Going solar is without a doubt a worthwhile investment for any property owner. After all, solar is clean, natural, and sustainable energy. Other than the installation and maintenance costs, solar energy is free.
All you have to do is install the right solar system on your property to enjoy remarkably low energy costs.
However, with so many options out there, choosing the ideal solar system for your home or business can be a bit overwhelming.
You have to consider factors like panel design, overall quality, output rating, installation costs, manufacturer’s warranty, service delivery, and real-world performance.
In this post, we focus on SunPower and Sunrun, which are among the top solar companies in the world today.
Keep reading to find out which one of the two is the ideal option for your energy needs.
SunPower is an American-based company that focuses on providing a variety of solar solutions.
The company first started as a solar energy research project back in 1985 before venturing into the business of producing high-quality solar systems for homes and businesses.
Sunrun is a leading provider of solar panels and batteries in the USA. Unlike other providers that focus on both commercial and residential properties, Sunrun focuses solely on powering homes with affordable solar solutions.
Sunrun is among the first companies in the country to lease solar equipment to homeowners. This goes a long way to cut down on the initial costs of purchasing and installing solar systems.
Both SunPower and Sunrun have impressive company profiles. However,
Panel Type and Design
When selecting a solar panel, you have to consider the type and design. These two factors have a bearing on the efficiency of the solar system. The three main panel types to consider are:
- Monocrystalline – These solar panels consist of pure silicon square-shaped crystals for easy absorption of photons. They have a dark color and are the most efficient in terms of energy conversion.
- Polycrystalline – These panels are made out of multiple silicon fragments melted together. They have a bluer appearance and are more affordable given their lower efficiency.
- Thin-film – These panels are made from other materials rather than silicon. This makes them less efficient compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. However, they are cheaper and easier to install.
Both SunPower and Sunrun supply the three types of solar panels. SunPower, however, wins this contest hands down since they produce their own panels through their subsidiary company Maxeon Solar.
Experts consider SunPower to be the world’s leading solar panel manufacturer. This is largely because of the high-quality solar panels the company produces.
As highlighted earlier, SunPower started as a solar energy research project, which explains their expertise in this sector.
The quality of Sunrun solar panels is equally impressive. However, the company does not produce its own solar panels.
Instead, they work with independent, third-party solar manufacturers like LONGi Solar. This makes it is somewhat hard to evaluate the quality of the panels offered by Sunrun.
Verdict: SunPower has a slight advantage over Sunrun in terms of the overall quality of their solar panels.
The company produces high-quality panels through Maxeon Solar while Sunrun has to rely on third-party suppliers.
The amount of power a solar panel can generate depends on its output rating. Sunrun solar panels have an output rating averaging 320 watts with 15 to 22% efficiency.
SunPower solar panels have an output rating of between 360 watts and 500 watts with up to 22.8% efficiency.
When comparing the two, SunPower panels have a higher output rating with better efficiency.
You can always rely on SunPower Maxeon solar panels to generate adequate power to meet your energy needs.
Read SunPower vs. Sunnova
No doubt, the initial costs of installing solar panels in your home or business can be a bit on the higher side.
However, the numerous benefits that come with going solar makeup for the high installation costs.
SunPower offers its customers various affordable solar purchase and installation plans. You have the option to buy SunPower solar systems directly using a home equity loan.
You can also take advantage of the various lease agreements offered by SunPower. However, since the company produces high-quality panels with long-term warranties, customers should expect to pay higher purchase and installation costs.
Sunrun is widely acclaimed as one of the first companies to offer their customers flexible solar lease agreements.
So, it is not surprising that their products are comparatively more affordable.
Sunrun wins as far as installation costs are concerned. Their prices might be higher than other providers since they have to do a lot of marketing, but installation costs remain lower compared to SunPower.
Going solar is a big-budget investment so it is always a good idea to consider the warranty coverage offered by the provider.
A long warranty period will help protect your valuable investment from damage or any unforeseen eventualities.
SunPower offers a 25-year industry-leading warranty that covers the entire system. The warranty covers repairs, repairs, labor, and shipping at no extra cost.
You do not require proof of purchase to benefit from this warranty.
Sunrun provides a worry-free warranty on all their rooftop solar panels. The warranty runs for 10 years and it includes system repairs and replacement of defective parts. It also covers labor and spares.
SunPower has one of the longest warranty periods of up to 25 years while Sunrun provides a maximum warranty of only 10 years.
The service offered by SunPower is simply incomparable. Firstly, the company produces their own solar systems and they have contracted their own installers. They have a huge network of certified installers based in 18 locations around the country.
In contrast, Sunrun does not produce its own solar systems. Instead, they source their panels from other companies. However, they do install the solar systems or sometimes opt to subcontract to independent installers.
Verdict: SunPower has an upper hand in terms of service delivery since they work with their own certified installers throughout the country.
Feedback from Industry Experts
Reviews from reputable sites like solarreviews.com, consumeraffairs.com, and bestcompany.com paint a clear picture of what you should expect when you opt for either of these companies.
SunPower is highly regarded for its high-quality solar panels and excellent installation services.
In contrast, Sunrun has a very poor rating, particularly on solarreviews.com. Their ratings are much better on consumeraffairs.com partly because of their flexible payment options.
Overall, SunPower has a better rating if the current reviews are anything to go by.
Does SunPower use micro inverters?
Yes. SunPower solar systems use microinverters to convert direct current into alternating current. The micro-inverters are installed in individual solar panels.
This improves the efficiency of each solar panel and prevents downtimes in case one panel fails.
In 2018, SunPower entered into a partnership with Enphase to be producing their micro-inverters. Enphase is not contracted to supply all the microinverters that SunPower uses on the Maxeon home solar systems.
Does SunPower use enphase inverters?
Yes. SunPower use Enphase inverters. As highlighted above, SunPower and Enphase signed a strategic collaboration agreement in 2018 where SunPower sold its microinverter business to Enphase in exchange for shares in their company.
The new Enphase Energized Maxeon solar AC module comes equipped with a 7th generation Enphase IQ microinverter.
Is Sunrun a Chinese company?
No. Sunrun is an American company with its main office located in San Francisco California.
The company has been in the business of supplying solar panels and home batteries since 2007.
However, Sunrun does not produce its own solar system. Instead, they work with independent solar manufacturers.
Currently, they are working with LONGi Solar, which is a Chinese solar provider. Perhaps this is the reason why many people associate Sunrun with China.
Is SunPower going out of business?
SunPower recently announced that they are splitting the company into two separate companies, with SunPower concentrating on the supply and installation part of business and Maxeon focusing on the manufacturing side.
This raised questions on whether the company was going out of business.
SunPower is not going out of business anytime soon. In fact, the company recorded total revenues of $1.1 billion in the year ended 2020.
This is a clear indication that the company is stable and still doing business.
Is Sunrun going out of business?
Sunrun might have experienced headwinds with their stocks dropping in 2021, but this does not mean they are going out of business.
The solar industry is a growing sector and Sunrun has a loyal customer base all over the country.
After comparing SunPower and Sunrun, it is easy to tell that SunPower has an edge in nearly every aspect.
The company produces high-quality solar systems that are meant to last while Sunrun relies on third-party manufacturers for solar panels.
In essence, SunPower are manufacturers and installers at the same time, while Sunrun are more or less solar installers.
Even though SunPower solar panels are priced above the industry average, their products offer good value for money.
Besides, the numerous benefits that SunPower solar systems have to offer make up for the high price tag.