choose a winner between the two as solar service requirements vary between users.

In terms of panel quality and warranties, there isn’t much to choose between the brands. However, if you don’t mind third-party panel ownership, you get more choices and better customization with Sunrun.

To sum up, if you want aesthetic-looking panels from a dependable brand at low costs, Tesla is the right choice.

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But if you want to avoid the high upfront costs, Sunrun has some great plans that you can check out. That said, make sure that your state allows third-party ownership of solar panels.

Finally, before you make a choice, consult a solar expert and users with first-hand experience. Also, take estimates from different installers and check the cost/watt numbers to find out what works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sunrun the same as Tesla?

Sunrun is not the same as Tesla and both are different brands. Tesla manufactures all components of its solar installations. Sunrun assembles third-part components to supply a solar power system to customers.

Does Sunrun use Tesla solar panels?

Sunrun doesn’t specify the brands whose panels they use. They use top-grade panels from manufacturers who have a track record of superior quality. However, they have officially started using the Tesla Powerwall battery system as a part of their solar installations.

Is Sunrun a good deal?

Sunrun can be a good deal when you’re on a budget and need a customized solution for your home. Also, their lease ownership plans are a great option to save upfront costs.

FAQs

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 company has the most efficient panels? ›

Best solar company overall

SunPower Solar takes the top spot on our best list thanks to its top-of-the-line solar panels and strong warranties. The solar panels SunPower offers have industry leading efficiency marks (22.8%) and a warranty that guarantees at least 92% production after 25 years.

Is sunrun the same as Tesla? ›

Both Sunrun and Tesla install top-tier, monocrystalline solar panels, so the equipment is above-average when it comes to durability and performance. Sunrun installs equipment from LONGi, Costco, Enphase, and, ironically, Tesla (but only for the Powerwall). Tesla only installs its own manufactured home solar products.

Is sunrun a good idea? ›

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.

Will solar panels get cheaper in 2023? ›

That works out to about $26,125 for an average system of 9,500 watts before taking into account a federal tax credit. For the 2022 tax year, the credit stands at 26 percent of the cost of solar system; it is slated to drop to 22 percent in 2023 and end in 2024.

Why Tesla solar is so cheap? ›

How are Tesla's solar panels so cheap? Tesla's easy ordering process is one of the reasons they have such low prices. Their brand name recognition also helps a lot. Tesla doesn't have to do a whole lot of work to get people to their website.

Who is the most reputable solar 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

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.

Who makes the best solar panels in the US? ›

The top five solar panel manufacturers in the U.S. are Hanwha Qcells, Jinko Solar, Silfab Solar, Mission Solar Energy, and Solaria. These companies produce high-performance solar panels for residential and commercial installations.

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.

Is Sunrun losing money? ›

Sunrun (RUN)

Wall Street has re-rated most unprofitable companies this year, and Sunrun was no exception. The company was profitable from 2017 through 2019 but started to lose money in 2020 despite its robust revenue growth, which is a red flag.

Is Tesla cheaper than Sunrun? ›

Sunrun is cheaper, but Tesla has a wider range of products. Sunrun is more environmentally friendly, while Tesla is more efficient. Sunrun is easier to install and has a better warranty, while Tesla is more reliable and provides more power with a single panel.

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.

How do I get out of Sunrun? ›

When it comes to buying out a lease agreement, there's generally a few options. If you've leased from Sunrun, a company that pioneered the solar lease and solar power purchase agreement (PPA) structure back in 2007, the options include a cash buyout, or a full amount solar lease buyout.

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.

Is 2022 a good year to buy solar panels? ›

But there are other reasons why 2022 is an especially good year to invest in a solar panel system. Electricity rates across the country are rising and even doubling in some states. As those rates rise, the savings that come from installing solar only increase.

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.

Why is my Tesla solar bill so high? ›

You may notice a higher bill in the summer when your solar system is producing the most energy. This energy is typically applied as a credit by your utility for usage later in the year. Tesla no longer provides this financing offering for new systems.

Do Tesla solar panels eliminate electric bill? ›

After Tesla installs your solar system, you will still be connected to the grid and have an account with your electric utility provider. Your rate plan may change post-installation as required by your utility provider. Solar can greatly reduce your electric bill, but you will often still have a residual bill.

How long does it take for Tesla solar panels to pay off? ›

Solar panel payback time averages between 5 and 15 years in the United States, depending on where you live. How quickly your solar panels pay back their cost depends on how much you paid, the price of electricity from your utility, and available upfront and ongoing incentives.

What is the number 1 solar company in America? ›

SunPower: Our pick for most experience
Tesla Energy
Logo
SuperlativeOur pick for panel design
Location Presence50 States
1 day ago

What is the best solar to buy? ›

What is the most efficient solar panel? Currently, the most efficient residential solar panel available to install is the SunPower A-Series, coming in at a whopping 22.8 percent. What are the best solar panel brands? Generally speaking, SunPower, REC, and Panasonic make the best solar panels.

Why is Sunrun not profitable? ›

Solar developer Sunrun is growing fast, but supply-chain woes and Covid-related problems hurt its results in the fourth quarter, causing earnings to fall below analysts' expectations.

Can I cancel my contract with 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.

Are Sunrun panels worth? ›

Sunrun offers a wide range of protection for solar panel customers, including panel theft protection and free maintenance on its Tesla Powerwall offering. Its extensive product protection and solar offerings make it a solid choice for customers looking for comprehensive warranties.

What is a Tier 1 solar panel? ›

Tier 1 solar panels are made using the highest quality of silicon. The solar panel will perform more effectively if the silicon quality is higher. Furthermore, Tier 1 manufacturers use advanced robotic methods to regulate the production process, reducing or eliminating human mistakes in the process.

