Tesla Solar Panels vs. Sunrun [Which is Better?]


Tesla Solar vs. Sunrun Compared

Solar energy is one of the most popular forms of alternative energy out on the market for individual homeowners to use. Because there is little for the homeowner to do as far as day-to-day maintenance and operations, solar energy is easy to operate and get clean energy to power a house. Two popular brands, Tesla and Sunrun, offer solar panels to buy and install to use solar energy.

Compared to Sunrun, Tesla seems to have a much more positive outlook from it’s customers. Tesla’s solar panels are not only the most affordable on the market, but they also use the most advanced solar technology: including sleek appearance, seamless backup battery, and easy mobile-app.

While these are not the only two options for purchasing solar panels, they are some of the best options homeowners can find on the market. When looking for the best service, homeowners should consider the costs and pros and cons of the solar panel system they wish to purchase.

» MORE: What Solar Options Does Tesla Offer?

Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla is more known for its electric vehicles. Still, there are a few reasons why they have been successful and are becoming a common household name for solar panels, despite that they have only been in the solar energy business for a handful of years compared to their competitor, Sunrun.

Tesla entered the solar business after buying out SolarCity in 2016. They eventually partnered with Panasonic to manufacture solar panels on a large scale and now provide solar panels to several states in the east, southeast, and southwest.

» MORE: Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

Cost of Tesla Solar Panels

The cost you will pay for Tesla’s solar panels will depend on your location and energy needs. It is also worth noting that prices may vary based on the size of your home’s roof as well.

Across the board, Tesla has the lowest cost-per-watt for solar panels. They even offer a price match guarantee.

The below table breaks down the costs for a solar panel system based on a Florida home with an average electric bill of $150/month:

Solar PanelDaily Solar Production% of Electric BillCost
4.80 kW24 kWh44%$10,080*
9.60 kW48 kWh89%$20,160*
14.40 kW72 kWh133%$30,240*
19.20 kW96 kWh177%$40,320*

*Cost is before any Government Tax Incentives. Through 2022, the federal tax credit for solar systems is 26%. This means you get 26% back (applied as a credit on your taxes) when tax time comes around.

In addition to the solar panels, Tesla offers its innovative Powerwall battery for solar energy backup storage, although it is not required.

This simple Tesla Solar Calculator will help you determine roughly how big of a solar system you’d need to replace your Electricity Bill 100%.

In order to offset 100% of your electric bill, you will need:


400 Watt Panels
kWh

Based on Tesla Solar Panel pricing it will cost:


$

Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

Tesla solar panels are already the lowest price solar panels on the market, but are there any other ways to save money when ordering?

In short, the only way to get a discount on Tesla solar panels is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering your Tesla solar panels.

Tesla has did this same “referral program” concept with it’s vehicles and essentially it allows new customers to get a discount on their purchase by using an existing customers personal referral link.

In regards to Tesla solar discounts, using a Tesla referral link when ordering will save you $300 off solar panels or $500 off solar roof.

The referral discounts are typically only available for a limited time before Tesla stops offering the discount, so take advantage of the savings while you can.

tesla solar panel discount

Pros and Cons of Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla’s solar panels offer unique advantages and disadvantages compared to Sunrun, which are all worth considering before deciding which company to purchase solar panels from.

Pros of Tesla Solar Panels

  • Tesla offers a longer extended warranty (25 years) than most other solar companies.
  • Their solar panels are made with durable materials to ensure they last longer.
  • The solar panels are low-profile and meant to blend in well with your home’s existing roof.
  • Tesla offers multiple energy storage solutions with their Powerwall to pair with the solar panels. You can purchase additional Powerwalls depending on your average energy consumption or as you need them.
  • Tesla has a mobile-friendly app designed to allow users to have complete control of their solar panel system.

Cons of Tesla Solar Panels

  • Some people have experienced installation delays after ordering their panels.

» MORE: Can a Tesla Powerwall Power My Whole Home?

Are Tesla Solar Panels Better?

When looking at customer reviews of Tesla solar panels, it appears the early reviews were below average, but the recent reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

It appears Tesla had a shaky start getting into the solar side of their business, but they’ve been improving their processes, and customer service, over time.

For those looking for the most advanced solar technology, at the most affordable price, Tesla solar panels are the best choice.

Sunrun Solar Panels

Sunrun solar is actually a finance company that specializes in solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases, according to The Solar Guys. This essentially means that Sunrun owns the solar panels installed on the homeowner’s roof; the homeowner just pays Sunrun a monthly fee for using the solar panels. However, Sunrun now offers an ownership option for customers who wish to have their own system, although this is not as common.

Cost of Sunrun Solar Panels

As mentioned above, homeowners only have to pay a monthly fee to rent Sunrun solar panels; the exact costs will depend on your average electricity use. As far as installation goes for those wanting to own the system, you can expect to pay between $15,000-$29,000 upfront.

Pros and Cons of Sunrun Solar Panels

Like Tesla, Sunrun’s solar panels have their own set of pros and cons worth considering before making any commitments:

Pros of Sunrun Solar Panels

  • Sunrun’s solar panels are incredibly durable, and the company performs regular tests to ensure that. In fact, a 2017 hailstorm only damaged one panel out of the 3,000 that were in the area.
  • Because Sunrun continues to own the panels as you use them, they are responsible for the costs of installation, maintenance, and permits, meaning you should not expect any exorbitant fees upfront or during the life of your Sunrun contract.
  • Sunrun offers plenty of flexibility in the way customers can pay their monthly bills.
  • Sunrun will monitor your system for you—no app needed.

Cons of Sunrun Solar Panels

  • The solar panels have a shorter warranty period, spanning 20 years.
  • Customers are required to sign a contract to use Sunrun’s solar panels. In the event you no longer want to use your solar panel system, you will have to pay for the rest of the monthly costs left on the contract in addition to the costs of the system’s hardware. The final cost for ending a contract early will vary but can be as high as $25,000+.
  • Sunrun’s Brightbox, their version of a battery storage solution, is said to be limited compared to Tesla’s Powerwall.
  • Customers have complained that Sunrun’s customer service is difficult to reach when needed.

Are Sunrun Solar Panels Better?

According to Consumer Affairs, Sunrun is actually a lower-rated company than most solar energy businesses, including Tesla. Out of 130 reviews, Sunrun received a 2.4/5.0 rating overall.

However, despite these reviews, if you want to save on upfront costs and not have to worry about regular maintenance, Sunrun seems the way to go over Tesla. And although Sunrun requires locking into a contract, if you do not plan to move to a new home anytime soon, this should not pose a problem.

» MORE: Do You Have to Order Tesla Solar From Tesla?

Conclusion

When it comes to solar panel systems, two of the top choices a homeowner could go for are Tesla and Sunrun. The two companies are giants in the solar power business but offer their own pros and cons.

Tesla has quickly become a big name in the solar industry. They have an unbeatable price, backed by a price match guarantee, and somehow do it all while offering the most advanced solar technology on the market. Having the ability to control the system through a mobile-friendly app, and the durable, aesthetically-pleasing appearance of the panels, may make it well worth the investment.

Sunrun, in contrast, has minimal upfront costs, but they require customers to lock into a contract, which may pose a financial challenge should you decide that you no longer wish to use their services. However, because Sunrun owns the solar panels, the maintenance and installation process and fees associated with ownership are theirs to handle, so you will have less to worry about.

Solar Discounts:

Greg Gottfried

The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg Gottfried, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. Being a Tesla owner allows Greg to fact-check information and personally try new scenarios out before publishing an article explaining the process.

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