1. SunPower vs SolarCity

SunPower vs SolarCity

SunPower and SolarCity are both companies with a large footprint in the solar industry. SunPower has been in business for more than 30 years and has pioneered hundreds of solar technologies, while SolarCity has over a decade of experience and has developed a variety of innovative solar equipments of its own.

Read on to discover the similarities and differences between SunPower and SolarCity and determine which company is a better option for you.
SunPower logo verified_user
#1 SunPower
9.8 Overall Score
4.3
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(1,365)
SolarCity logo
#57 SolarCity
4.2 Overall Score
2.7
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(689)

Overview

SunPower

SolarCity

Best Panels Available
Best Panels Available
SunPower
SolarCity
Best Inverter Available
Best Inverter Available
SMA
SolarCity
Workmanship Warranty
Workmanship Warranty
25 Years
10 Years
Equipment Warranty
Equipment Warranty
25 Years
20 Years
Payment Options Available
Payment Options Available
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Buy
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Lease
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Loan
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Buy
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Lease
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Loan
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PPA
Time In Business
Time In Business
35 Years
14 Years

Ratings

SunPower

SolarCity

Overall Score
Overall Score
9.8 of 10
4.2 of 10
Review Score
Review Score
4.3
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2.7
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Value for Money
Value for Money
4.3
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2.3
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Quality of Product or Service
Quality of Product or Service
4.2
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2.3
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Customer Service
Customer Service
4.1
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2.0
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Company Trustworthiness
Company Trustworthiness
4.3
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2.0
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Likely to Recommend
Likely to Recommend
8.3 of 10
2.6 of 10

Reviews

SunPower

SolarCity

Number of Reviews
Number of Reviews
1,365
689
Review Breakdown
Review Breakdown
4.3
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5 star
71%
4 star
11%
3 star
3%
2 star
3%
1 star
12%
2.7
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5 star
30%
4 star
10%
3 star
3%
2 star
7%
1 star
49%

Reviews for SunPower

Helpful Favorable Review

Verified Customer

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robert lawrence

September 22nd, 2020 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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Customer service
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Company trustworthiness
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I just found the communication between Summit Solar, SunPower, and ComEd very poor. In the end it will be fine, but due to the poor communication we are now going to get bill for a 3 month lump sum. That kinda stings.


Helpful Critical Review

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Barry McCabe

September 22nd, 2020 Palm Springs, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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Customer service
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Company trustworthiness
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This is my second house with Sunpower. They used to be great. Now calls go through a foreign call center and repair work is subcontracted. But their original installer can't get their attention either. The microinverters in my 4 year old panels failed in early April. They sent a crew in late May but that crew said they's have to send a different crew with different tools. Now I leave voicemail messages and get the same response: they will contact me when they are ready. Something terrible happened to a formerly good company and I'm ready to go to court.


Reviews for SolarCity

Helpful Favorable Review

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Sawyer D

September 22nd, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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Customer service
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Company trustworthiness
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Thanks for allowing a system size under 3 KW. I was told you wouldn't for a loan, but for cash, you did. Haven't had any technical issues. I'm afraid if I did, I'd be on my own or face long long hold times. Also, your offer of move the panels for $2000 is too good to be true. They should have insisted on attic run for conduit. Very nice crew, they did offer some special install services, but attic run should have been seriously impressed on me.


Helpful Critical Review

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Eddie

September 22nd, 2020 Diamond Bar, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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Customer service
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Company trustworthiness
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I purchased a house a month which had solar city solar panels and have been emailing Tesla every week for them to set up my account. I have not heard back from my Property & Title agent in weeks even though they estimate a 2-4 business day response time. This is absolutely the worst customer service I have experienced if you can even call it customer service. The reviews on Tesla solar panels were bad but I never expected my situation to be this bad.


The Final Word

Availability
SunPower equipment is currently available in 40 states, while SolarCity solar systems are offered in 20 states.

Individuals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington D.C. have access to both SunPower and SolarCity solar energy systems.

SunPower systems are also available in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, while SolarCity does not offer service in these states.

SolarCity operates in Washington, while Sunpower does not.

Payment Options
SolarCity allows customers to purchase a solar system outright, finance a system with a loan, lease a system, or utilize a system by signing into a power purchase agreement (PPA).

SunPower also allows outright purchases, loans, and leases, but the company only offers PPAs to commercial customers, which means residential SunPower customers do not have access to the PPA option.

Equipment
SunPower and SolarCity both manufacture their own equipment. SunPower holds 750 solar technology patents and makes the highest efficiency solar panels currently available on the market. According to testing, SunPower’s panels deliver 44 percent more energy per watt than competitive products and can maintain their production better than other panels in partly-shaded conditions. In addition to being extremely efficient, SunPower solar panels are all black and designed to blend in better with the rooftop than traditional blue panels.

While SolarCity’s panels are not on par with SunPower’s in terms of efficiency, the company does produce and offer solar shingles, which are a unique product in the industry.

Installations
SunPower performs its own installations in select areas of California. Outside of these areas, the company’s installations are performed through a network of dealers. In addition to performing the installation, the dealer also acts as the customer care center for the life of the solar energy system.

SolarCity, on the other hand, performs all of its installations with its own in-house team. However, several customers have reported issues with delayed and incorrect installations.

Warranties
SunPower offers industry-leading warranties, including a 25-year warranty on equipment, a 25-year warranty on labor and installation, and a 25-year warranty on system performance.

SolarCity provides its customers with a 20-year warranty on equipment, a 10-year warranty on labor and installation, and a 25-year warranty on system performance.

Battery Storage
SunPower does not produce its own batteries, but its systems are compatible with Freedom CPAP batteries, which are manufactured by Battery Power Solutions.

SolarCity offers Tesla Powerwall batteries to its customers, which are designed to seamlessly integrate with the company’s solar equipment.

Referral Program
SunPower’s referral program rewards customers with $100 for every qualified homeowner they refer who has an in-home consultation, regardless of whether or not the referee actually purchases a solar system.

SolarCity pays customers $250 for each referral that installs a solar energy system.

Recommendation
SunPower and SolarCity have similar offerings in terms of payment options—although SolarCity provides PPAs for residential customers while SunPower does not—and battery storage. 

While SunPower does outsource a majority of its installations to certified dealers, the company offers some of the best solar equipment available and incredibly lengthy warranties, which is why SunPower is recommended over SolarCity for those who live within a state where its products are available.

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SunPower
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