Sunrun has one of the longest tenures in the solar panel industry in the United States. It offers solar panels and its famous Brightbox home battery, giving homeowners more options than ever to become renewable. It also counts Ford, Tesla and Costco as partners.
Solar panel installers are popping up all over the country to make renewable energy more accessible. How does Sunrun compare in the solar panel market? Here are some things to consider when deciding whether the company is worth it.
How Much Does Sunrun Cost?
Giving prospective customers a price estimate on Sunrun panels takes work, as the company relies on personalized quotes. Therefore, people will know dollar amounts once they talk to a representative, walking into unknown territory about potentially high installation costs.
Customers can reach out to get more information about energy usage and square footage to accurately assess how many panels a household will need. This will give them a ballpark idea and help them determine if the expense is worth it.
Fortunately, Sunrun has some of the most flexible financing options on the market, with four leasing and owning choices to give customers versatility when making their commitment:
- Monthly lease: Homeowners pay nothing down, and Sunrun owns the equipment while they receive a monthly payment. Sunrun includes complimentary maintenance.
- Full lease: Sunrun still owns the equipment, and homeowners pay for around 25 years of energy with no monthly payment. Sunrun includes complimentary maintenance.
- Full purchase: People can own the panels if they pay the entire cost upfront. Sunrun doesn’t include free maintenance because the purchaser owns the panels.
- Monthly loan: Homeowners can reach out to loan providers to whom they would owe a monthly payment, but they would own the panels in the long run. As with a full purchase, Sunrun won’t perform free maintenance.
It may be worth researching national solar panel installation averages at the time. As of now, it stands at around $3.25 per watt. It depends on location and how much sun access a household has. However, local and federal legislation provides tax incentives for switching to solar, which may trim some costs for new users.
What Is Service Availability Like?
Sunrun operates in 22 states and territories, providing one of the most expansive service areas of any solar panel outfit. However, it isn’t the largest compared to providers like Sunpower, which operate in all 50 states. Sunrun’s Brightbox is available in only 20 states, but it’s still a widely offered option for a cheaper price tag.
Sunrun has accumulated some bad press regarding installers and service representatives. Despite its standing in the industry and quality panels with noteworthy warranties, it has low customer satisfaction from the Better Business Bureau and other review websites. The causes are slow responses to maintenance requests and system failures in which households see no change in their electricity bill.
Representatives take care of most of the process, including obtaining permits, performing inspections and installing every aspect of the complex setup, from wiring to grounding supports. However, customer reviews note an inconsistency in service quality. It’s difficult to say if every customer has a positive experience with Sunrun representatives.
Plus, if homeowners choose to move, Sunrun will help by taking care of anything related to the solar panels. This is a huge relief during a typically stressful process.
Does Sunrun Use Quality Solar Panels?
Regardless of the payment option, the following query concerns quality — are the panels high quality and durable enough to withstand the elements? Sunrun outsources solar panel creation to other companies, including LG and Tesla.
It only installs monocrystalline panels, not polycrystalline. They still give owners all the benefits of solar they’re looking for, with efficiency and low to no energy bill costs. The customer can inquire about what company could produce their panels and assess quality through that lens.
However, most of the panels generally garner positive reviews in terms of make. Sunrun has an extensive 25-year warranty and insurance protection program for panels and a 10-year program for roofing. The contracts are not all-encompassing, though. Homeowners who buy panels to own may need to analyze purchasing agreements beforehand and consider additional solar panel insurance.
Sunrun also offers Protection Plus for some products, which assists customers with ongoing efficiency monitoring. The company provides app connectivity, allowing households to monitor their panels and make adjustments as needed.
How Does Sunrun Compare to Competitors?
Two of Sunrun’s most prominent competitors are SunPower and Tesla Solar. They have long-standing reputations of their own, and comparing them helps judge the value of Sunrun within the industry.
SunPower has fewer financing options and a higher average installation cost — a negative that customers may justify. The company has in-house and contracted workers, and price ranges could vary for labor. Manufacturing partner Maxeon helped create SunPower’s M-Series panels, one of the most efficient and well-regarded on the market. SunPower is available across the nation and has better customer service.
Related article: SunPower Solar Panel Price
Additionally, SunPower has a long list of certifications on its brand, advocating for its environmental commitment. Supplier and contractor diversity undergoes rigorous training to have the SunPower stamp, so its force has more consistency with more significant third-party backing.
Comparing Sunrun to Tesla Solar is another situation, as they have a working relationship. Sunrun is a certified installer of the Tesla Powerwall, a solar storage and backup product. Both companies have lower ratings on the BBB and mixed reviews due to issues with customer service. Regardless, Tesla is hitting solar milestones in a nation desperately needing to make the switch.
Tesla has nationwide coverage, much like SunPower, outperforming Sunrun again. Tesla also manufactures its own panels, giving it complete influence over production and making them more affordable. It also offers insurance and warranties on its solar products. However, Sunrun has more comprehensive and longer-lasting coverage.
Is Sunrun Worth It?
Sunrun is a good investment for the quality of its panels and additional benefits. However, many customer reviews point out the negative aspects of their installers, customer service and contractors. These qualities can vary by area, but it’s worth considering if an element like that could affect an entire solar panel installation experience. With many years of industry experience still going strong, it’s difficult to dismiss Sunrun as a viable contender.