SunPower vs SolarCity

Asher Chino
Asher Chino | Contributor
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
9.4 Overall Score
4.5
star star star star star_half
(3,381)
SolarCity logo
#118 SolarCity
3.8 Overall Score
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
(710)

Overview

SunPower

Panels from

SunPower

Inverters from

SMA

Batteries from

SunPower

Workmanship Warranty

25 Years

Equipment Warranty

25 Years

NABCEP Certified

Yes

Purchasing Options Offered

N/A

Time in Business

37 Years

SolarCity

SolarCity

SolarCity

N/A

10 Years

20 Years

N/A

N/A

Undisclosed

Ratings

SunPower

Overall Score
9.4 of 10
Review Score
4.5
star star star star star_half
Value for Money
4.4
star star star star star_half
Quality of Product or Service
4.4
star star star star star_half
Company Trustworthiness
4.5
star star star star star_half
Likely to Recommend
8.8 of 10

SolarCity

3.8 of 10
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.3
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2.2
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2.0
star star star_border star_border star_border
2.3 of 10

Reviews

SunPower

Number of Reviews
3,381
Review Breakdown
4.5
star star star star star_half
5 star
76%
4 star
11%
3 star
2%
2 star
2%
1 star
8%

SolarCity

710
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
5 star
29%
4 star
10%
3 star
3%
2 star
7%
1 star
50%

Reviews for SunPower

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star

Stephen Alexis

September 29th, 2022

DETAILS

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Verified Customer

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Review Source

I can tell everything is working fine. It was very easy, they took care of everything, so I didn't really have much to deal with in terms of permitting and all of that stuff, it just was very easy. I had an issue with transponder that was not sending information and it took a while for that to get fixed but everything else has been great.

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Brian Peacock

October 1st, 2022

The initial sales staff call is a complete waste of time, because you can tell him all the information and then when you have somebody who actually the information, you have to give it all over again.

Reviews for SolarCity

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star_border

Sawyer D

April 26th, 2019

DETAILS

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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Chris Danese

September 30th, 2022

DETAILS

The performance expected was grossly exaggerated and my utility bill saw no significant change. I purchased 32 panels for a 2,700 sq foot home and between the solar financing and my utilities my monthly expenses is now more. Save your money. I spent $62,000 on a system that will never pay for itself.

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 Logo
SunPower