A Guide to Choosing the Right Solar Panels: SunPower or SolarCity?

Over the last 10 years, the cost of solar installations has decreased by nearly 60 percent. This is one of the main reasons why more households and businesses are considering a switch to this sustainable form of energy.

When it comes to putting together a solar installation, the selection of the best solar panels is one of the biggest prerequisites. Two names stand out among all of the other market opportunities - SunPower and SolarCity. How are these two brands different and what does it take to choose the right one? Let’s find out by drawing a side by side comparison.

A Brief SolarCity Overview

SolarCity is one of the most popular names in the industry and approximately a third of all installations in the US are powered by the brand. The company is a full-service solar panel provider, which turns it in a highly reputable residential service provider.

The company provides assistance with just about every step of the process - from designing the system to choosing the right components and obtaining the required permits/financing. The company has offices in District of Columbia and 20 other states, making its products readily available.

A Brief SunPower Overview

Another popular name in the field, SunPower is the provider of complete home solar systems, commercial solar platforms and large-scale solar installations.

It’s one of the oldest companies in the field (over 30 years of operations) and over the years, SunPower has managed to maintain its reputation and increase the number of satisfied customers. One of the biggest reasons for the company’s popularity is its investment in innovations. According to the SunPower official presentation, the company’s new X-Series panels can be expected to deliver up to 44 percent more power than comparable panels developed by other companies.

Unlike SolarCity, however, SunPower does not offer comprehensive services. One of the biggest ways in which it misses the mark is the lack of power purchase agreement (PPA) financing.

Pros and Cons of Choosing SolarCity

Now that we’ve established that both SolarCity and SunPower are reputable companies, it’s time to take a deeper look at the pros and the cons of choosing each.

SolarCity brings a big number of benefits to the table.

For a start, the financing options are excellent and PPA funding is also available. The customer service is spectacular and all of your inquiries will be addressed in a timely and adequate manner. SolarCity offers a wide array of managed services, which means that you’ll get assistance during nearly every step of the way.

A few other noteworthy advantages include 24/7 system monitoring, availability of a mobile app for effectiveness tracking, a 30-year warranty, free installation and battery backup that protects the system against power cuts and emergencies.

While all of this may sound great, there are several shortcomings to keep in mind. The biggest one is the lack of an energy performance guarantee. Such a guarantee has pretty much become the norm among other service providers. You should also keep in mind there are no system upgrades and a contract minimum of 20 years.

SunPower Pros and Cons

Let’s do the same for SunPower to see how the two companies compare.

The biggest advantages of choosing SunPower for your solar installation include 30 years of experience in the field, free consultations for the design of the system and battery backup that will guarantee your independence.

An app is also available to track system performance. The company is recognized for the quality of customer support which is available through multiple channels - phone, live chat and email are the most commonly utilized possibilities. SunPower’s warranty is 25 years and the company is considered one of the best manufacturers.

On the downside, SunPower doesn’t offer PPA financing and the installation will usually be outsourced to a third party. There isn’t 24/7 monitoring like in the case of SunPower and there’s no energy consumption performance guarantee.

Final Verdict

If you do a bit of online research, you’ll come across both SunPower and SolarCity testimonials that will share the experiences actual customers have had with these companies. The testimonials are predominantly positive, though both brands have some disgruntled clients.

Choosing one company or the other is entirely dependent on your main priorities.

If personalization and start to finish assistance is your primary goal, SolarCity will be the company for you. There’s a reason why it’s one of the biggest solar service providers in the US. The customized and diversified financing options also make SolarCity incredibly popular.

SunPower impresses with its industry experience that stems over the course of 30 long years. The company is known for the quality and effectiveness of its installations. Financing options aren’t that diversified, which is probably the biggest drawback.

Take some time to get free quotes from both companies and compare those side by side. Such information will make it much easier to choose the option that’s just right for you.