Does solar increase home value? ›

When you sell your house, these better savings equal bigger profits. According to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for approximately 4 percent higher on average than homes without solar energy. That means an added value of about $9,200.

What's the biggest solar system for a house? ›

As a general rule, 5kW tends to be the upper system size limit for single-phase connections, but some networks allow up to 10kW. There are lots of variations to this theme, however. Some networks will allow larger sizes than those outlined below, pending specific approval from the network.

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).

What happens at the end of a Sunrun contract? ›

Sunrun has a PPA product option that will allow you to purchase solar energy at a low, predictable rate without having to worry about the maintenance or performance of your solar panels. At the end of the PPA contract, the homeowner can extend the contract or buy the solar system from the solar company.

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.

Will Sunrun remove solar panels? ›

At the end of the term, Sunrun will remove the solar system at no extra cost. You can also buy your solar panels outright and move them to your new home, but it's generally easier and more cost-effective to transfer the agreement to the new household.

How long does Sunrun battery last? ›

Solar installer Sunrun said batteries can last anywhere between 5-15 years. That means a replacement likely will be needed during the 20-30 year life of a solar system.

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 Tesla solar the best option? ›

Overall, Tesla offers industry-standard solar systems in terms of efficiency and cost. The Tesla solar shingles and roof have a sleek approach to design, and the company provides a solid guarantee for its work. In addition, the Tesla Powerwall is one of the most reputable solar batteries on the market.

Does Tesla solar increase home value? ›

Does solar add value to a home? Absolutely. Tesla Solar Roofs, in particular, are a great choice for energy-efficient savings, a lower carbon footprint, and a beautiful modern look. Installing one also increases the value of your property.

Is Tesla solar subscription worth it? ›

While renting through Tesla is a good short-term option, it is not the most profitable way to go solar. If you take a closer look, you will see that with the amount spent on rent over time, you would be better off buying the system outright.

What happens if I dont pay my Sunrun bill? ›

If Sunrun does not receive payment from your credit card provider or bank, you agree to pay all amounts due upon demand, and Sunrun may suspend your access to the Service in addition to any other remedies Sunrun may have under this Agreement or the Solar Power Service Agreement.

Why did vivint sell Sunrun? ›

There are a few reasons Sunrun is buying Vivint Solar today. Management said it sees $90 million in cost savings or synergies, primarily from combining sales offices across the country. Sunrun and Vivint Solar serve many of the same regions, so it makes sense that the companies could save money by combining forces.

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.

Are solar panels cheaper in 2022? ›

Solar energy is becoming much cheaper all over the world according to a GTM Research study by solar analyst Ben Gallagher. He predicts that the price of constructing solar power technology will decrease by 4.4 percent each year, meaning that by 2022 the price of projects will have dropped by 27 percent.

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.

What happens after you pay off solar panels? ›

Once you pay off your loan or buy your system outright you will essentially be getting energy for free. When it comes to payment, those who are using solar energy will still get a monthly utility bill. This will show how much energy you produced versus how much energy you used for the month.

How do I get out of a Tesla solar contract? ›

Depending on the contract agreement, when selling your house you have a few options for fulfilling the lease obligation before the lease is up:
  1. Buyout of a solar lease agreement. ...
  2. Purchase of the solar system at market-value. ...
  3. Transfer of a solar lease. ...
  4. Relocate a solar panels system from one house to another.

How can I avoid getting scammed out of solar power? ›

How to Avoid Solar Panel Scams
  1. Know Your State's Average Solar Panel Cost. ...
  2. Get Multiple Quotes. ...
  3. Thoroughly Vet Companies Beforehand. ...
  4. Never Sign a Contract without a Quote. ...
  5. Know What State and Federal Incentives You Qualify for Beforehand.
6 Sept 2022

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%.

Why is 2022 your last chance for solar? ›

There is currently a 26% federal solar tax credit, called an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), available for all homeowners who install residential solar panels between 2020 and 2022. That means 2022 is pretty much your last chance to take advantage of the 26% tax incentive.

What are the 2 main disadvantages to solar energy? ›

Solar Cons
  • Standard home solar does not “work” at night.
  • Home solar panels are not attractive.
  • DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
  • Not every roof configuration is ideal for maximum solar power generation.
  • Solar manufacturing is not good for the environment.

What is the solar tax credit for 2023? ›

Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032.

How much do solar panels increase home value 2022? ›

A few studies have shown that solar installations increase a home's resale value by up to $6,000 for each kilowatt of solar panels installed, or by about 4.1% of the home's value.

Are solar panel prices dropping? ›

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), residential solar panel systems have dropped in price by an annual average of more than 60% over the past decade — from upwards of $50,000 for a 6-kilowatt-hour (KWh) system in 2011 to between $16,000 and $21,000 in 2022.

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 kind of solar panels are the best? ›

The most efficient solar panel for homes is a monocrystalline (mono) panel. These panels, made of silicon crystal, have the highest efficiency, falling between 15% and 22%. Thanks to the technological advancements in the solar industry, mono panels can generate more power using smaller panels with half-cells.

Which solar system is best for home? ›

Based on factors such as efficiency, durability, product warranty, price point and temperature coefficient, these are the top solar panels for home use:
  • LG: Best Overall.
  • SunPower: Most Efficient.
  • Panasonic: Best Temperature Coefficient.
  • Silfab: Best Warranty.
  • Canadian Solar: Most Affordable.
  • Trina Solar: Best Value.

What is the biggest problem with solar panels? ›

Intermittency. One of the biggest problems that solar energy technology poses is that energy is only generated while the sun is shining. That means nighttime and overcast days can interrupt the supply.

Is there a downside to having solar? ›

Disadvantages of solar energy include a high initial cost, an inability to work on every roof type, and it may be difficult to find a local installer depending on where you live.

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