Who Is the Higher Photo voltaic Installer in 2023?


Sunrun and Tesla are two of the largest names within the photo voltaic trade, however they provide totally different buyer experiences and merchandise. Selecting between them requires a eager understanding of every firm’s enterprise mannequin and an understanding of the services every firm gives. That’s the place I are available in.

I’ve spent numerous hours reviewing photo voltaic installers, so I do know what separates a superb photo voltaic supplier from an important one. I put that information to work on this information, masking the principle variations between Sunrun and Tesla and explaining every firm’s strengths and weaknesses.

By the tip of this text, you’ll have all the knowledge you should make an knowledgeable resolution and select the corporate that higher fits your wants.

10 to 25-year panel guarantee and 10-year labor guarantee

Gives inexpensive energy buy settlement (PPA) & lease choices

Solely installs tier-one panels

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Finest Expertise

Obtainable in all 50 states

Person-friendly cellular app to trace efficiency

Excellent know-how and vitality outputs

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My Take: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Sunrun is my choose for the photo voltaic firm that gives the perfect safety in opposition to harm, making it a sensible choice for individuals who stay in areas with excessive climate. The corporate’s photo voltaic guarantee gives a 10- to 25-year guarantee for its panels {particular phrases differ by panel model) and 10 years’ price of workmanship safety guaranteeing the corporate’s labor.

Sunrun additionally gives an impressive guarantee for leased panels, which incorporates 25-year whole system protection and safety in opposition to roof leaks. In case you’re nervous about your photo voltaic panels getting broken or damaging your house, it’s arduous to beat the peace of thoughts you get from Sunrun.

Tesla is a little bit of an uncommon firm in comparison with most photo voltaic installers. On the one hand, it gives the consensus-best photo voltaic batteries available on the market in its Powerwall and Powerwall+ batteries and gives a one-of-a-kind photo voltaic roof that you just can’t discover wherever else.

Then again, the corporate lately stopped manufacturing its personal Tesla panels, opting to put in Qcells panels as an alternative. It additionally doesn’t carry out in-house installations and as an alternative depends on a sprawling community of third-party installers all through the nation. Utilizing third-party installers is what makes Tesla my choose for probably the most broadly out there photo voltaic installer, nevertheless it additionally results in some inconsistency within the buyer expertise.

Tesla and Sunrun attraction to totally different buyer bases, which makes it tough to decide on one as the best choice for everybody. Nevertheless, Tesla’s superior know-how, widespread protection space, and value matching make it my choose for the higher of the 2 firms for most individuals.

Sunrun

Finest Safety Towards Injury

Common Set up Price per Watt

Canadian Photo voltaic
JA Photo voltaic
JinkoSolar
LONGi
Qcells
REC

Lease, mortgage, PACE packages

Energy Score / Effectivity

In-house & third-party installers

Let’s take a fast have a look at every firm at a excessive stage to get a way of its strengths and weaknesses.

Finest Safety Towards Injury

Sunrun

3.7

Our Score

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No present gives out there.

Sunrun is called some of the budget-friendly photo voltaic installers within the nation. The corporate was based in 2007 and is at the moment out there in 20 states and Puerto Rico.

Sunrun distinguishes itself from different photo voltaic installers by offering the perfect photo voltaic leasing program I’ve seen, which makes going photo voltaic a chance for many individuals who would in any other case be unable to make the change to scrub vitality.

The corporate’s give attention to leases is a little bit of a double-edged sword, nevertheless. Sunrun has a historical past of pushing clients to lease slightly than purchase, which is healthier for the corporate’s backside line however worse for purchasers’ lifetime financial savings. The corporate can be recognized for its less-than-stellar buyer help, particularly for purchasers who buy panels slightly than lease them.

