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Last Updated on October 5, 2022
Although Tesla is better known for its range of electric sportscars, the leading tech manufacturer is also one of the largest producers of photovoltaic solar equipment in the nation. For many consumers hoping to install high-quality solar panels on their homes, they question how Tesla stacks up against another popular solar company—Sunrun.
Tesla and Sunrun both make high-quality solar equipment but Tesla’s panels are generally agreed upon to be more reliable and can produce slightly more electricity than Sunrun panels. That being said, though, the difference in output is marginal, and Sunrun offers a wider variety of products that are easier to install and come with a better warranty.
If you are considering installing solar panels to reduce your individual carbon footprint, take a moment to read more about Tesla and Sunrun. These two companies produce some of the finest solar panels in the world but, to get the most out of your investment, you’ll want to purchase the better panel for your home.
Tesla vs Sunrun – Comparing Companies
Although Tesla was originally founded to produce electric vehicles, it expanded into the solar market in 2016 after acquiring SolarCity—one of the largest solar energy companies at the time. Since then, Tesla has worked to innovate and produce smaller, more efficient, and better-designed solar panels than the standard blue and black panels we’ve become accustomed to.
Sunrun, on the other hand, is an American residential solar, battery storage, and energy services company that was founded in 2007 by Ed Fenster and Lynn Jurich. Fenster and Jurich had previously worked together at the venture capital firm Accel Partners where they helped fund and grow companies like Facebook, Etsy, and Dropcam.
Like Tesla, Sunrun got its start in the solar industry but has since expanded to offer home battery storage and energy services.
The company is best known for its BrightBox home solar battery system which can store solar energy for use at night or during a power outage. Now that we’ve taken a look at the two companies, let’s compare their solar panels in more detail.
A Comparison of Tesla vs Sunrun Solar Panels
In the six years since Tesla first got into solar, it’s quickly worked to make major strides in the industry, cutting retrofitting costs, increasing output, and driving up general competition in the market. Yet, let’s take a look at how the company’s solar panels stack up against Sunrun’s offerings.
When it comes to solar panels, the average homeowner is interested in one thing—energy output. After all, solar panels are a big investment and you want to be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. In terms of energy output, Tesla’s solar panels are some of the most efficient on the market, with an average output of 19.8% efficiency.
Sunrun’s panels are no slouch in this department, though, as they boast an average efficiency of between 15% to 22%. To be honest, though, this won’t make much of a difference for the average homeowner. Most home solar systems are only about 5 kilowatts, which means that the average Tesla panel will produce about 420 watts of power while the average Sunrun panel will produce about 400 watts.
Quality of the Hardware
From a purely technical standpoint, Sunrun and Tesla are offering similar products. Back in 2021, Tesla switched from using Hanhwa tech to its own homegrown panel systems, while Sunrun uses a mix of panel tech from LONGi and Costco. Yet, at the end of the day, both companies are producing and selling monocrystalline panels, which are considered to be the best type of solar panel on the market.
In terms of energy output, they both sit at the top of the market but, in terms of efficiency, Tesla is certainly more reliable, even if it is slightly less efficient. Although Sunrun can sometimes utilize up to 22% of the solar energy it receives, it’s not as consistent as Tesla.
In terms of quality, they’re both excellent but Tesla has a slight edge as its panels are made from a single crystal, making them more durable. In terms of price, Tesla is slightly cheaper but, when it comes to installation and warranty, Sunrun is the clear winner.
Tesla has a reputation for being a luxury brand yet, when it comes to solar panels, the company has worked hard to offer affordable products for the average consumer.
According to reviews, one customer reported that, after requesting a quote for both Tesla and Sunrun installations, a standard 5.4-kilowatt system from Sunrun would cost around $19,500 compared to an 8.16-kilowatt system from Tesla for just $16,600.
Considering that the Tesla system would produce substantially more energy in a year than the Sunrun system, it’s hard to deny that Tesla is the more affordable option. This begs the question of why, though.
From a purely market standpoint, Tesla doesn’t have to work so hard to reach customers. After all, it’s already a household name and carries with it an air of superior design.
Post-Installation Services and Warranty Coverage
Sunrun offers a 25-year warranty on all of its solar panels. This means that, if anything goes wrong with your panels during that time, Sunrun will replace them for free. Tesla, on the other hand, only offers a 10-year warranty, which is still pretty good but less than half that of Sunrun.
In addition to a longer warranty, Sunrun also offers free maintenance and monitoring for the lifetime of your system. This means that, if there are ever any issues with your solar panels, a Sunrun technician will come out to your home and fix the problem at no cost to you.
Tesla offers a similar service for an annual fee of $120. When it comes to post-installation services, it’s hard to beat what Sunrun has to offer. The company’s 20-year warranty and free lifetime maintenance are two of the best offers in the industry and give Sunrun a clear edge over Tesla.
|Energy Output||420 watts||400 watts|
|Solar Efficiency||Stable 19.8%||Variable 15-22%|
|Hardware||Monocrystalline panels||Monocrystalline panels|
|Warranty||10 years||25 years with free maintenance|
|Highlights||Reliability and affordability||Customer service and potential for higher efficiency|
It’s hard to say who has the better deal—Sunrun or Tesla? While there’s no denying that Tesla offers a more affordable and reliable solar system, Sunrun’s range of products and duration of warranty could save you more money in the long run. However, we can’t deny that Tesla offers a generally better product. And, its shorter warranty speaks to the company’s faith in its own products.
Final Winner: Tesla
Although Tesla and Sunrun are both excellent companies that produce high-quality solar equipment, Tesla is the better choice for the average consumer. Tesla’s panels are more efficient and reliable and offer a higher energy output than Sunrun’s.
The company also has a reputation for excellence, meaning that you can rest assured knowing that Tesla will be there for you if anything goes wrong with your solar equipment.
Monocrystalline panels are made from a single, large silicon crystal, which makes them more durable and efficient than their polycrystalline counterparts. That being said, monocrystalline panels are also more expensive to produce, which is likely why Sunrun’s panels are slightly more expensive than Tesla’s.
A properly installed solar panel system should last between 25 and 30 years with regular maintenance and care.
The average home in the United States uses about 900 kWh of electricity per month. In order to produce this much electricity with solar panels, you would need about 27-34 solar panels.
See Also: Can Tesla Run on Gas?