Sunrun vs SunPower

Sunrun vs SunPower

Sunrun vs SunPower

Last Reviewed By: Kellan Jansen
Published: 2022-06-09

The increasing popularity of solar energy is a reflection of the public’s growing aversion to expensive electricity and fossil fuels. Solar Energy, in comparison, is clean, sustainable, and has become rather cost-effective over the past few years.

There are many solar companies that offer residential solar services to homeowners across the country. If you’re looking to install solar panels to your home, it’s important you find yourself a reliable and reputable solar company.

In this article, we’ll be looking at two of the most prominent residential solar service providers in the US—Sunpower and Sunrun.

Sunrun vs SunPower: Company Overview

Both SunPower and Sunrun are solar service giants in the US. Although both are well-known providers of solar panels and other solar services, SunPower and Sunrun operate quite differently from each other.

SunPower is an American solar company that provides full-service residential solar solutions. The company was Founded in 1985 by a Stanford electrical engineering professor named Richard Swanson. Every aspect of SunPower’s many solar offerings is done in-house within the company—from the manufacturing of the panels, batteries, mounting hardware, and monitoring software, to the selling, financing, installation, and maintenance of their residential solar systems.

The SunPower Corporation essentially consists of two companies—Sunpower and Maxeon Solar Technologies. Sunpower is responsible for supplying solar panel installations and other solar services to customers across the US. Maxeon, on the other hand, is responsible for manufacturing the company’s signature high-efficiency solar panels and other pieces of solar hardware. Because of its unique position as both service provider and manufacturer, SunPower offers some of the most powerful, efficient, and well-integrated solar power systems in the country. ** Sunrun** is the solar company that popularized “solar as a service” or “solar leasing". Sunrun is fundamentally different from SunPower in the way it operates. For one, Sunrun isn’t a manufacturer of solar panels. Instead, it’s a solar finance company that sells and leases solar installations to interested homeowners.

Sunrun’s claim to fame is that it pioneered low-cost solar leases, which made solar energy a lot more affordable to a lot more homeowners in the US. While Sunrun does sell residential solar systems, the company is better known for leasing their solar panels through power purchase agreements.

SunPower vs Sunrun: Key Solar System Considerations

If you’re looking to invest in a residential solar system with either SunPower or Sunrun, it’ll be in your best interest to learn more about the solar services provided by both companies. This will help you decide which between these two solar service giants best serves your energy needs and goals.

Here, we’re looking at some of the most relevant aspects of residential solar service in relation to what Sunpower and Sunrun have to offer—

Panel Performance

SunPower, as mentioned earlier, is uniquely positioned to provide high-efficiency panels that the company itself manufactures in-house, from its manufacturing arm—Maxeon Solar Technologies. With Sunpower, you know that your solar panels are coming from the same company that installs them. This means that you get a fully-integrated residential solar system that is designed to work together from the moment the panels come out of the factory to when they’re installed in your home.

SunPower installations are usually powered by Maxeon’s high-efficiency solar panels, which are among the best on the market with an efficiency rate of up to 22.8%.

Sunrun, in comparison, does not manufacture its own solar panels. Sunrun, on its website, claims that the company partners with “only the best panel manufacturers” in producing their solar panels. For a long time, Sunrun was predominantly using LG Neon R solar panels that have an average efficiency rate of 15%-20%, second only to the 22.8% efficiency rating of SunPower’s Maxeon 3 panels.

Earlier in 2022, however, Sunrun has established new partnerships with other top-tier solar panel manufacturers outside of LG. Names being mentioned as Sunrun’s new partner solar panel manufacturers include: SolarEdge, LONGi and Costco.

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SunPower has, for the longest time, some of the best warranties in the business. The company offers a comprehensive 25-year warranty that covers the entire solar energy installation, at no extra cost. SunPower’s industry-leading warranty covers any flaws and defects in panel performance, repairs, labor, and shipping.

But just when you think that the company’s warranty coverages couldn’t get any better, SunPower Maxeon Technologies has recently made the announcement that the company is extending the product and performance warranty of their Maxeon panels from 25 years to 40 years, making it the most extensive panel warranty on the market by a full ten years—a testament to SunPower’s commitment to providing homeowners a reliable and hassle-free solar experience.

Sunrun, meanwhile, provides a 10-year product warranty, which is significantly shorter even by industry-average. Sunrun’s 10-year product warranty covers solar panel repairs and replacements, including labor and spares. In addition to this, Sunrun also provides a 10-year performance guarantee that guarantees the annual energy output of your panels. The panels’ guaranteed production output, however, decreases each year to account for annual panel degradation.