Professionals & Cons

Finest leasing program within the enterprise
Reasonably priced energy buy settlement (PPA) and lease choices
Solely installs tier-one panels
Historical past of offering poor buyer help
Restricted availability in comparison with Tesla

Finest Expertise

Tesla Vitality

4.3

Our Score

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Tesla is the other of Sunrun in some methods. The corporate is thought for having a number of the finest know-how within the photo voltaic trade, particularly relating to photo voltaic batteries and electrical automobile (EV) charging stations.

Tesla’s Powerwall batteries are the gold customary vitality storage resolution for residential photo voltaic clients. They’ve wonderful battery storage capability and a slew of options you’ll be able to handle from the Tesla photo voltaic monitoring app. The one unfavorable is that they’re costly, though on a per-kWh (kilowatt-hour) foundation, they’re really extra inexpensive than most different choices.

Tesla is a nationwide firm with a presence in all 50 states. Sadly, it doesn’t carry out its personal installations, which makes its buyer expertise extraordinarily various.

Professionals & Cons

Finest know-how within the photo voltaic trade
Extra broadly out there than Sunrun
Simpler to handle than Sunrun due to the Tesla photo voltaic app
Third-party installers make the client expertise inconsistent
Lately stopped making its personal panels

Photo voltaic Panels Provided: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Sunrun

Sunrun gives extra tier-one panels than Tesla, making it the higher selection for individuals who need some selection to select from. The corporate installs panels from a formidable record of producers, together with JA Photo voltaic, Qcells, JinkoSolar, Trina Photo voltaic, LONGi, REC, and Canadian Photo voltaic — availability of every varies by location.

All of the producers Sunrun works with make monocrystalline photovoltaic (PV) panels, that are extra environment friendly than the choice polycrystalline PV panels. Regardless that polycrystalline panels are much less environment friendly, they’re additionally extra inexpensive, main some owners to decide on them to avoid wasting cash.

Then again, Tesla solely installs monocrystalline panels made by Qcells. The corporate used to fabricate its personal photo voltaic panels however stopped doing so in 2022 to focus its photo voltaic efforts on its Powerwall batteries and photo voltaic roofs.

Tesla’s restricted choice — actually lack of choice because you solely have one choice — makes this one of many simpler sections to attain. In case you worth selection and need the liberty to decide on between totally different manufacturers with totally different effectivity scores and value factors, it’s best to go together with Sunrun. Nevertheless, Tesla’s Qcells panels supply a superb stability between price and effectivity, which makes them good for most individuals.

Sunrun Photo voltaic Panels Provided Tesla

Monocrystalline

Polycrystalline

Skinny Movie

PERC

Canadian Photo voltaic
JA Photo voltaic
JinkoSolar
LONGi
Qcells
REC

Manufacturers Provided

Qcells


Photo voltaic Set up Prices: Sunrun Vs.Tesla

Most cost-effective choices: Sunrun / Finest worth: Tesla

Sunrun’s panel selection provides it a wider value vary as nicely. The corporate gives premium high-efficiency panels from SunPower that get fairly costly, nevertheless it additionally installs lower-cost choices from REC, Qcells, and Trina. In case you’re searching for a less expensive choice, Sunrun is the best way to go.

With that mentioned, Tesla is healthier worth for the cash, for my part. Tesla has a price-matching program that makes its programs very inexpensive so long as your quote meets the corporate’s eligibility necessities. To be thought of for value matching, the quote should be latest — inside the final 14 days — and for a sufficiently comparable system. Which means it should be an identical measurement and high quality to the Tesla system you buy.

Each Sunrun and Tesla are extra inexpensive than the photo voltaic trade common, though some Sunrun programs can get costly.

The underside line right here is that Sunrun has extra inexpensive choices, however Tesla’s value matching provides it unbeatable bang in your buck.


Photo voltaic Financing Choices: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Sunrun

Sunrun has extra financing choices out there than Tesla, giving it a slight edge when you’re on a decent finances. The corporate accepts money, photo voltaic loans, photo voltaic leases, and PPAs. Whereas I don’t suggest leasing or getting into right into a PPA, the choices are good to have in the event that they’re the one approach you’ll be able to afford to go photo voltaic.

