sunrun costco solar program

How you can get Costco solar panels from Sunrun

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If you regularly shop at Costco, you may have spotted a kiosk for home solar installations in the store, or even spoken to a store representative about installing their own branded Costco solar panels. Costco has a partnership with Sunrun, one of the largest residential solar companies in the country, to offer their members special benefits when they go solar. Here are the details of Costco’s partnership with Sunrun.

Costco solar partnership with Sunrun: benefits & takeaways

Sunrun is a California-based company that installs solar in 21 states across the country, primarily in the Northeast and Southwest. In 2017, they beat out Tesla Energy (formerly SolarCity) and installed the most residential solar systems in the United States. If you’re a Costco member, you are eligible for some special benefits if you go solar with Sunrun, including Costco cash and an enhanced roof warranty.

When you choose to buy a solar panel system through the Sunrun-Costco partnership, you’ll receive a Costco cash card worth 10 percent of your solar equipment costs (before taxes). This benefit only applies if you own your system – if you opt for a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) with Sunrun, you won’t receive a Costco cash card.

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Based on Sunrun proposals we have reviewed from EnergySage Solar Marketplace users, equipment costs can range anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the gross cost of the installation, so your Costco cash card benefits will vary accordingly.

For example, if your system costs $20,000 in total, your equipment costs may range from $5,000 to $10,000, which means you’d receive a Costco cash card with a value of anywhere between $500 and $1,000. (The actual costs for your project depend on many factors; to get an accurate estimate, you’ll need to talk to a company representative.)

In addition to the Costco cash card, you may be eligible for an additional cash bonus if you’re a Costco Executive Member. You’ll need to speak with a store representative to get more specific information.

Costco members who go solar with Sunrun also receive an enhanced 15-year roof penetration warranty from Sunrun. (The standard offering from Sunrun is 10 years.) This is a separate warranty from Sunrun’s workmanship warranty, which covers the installation, and a product manufacturer’s warranty, which covers your actual solar equipment.

Does Costco back Sunrun’s warranties?

No. Although Costco and Sunrun are partners in advertising solar, Costco does not back the warranties for your solar panel system – all they provide is a Costco Cash Card and access to their Costco Member Service Hotline. Though it is not immediately clear from Sunrun and Costco’s advertising materials, our research into the Sunrun customer agreement reveals that the extended roof penetration warranty offered through this partnership is provided by and fulfilled exclusively by Sunrun, not by Costco. We reached out to Costco directly for any further details, and their spokesperson declined to comment on this topic.

Should you get Costco solar panels through Sunrun?

There are some benefits to working with a national-scale solar installer over a local one – they have a recognized brand name and meaningful warranties. However, larger companies don’t always offer the best prices, and they aren’t known for personalized customer service (for more insight, read Fast Company’s “The Best Way To Get Cheap Solar: Shop Around”). Additionally, you can read our full analysis of Sunrun’s reviews across the web to get more perspective on their strengths and weaknesses.

Regardless of which installer you choose, EnergySage’s recommendation is always to compare multiple installers to find the one that’s the best fit for your needs. You can easily get quotes from installers near you by registering your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. If you’re just starting the shopping process, learn more about how much solar can save you by using EnergySage’s Solar Calculator.

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25 thoughts on “How you can get Costco solar panels from Sunrun

  1. Marc Hammill

    Do not purchase products through Sunrun. I trust Costco to deliver quality products and services, so I naïvely trusted Costco’s endorsement of Sunrun. My system worked properly for two months then needed an inverter which needed to be replaced. Well for over a years I paid Sunrun $140 a month and just received a utility bill for $1,700 dollars from PG&E. Sunrun offered me $200 to rectify the problem. Why am I paying for a service that does not work and an electric bill which equals out to be way more money than if I just paid for services with PG&E. I want the panels off my roof, I guess I’ll have to seek legal representation. Read the reviews on Sunrun, very shady business. It’s sad because I trusted Costco and didn’t do my homework.

  2. Jay

    Aren’t you suppose to receive a bill and then when your system supplies more power back to the grid over the next few months into the spring it will offset?! If you supply accurate information to the solar company and don’t go way over your average usage you shouldn’t be getting huge bills. People go solar and think “oh I have free solar I can use as much power as I want”. Lol

  3. Solarman

    Costco used to use Grape solar for their “standard” solar PV package, now it seems Sunrun has come courting. Like ANY construction project get at least three bids from different companies. Local can be a better price point than a national company. Most of these larger solar PV companies are using the sundry tax codes and the ITC to get you to buy in. They want to sell you long term power production agreements with “their” solar company, with the promise of no maintenance and up front costs, with “just” a low monthly electric bill for 20 to 25 years.

    It sounds like Marc Hammill above fell into the “roof lease” trap. NOW Marc will have to “buy out” his contract if he wants the panels off of his roof. Even IF he had not found himself in such a situation, he would have found out 5 years, 10 years down the road if he sells his house, Sunrun is “still” leasing his roof for “their” solar PV system. Now you have a partner in the sell of your house to a prospective buyer. This has caused problems with the prospective buyer balking at another agreement with another company who is leasing their roof.

    Marc also mentioned he is in the PG&E service territory. This utility uses tiered electricity rate structures and TOU or time of use, where from 3PM to 9PM the customer is charged a ‘peak use’ rate for those hours. So, during the day you send electricity back onto the grid at a ‘credit’, then during the TOU time of day you use your credits to pay for electricity sold back to YOU at three to five times the regular electric rate per kWh.

    Back to basics, get three bids with comprehensive accounting for the panels, inverter(s) or inverter(s)/ charger(s) mounting hardware, will there be an energy storage system installed, balance of system components and there should be a quote for labor costs to install this system. Vet the companies, check with the BBB, perhaps with the SEIA and get references from people that have had this group install a system on their home or business. ALWAYS own your solar PV system, never lease the system or your roof space. Folks don’t seem to think of a solar PV system as another appliance. I’ve never heard of someone leasing a hot water heater, air conditioning unit, pool pump etc. Why lease a solar PV system? Make sure all warranty information is given to you. The actual manufacturers warrantees should be in your name. Panels, inverter or inverter/charger, ESS. Usually these manufacturers will offer extended warranties out to 25 years for an extra fee. You can always find another solar company to take care of your repair, maintenance issues, you don’t need to be tied to Sunrun forever.

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