Sunrun also offers a 10-year roof warranty, which means that Sunrun will repair leaks associated with the solar panel installation within the warranty period. It is worth noting, however, that while Sunrun advertises this as a 10-year roof warranty, the actual warranty coverage can be anywhere between 1 and 10 years, typically 5 years, as the company relies on local installers to install their panels rather than an in-house Sunrun team.

Cost and Financing

SunPower residential solar systems and installation costs are typically pricier than average, although not by an astronomical amount. It’s worth considering, though, that SunPower prices come with the company’s signature high-efficiency panels and industry-leading warranties.

SunPower residential solar systems typically cost anywhere between $3.12/watt and $3.74/watt. Altogether, a 6-kilowatt SunPower residential solar system can cost anywhere from $18,720 to $22,440, before incentives. Remember, you can dramatically reduce the cost of your SunPower installation by applying for local and state solar incentives and rebates, including a 26 percent solar tax credit.

With SunPower, you can purchase your solar panels outright or you can pay with a loan. Alternatively, you can also avail of the various lease agreements offered by the company. SunPower provides solar financing with $0 down for qualified homeowners.

Sunrun suffers from an overall lack of details and transparency regarding their various payment options, so prices can be particularly difficult to estimate. However, various reports have it that Sunrun’s prices are 14% higher than the market average, which makes sense as Sunrun is a larger company that carries higher overheads than most other solar providers.

Sunrun residential solar panel systems can be paid for using two different purchasing options: full solar purchase and monthly solar loans; and two different leasing options: full solar lease and monthly solar lease.

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SunPower’s streamlined, comprehensive, and fully-integrated approach to their solar offerings sets it apart from the competition. Unlike other solar companies that rely on various manufacturers to produce their solar equipment, SunPower produces their solar system in-house—everything from their Maxeon solar panels, inverters, batteries and chargers to their mounting hardware and monitoring software. This means that SunPower customers are getting an extremely high level of solar equipment cohesion that’s simply unavailable from any other solar service providers.

Additionally, SunPower has built an extensive network of solar dealers and certified installers in 18 locations across the US. Because every piece of SunPower solar equipment is manufactured by SunPower, SunPower dealers and installers have a proper understanding of factory-integrated features that maximize solar generation and enable faster installation.

Sunrun, in contrast, does not manufacture its own solar equipment, including the panels they use in their solar installation. However, Surun does source its panels from reputable manufacturers with established and proven track record of producing high-quality solar panels with high efficiency ratings,

In terms of the company’s installation practices, Sunrun is known to subcontract the process to local installers.

Ratings and Reviews

SunPower holds an A+ from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Positive SunPower solar reviews reflect high-quality and highly efficient solar panels, excellent installation services, consistent system performance, and excellent warranties.

Negative SunPower reviews, on the other hand, indicate that there’s room for the company to improve its follow-up customer service.

Sunrun holds an A- rating from the BBB, receiving mixed reviews from its customers. Most of Sunrun’s positive reviews come from customers who are leasing their solar panels, instead of buying them. Positive Sunrun reviews commend the company’s hassle free installation and quick energy savings.

Negative Sunrun reviews, on the other hand, indicates an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the company’s inattentive customer service. Sunrun’s response time dramatically varies depending on the urgency of the issue. While roof leaks and other serious issues are given priority, solar panel repair and other equipment issues can take up to two weeks on average to be resolved.

“I hate Sunrun” Searched 450 Times Per Month

According to, there are approximately 450 searches per month for the phrase “I hate Sunrun”. The fact that this term is searched this many times a month is alarming. The results of this search lead to Better Business Bureau complaints, youtube videos of news coverage from unhappy customers and even a Reddit thread from customers of Sunrun. The BBB page for Sunrun even features an “alert” to users that reads “Sunrun was brought to the BBB's attention in April 2009. A review of the company was completed in December 2021. Based on BBB files this company has a pattern of complaints. Complaints on file state delays in response time when contacting the company to resolve issues.“ and features a letter from Sunrun to the BBB listing off how they plan to improve their business.

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SunPower vs Sunrun: Conclusion

At the end of the day, there’s an invaluable advantage in having your residential solar system installed, maintained, and serviced by the same company that’s actually making them.

SunPower manufactures its own panels and other solar system components in-house, whereas Sunrun relies on third-party equipment manufacturers. Add that to the fact that SunPower has their solar panels installed by certified SunPower installers, whereas Sunrun tends to subcontract its installation process to local installers.

This particular combination of best-in-class solar panels and reliable in-house solar installers allows SunPower to provide residential solar solutions that are much more streamlined, comprehensive, and cohesive—objectively making SunPower the better solar service company in nearly every aspect.

To learn more about SunPower Solar Panels visit their website. For more in-depth details, visit our Sunrun Solar Reviews and our SunPower Reviews pages.