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
9.6 Overall Score
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
(1,154)
SolarCity logo
#55 SolarCity
4.1 Overall Score
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
(683)

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
check
Buy
check
Lease
check
Loan
check
Buy
check
Lease
check
Loan
check
PPA
Number of States Serviced
Number of States Serviced
18
20
Time In Business
Time In Business
35 Years
14 Years

Ratings

SunPower

SolarCity

Overall Score
Overall Score
9.6 of 10
4.1 of 10
Review Score
Review Score
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
Value for Money
Value for Money
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
2.4
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
Quality of Product or Service
Quality of Product or Service
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
2.3
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
Customer Service
Customer Service
4.0
starstarstarstarstar_half
2.1
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
Company Trustworthiness
Company Trustworthiness
4.3
starstarstarstarstar_half
2.1
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
Likely to Recommend
Likely to Recommend
8.1 of 10
2.6 of 10

Reviews

SunPower

SolarCity

Number of Reviews
Number of Reviews
1,154
683
Review Breakdown
Review Breakdown
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
5 star
69%
4 star
11%
3 star
3%
2 star
4%
1 star
13%
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
5 star
30%
4 star
10%
3 star
3%
2 star
7%
1 star
49%

Reviews for SunPower

Helpful Favorable Review

Verified Customer

starstarstarstarstar

Travis Gomez

July 1st, 2020 Oceanside, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstarstarstarstar
Quality of product or service
starstarstarstarstar
Customer service
starstarstarstarstar
Company trustworthiness
starstarstarstarstar

They made it so easy and seamless to get solar installed. Their sales process was helpful, informative, and low pressure. The installation team was organized, professional, and accommodating. Best of all, the pricing was great and performance has exceeded my expectations.


Helpful Critical Review

starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

Barry McCabe

June 17th, 2020 Palm Springs, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstarstarstarstar_border
Quality of product or service
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Customer service
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Company trustworthiness
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

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

starstarstarstarstar_border

Sawyer D

April 29th, 2019 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstarstarstarstar
Quality of product or service
starstarstarstarstar
Customer service
starstarstarstarstar_border
Company trustworthiness
starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

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

starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

Shrilurk

June 24th, 2020 Brentwood, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Quality of product or service
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Customer service
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Company trustworthiness
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border

My inverter failed after five years. A week after reporting it, no progress. They keep moving the window of response out farther. After four business days and originally being told "Tier 2 will get back to within three business days" the response turns into "Tier 2 will get back to within 3-14 business days". Then they tell me "The contract obligation is for us to fix or replace. It does not provide a time frame for this to be completed." Preposterous!


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.

top choice

SunPower
Visit Site