Sunrun’s leasing program is likely one of the finest within the enterprise. The corporate covers the tools it leases for 25 years and likewise gives roof leak safety, which is a pleasant contact that might prevent some huge cash on repairs if one thing goes flawed.

Tesla solely accepts money purchases and photo voltaic loans, which makes it much less accessible to folks searching for a low-cost photo voltaic choice. Paying in your panels upfront in money or taking out a photo voltaic mortgage will prevent extra money in the long term than leasing your panels or utilizing a PPA. Switching to photo voltaic vitality is all the time price it, however leases and PPAs cut back your financial savings by tens of 1000’s of {dollars} on common.

The winner on this class is Sunrun. Regardless that I don’t suggest PPAs or photo voltaic leases, having these choices out there makes Sunrun simpler to afford for extra folks.

Finest Safety Towards Injury

3.7

Restricted Time:

No present gives out there.


Photo voltaic Warranties Provided: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Tesla

Sunrun’s photo voltaic guarantee covers bought tools for between 10 and 25 years, relying on the particular panel model you select. It additionally gives a 10-year workmanship guarantee for all bought photo voltaic panel programs it installs.

In case you lease your panels from Sunrun as an alternative of buying them, you get 25 years’ price of protection in your whole system, together with roof leak protection.

Now for the dangerous information: Sunrun is infamous for dragging its toes or just ignoring guarantee claims. Buyer evaluations of Sunrun are plagued by displeased owners who can’t get the corporate to respect its warranties. Whereas Sunrun’s warranties look nice on paper, I can’t say they instill confidence, given the overwhelming proof that the corporate doesn’t honor its agreements.

Tesla’s photo voltaic guarantee is much like Sunrun’s, providing a 25-year vitality manufacturing assure and a 10-year workmanship guarantee, each of that are proper on the trade common. Regardless that Sunrun’s warranties sound higher, the shortage of follow-through in coping with claims provides Tesla the sting on this class.

Restricted Time:

No present gives out there.


Photo voltaic Set up Course of: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Tie

The photo voltaic panel set up course of for Sunrun and Tesla may be very comparable. Each firms use third-party installers, though Sunrun does have an in-house group that performs a few of its photo voltaic installations.

Each Tesla and Sunrun are giant nationwide firms, which signifies that getting in contact with them could be a problem you probably have any questions throughout your set up. Buyer evaluations throughout the web recommend that Tesla and Sunrun have comparable communication points that may make the set up course of extra painful than it must be.

General, neither Sunrun nor Tesla is thought for having an impressive set up course of, so I’m calling this class a wash.


Further Photo voltaic Merchandise Provided: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Tesla

Sunrun carries a formidable choice of manufacturers, however Tesla has higher-quality photo voltaic add-ons that give it a determined edge on this class.

Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerwall+ batteries are the perfect within the residence photo voltaic trade, they usually combine seamlessly along with your photo voltaic system through the Tesla photo voltaic monitoring app. The corporate’s EV charging stations are additionally wonderful and are the usual by which different chargers are measured.

Sunrun additionally gives EV charging stations, however its web site solely lists the Ford Lightning F-150 charging station as an choice. Sunrun additionally installs Tesla Powerwall batteries by way of its Sunrun Brightbox program, however I might suggest buying them instantly by way of Tesla when you’re concerned about including a battery backup to your system.

Sunrun Photo voltaic Merchandise Provided Tesla

Photo voltaic Panels

Photo voltaic Batteries

Photo voltaic Inverters

Floor mounts

EV Charging Stations


Buyer Critiques: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Tesla (by a small margin)

That is the place issues get dicey. Sunrun and Tesla are each infamous for having customer support points, so it’s not really easy to decide on a winner. Let me clarify why.

