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
#4 SunPower
8.7 Overall Score
3.8
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(630)
SolarCity logo
#47 SolarCity
4.4 Overall Score
2.6
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(672)

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
Number of States Serviced
Number of States Serviced
18
20
Time In Business
Time In Business
34 Years
13 Years

Ratings

SunPower

SolarCity

Overall Score
Overall Score
8.7 of 10
4.4 of 10
Review Score
Review Score
3.8
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2.6
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Value for Money
Value for Money
3.8
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2.4
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Quality of Product or Service
Quality of Product or Service
3.8
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2.4
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Customer Service
Customer Service
3.6
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2.1
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Company Trustworthiness
Company Trustworthiness
3.8
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2.1
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Likely to Recommend
Likely to Recommend
7.1 of 10
2.7 of 10

Reviews

SunPower

SolarCity

Number of Reviews
Number of Reviews
630
672
Review Breakdown
Review Breakdown
3.8
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5 star
59%
4 star
11%
3 star
4%
2 star
5%
1 star
21%
2.6
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5 star
31%
4 star
11%
3 star
3%
2 star
7%
1 star
48%

Reviews for SunPower

Helpful Favorable Review

Verified Customer

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TJ
December 2nd, 2019 Lake Havasu City, AZ DETAILS
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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High quality panels have been producing as quoted for over a year, the monitoring system installed not only shows production but also home usage, during the quoting and installation process I had a lot of questions and South Coast Solar was incredibly responsive and made extra trips to my home to connect the system in the way I requested.


Helpful Critical Review

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Bob R
November 19th, 2019 San Juan Capistrano, CA DETAILS
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 bought my SunPower system and it was turned on 8/16/2019. I have been told by their staff that my inverters are not working properly. I have been told they are reviewing it. Today on 11/15/2019 I called them to get an update and told they are still reviewing it. This is a brand new system and it has never worked correctly.


Reviews for SolarCity

Helpful Favorable Review

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Jared
April 22nd, 2019 Bothell, WA DETAILS
Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
starstarstarstarstar
Customer service
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Company trustworthiness
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Overall my experience with SolarCity/Tesla has been amazing. Great customer service every time I've called to get a status update or help move the process forward. Installers that came out were contracted (around March 2019) and did an amazing job. SolarCity/Tesla upgraded me to the newest panel for free as well due to supply issues (SC330 instead of SC320), and my panels are doing amazingly!


Helpful Critical Review

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John Pugliese
October 28th, 2019 Hope, RI DETAILS
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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Don't get involved with SolarCity/Tesla. It will only cost you money. You will save nothing. If you decide to sell your home, the 20 year contract is considered a lease and may disqualify a potential buyer. DON'T GET INVOLVED. Keep your current electric company and stop using so much electricity. Shut off the lights.....


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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