SunPower vs SolarCity

Jordan Grimmer
Jordan Grimmer | Senior Editor
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
9.9 Overall Score
4.4
star star star star star_half
(2,209)
SolarCity logo
#88 SolarCity
4.3 Overall Score
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
(702)

Overview

SunPower

Best Panels Available

SunPower

Best Inverter Available

SMA

Workmanship Warranty

25 Years

Equipment Warranty

25 Years

Payment Options Available
check Buy
check Lease
check Loan
Time in Business

36 Years

SolarCity

SolarCity

SolarCity

10 Years

20 Years

check Buy
check Lease
check Loan
check PPA

15 Years

Ratings

SunPower

Overall Score
9.9 of 10
Review Score
4.4
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
4.4
star star star star star_half
Likely to Recommend
8.5 of 10

SolarCity

4.3 of 10
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.3
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.2
star star star_border star_border star_border
2.0
star star star_border star_border star_border
2.4 of 10

Reviews

SunPower

Number of Reviews
2,209
Review Breakdown
4.4
star star star star star_half
5 star
75%
4 star
11%
3 star
2%
2 star
2%
1 star
9%

SolarCity

702
2.6
star star star_half star_border star_border
5 star
30%
4 star
10%
3 star
3%
2 star
8%
1 star
50%

Reviews for SunPower

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star

Chuck Lewis Tustin, CA

Excellent overall experience--from planning through finished product, they did a great job. They designed a system to meet my needs and installed the panels in a way that is very pleasing. Unlike many solar systems where the tracks are sticking out from the edges and pipes are all over the roof, Sunpower delivers a super tight install. The system is delivering excellent results and we are very pleased.

5 hours ago

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Warren De Young Torrance, CA

Terrible company. They do not reply to complaints, leave you on hold for ever. Our system was down, they said it was working and we received a huge invoice from our power company. SunPower has done nothing to resolve the issue.

2 weeks ago

Reviews for SolarCity

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star_border

Sawyer D Ogden, UT

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.

2 years ago

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Don Barkas Buellton, CA

Terrible installation. Crew was inexperienced except for the “foreman” who had no power to deal with problems. First day in the job the crew broke over 600 roof tiles and it went down hill from there. Customer service is non existent!! I knew it was a mistake 10 minutes after they arrived. If you are considering Solar City for your solar needs run don’t walk to someone else.

4 weeks ago

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

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