Sunrun has a historical past of buyer service- and warranty-related points which have given it a popularity for having poor buyer help. Numerous buyer evaluations point out that Sunrun is extraordinarily sluggish at responding to guarantee claims, which is irritating on condition that its warranties appear stable on paper.

Sunrun additionally has misrepresented sure elements of the federal photo voltaic tax credit score (ITC) — among the finest nationwide photo voltaic incentives —  prior to now, deceptive clients into considering its programs are extra inexpensive than they really are. A number of buyer evaluations particularly point out this as a purpose that they warn different folks to not use Sunrun.

Tesla isn’t a shining instance of customer support accomplished proper, nevertheless it doesn’t have the identical evident points as Sunrun. Tesla buyer evaluations are wildly various, largely resulting from the truth that the corporate outsources its set up companies to native contractors. That signifies that some Tesla photo voltaic clients have clean installations and stable buyer help, whereas others have a unfavorable expertise.

My recommendation is to analysis your native Tesla installers and see what current clients say in regards to the expertise.

sunrun vs tesla solar batteries
Photograph Credit score: Dennis Schroeder / NREL / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Protection Space: Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Winner: Tesla

Sunrun is on the market in 20 states plus Puerto Rico, giving it a good protection space. Nevertheless, when you stay in a state that Sunrun doesn’t function in, you’re out of luck.

Tesla has some presence in all 50 states. That doesn’t imply that there’s essentially a Tesla installer close to you, however you’re more likely to discover a Tesla subcontractor in your space than you’re a Sunrun workplace.

An fascinating facet notice is that Sunrun is on the market at many Costco places all through the nation. You would possibly need to test along with your native Costco when you’re concerned about Sunrun.

In fact, the general protection an organization has doesn’t matter when it comes time to rent an installer. Use this helpful device to find installers close to you and discover the proper photo voltaic firm in your residence.

Discover Photo voltaic Price Estimates In Your State


Backside Line: Is Sunrun or Tesla Higher For Your Residence?

Tesla is the higher selection for most householders, for my part, however Sunrun is an efficient choice for folks searching for low-cost photo voltaic, particularly photo voltaic leases. Tesla’s QCells panels are the proper stability between inexpensive and performant, and the corporate’s Powerwall batteries, EV charging stations, and photo voltaic roof tiles give it an edge over Sunrun’s smattering of various tools from different producers.

10 to 25-year panel guarantee and 10-year labor guarantee

Gives inexpensive energy buy settlement (PPA) & lease choices

Solely installs tier-one panels

GET ESTIMATES

Finest Expertise

Obtainable in all 50 states

Person-friendly cellular app to trace efficiency

Excellent know-how and vitality outputs

GET ESTIMATES


Listed below are the solutions to a number of the questions I get requested most frequently about Sunrun vs. Tesla.

FAQs About Sunrun Vs. Tesla

Is Sunrun or Tesla cheaper?

Sunrun has a variety of budget-friendly choices, together with low-cost, no-money-down photo voltaic leases. Whereas I don’t suggest photo voltaic leases to most householders as a result of they restrict the sum of money it can save you, they’re a good way to make the change to renewable vitality when you can’t afford to pay money and might’t get a photo voltaic mortgage.


Is Sunrun the identical as Tesla?

No. Sunrun and Tesla each set up photo voltaic panels, however they’re two separate firms. It may be just a little complicated since Sunrun installs Tesla Powerwall batteries, however the two firms use totally different installers, have totally different warranties, and cost totally different costs. On a associated notice, Sunrun is identical as Vivint. Sunrun acquired Vivint in 2020, so don’t be confused when you hear folks referring to Vivint and Sunrun as in the event that they’re the identical firm.


Does Tesla work with Sunrun?

Not likely, though Sunrun does carry Tesla Powerwall batteries. In case you select Sunrun as your photo voltaic installer, you’ll be able to select to have Tesla Powerwall batteries put in as a part of your solar energy system, however you’ll be coping with Sunrun all through all the course of. Sunrun and Tesla function independently and have totally different pricing buildings, set up groups, and firm insurance policies. Tesla is sort of a producer in addition to an impartial installer.


What are the disadvantages of Sunrun?

The primary disadvantages of Sunrun are associated to its poor customer support. Many buyer evaluations of Sunrun point out that the corporate takes eternally to deal with guarantee claims, with some folks saying they don’t get service for months at a time. In keeping with third-party evaluations, Sunrun can be notoriously tough to get in contact with, making it tough to achieve the corporate when an issue arises.


What’s the price of Sunrun?

The price of Sunrun relies on the tools you select. Some Sunrun photo voltaic vitality programs are extra inexpensive than others, and the model of panel you select makes up a good portion of that price. REC and Qcells are two well-liked budget-friendly panel manufacturers that Sunrun installs, whereas SunPower is a way more costly model and is Sunrun’s premium panel choice.



Methodology: How We In contrast Sunrun vs Tesla

I put lots of effort and time into my photo voltaic firm comparisons to convey you recent detailed data that may make it easier to make an knowledgeable resolution. Over the course of my analysis, I grade every firm based mostly on a set of standards that I designed to provide a good illustration of the corporate’s total high quality. Right here’s how I rating the businesses I overview, together with the weights I take advantage of to find out every issue’s significance:

  • Native popularity and evaluations (20%): One of many first issues I do earlier than diving into the specifics of an organization is seeing what current clients should say. Different photo voltaic evaluations typically overlook this step, however I really feel that it’s vital to listen to from present clients since they’re the individuals who know an organization finest. I combination evaluations from quite a lot of sources to keep away from site-based biases and get a really feel for the general phrase of mouth that surrounds every photo voltaic installer. Neither Tesla nor Sunrun fares as nicely on this class as an organization like SunPower, for instance, however Tesla edged out Sunrun by a hair.
  • Pricing and financing (20%): Photo voltaic panels are a big funding for most householders, so I give an organization’s pricing scheme and financing severe consideration when constructing my evaluations. Firms with extra cost choices and higher costs rating higher on this class, even when a few of their financing choices are ones I don’t suggest (like photo voltaic leases and PPAs). Sunrun has extra low-cost choices than Tesla and extra selection in financing choices, so it takes the win on this class.
  • Companies supplied (20%): Not all photo voltaic installers supply the identical companies, so it’s vital to think about how complete an organization’s product and repair itemizing is when giving it a grade. I prioritize product choice and the provision of additional companies like vitality audits and effectivity upgrades. Tesla additionally beats Sunrun on this class, principally resulting from its high-quality photo voltaic monitoring app, Tesla Powerwall battery installations, Tesla photo voltaic roof, and EV charger installations.
  • Guarantee protection (20%): Photo voltaic panels are uncovered to the weather for his or her whole lives, so it’s important to guard them with a stable guarantee. The trade customary efficiency guarantee is 25 years, and most firms additionally supply a 10-year guarantee for workmanship. Tesla’s guarantee protection is correct consistent with the trade’s common, whereas Sunrun seems to supply a greater guarantee. I say “seems” as a result of, in follow, getting Sunrun to honor its warranties is a problem.
  • Firm Expertise (10%): I solely give firm expertise half the load of the classes I’ve coated to this point since I don’t assume it’s as vital as how the corporate has been performing lately. Older firms normally have marginally higher coaching practices, which give their technicians a slight edge over technicians at a youthful firm, however solely barely. Tesla and Sunrun rating about the identical right here, with Tesla getting began in photo voltaic round 2006 and Sunrun going into enterprise in 2007 in San Francisco, California.
  • Model high quality (10%): The general high quality of a model is tough to evaluate quantitatively, so I additionally give this class 10% weight. Sunrun has lots of dangerous phrase of mouth on the web, which loses it some factors on this part. Tesla Photo voltaic’s popularity is a bit higher, though its use of third-party installers makes it unclear how precious that data is.

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