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Understanding your Sunrun solar lease, PPA and solar contract agreement

Sunrun is one of the largest solar installation companies in the country and has partnerships with organizations like Comcast, Major League Baseball, and Costco. The company primarily offers solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) to homeowners, although there are also cash purchase and solar loan options. Are you considering a lease or PPA offer from Sunrun? Before you sign on the dotted line, review EnergySage’s guide to evaluating your Sunrun offer.

Sunrun solar lease: what you need to know

When you sign a Sunrun lease or PPA, you are giving the company permission to install solar panels on your home. Even though the panels are located on your roof, you don’t own them. You simply agree to pay the owner (Sunrun) each month for the electricity that the panels generate.

If you sign a solar lease, you pay a flat monthly “rent” to Sunrun in exchange for electricity; if you sign a PPA, you commit to paying a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the electricity that your solar panels generate. Like most other solar leasing companies, Sunrun leases and PPAs are both typically 20-year agreements.

Your Sunrun lease or PPA, explained

All Sunrun lease and PPA offers have common pieces of information that you can use to evaluate your long-term solar savings. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand what you’re signing up for if you accept a Sunrun quote.

Sunrun PPA offer screenshot
Terms included in a Sunrun PPA offer.

Monthly payments due to Sunrun: Every Sunrun offer will be based on either a per-kWh rate (in the case of a PPA) or a flat monthly payment (in the case of a lease). This is one of the most important numbers in your Sunrun quote. If you want to see significant savings when you sign up for a solar lease or PPA with Sunrun, your total monthly payments should be much lower than an average electricity bill from your utility.

Annual rate increase (also known as the “escalator”): It’s important to note that the monthly payment indicated in your Sunrun lease or PPA offer is only your rate in the first year. Leases and PPAs often have an annual rate increase of around three percent per year built into the agreement.

In the example above, the annual increase is 0.99%, which means that the 14.5 cent rate that you pay per kWh will increase to 17.5 cents per kWh by the end of the 20-year agreement.

Electricity rate assumptions: In Sunrun’s calculation of 20-year savings, the PPA offer uses the assumption that electricity rates will increase by 4.75% each year. However, electricity rates (and rate increases) can vary significantly by state across the country. The national ten-year average is closer to 3%.

Use the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federally funded resource for energy statistics and analysis, to get context about what sort of rate increase to expect in your state. The EIA has information about historical per-kWh rate increases as well as projections for future electricity rates. Make sure to double-check the EIA’s projections for your area to ensure that it is similar to what is included in Sunrun’s offer. Additionally, be sure to confirm that the electricity bill information is accurate for your home. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions!

Sunrun quote information EnergySage

System information: How much of your electricity use should you expect your solar panels to cover? Understanding how much electricity your panels will generate, and how much you will need to buy from your utility, can help you confirm that your system is the right size for your home.

In most cases, you don’t want a system that will produce more electricity than you can use. If Sunrun installs a system that produces more electricity than you use, you could end up paying Sunrun for more electricity than you actually need.

Sunrun lease and PPA offers also include information on the equipment that will be installed on your home. Evaluate the quality of the solar panels and inverters included in your offer to ensure that it’s up to your standards for a 20-year commitment.

Questions to ask when reviewing a Sunrun solar contract

 The initial quote that you receive from Sunrun won’t contain all of the information that will be included in your final contract. Before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few more questions you should ask your Sunrun energy consultant:

  • Is there a performance guarantee? A performance guarantee states that your system’s performance won’t fall below a set standard. In the unlikely event that your system malfunctions, the performance guarantee is your recourse with the company. Make sure you have one in your contract.
  • Did you make any changes to the design of the system? Your system’s design isn’t finalized until you receive the final contract from Sunrun. Before you sign, verify that there the physical design and layout of your solar panel system is what you expect based on your original offer. For example, check if any new panels been added, or if their location on your roof has changed.
  • What are the terms of the warranty? The initial offer that you receive may include an overview of terms for warranties and repairs, but you should review the fine print in your final contract to understand what is and is not covered in your warranty.
  • What are my options when the agreement ends? Most homeowners will have the option to either extend their agreement with its existing terms, upgrade to a new system under a new contract, or have the system removed at no cost.

How to compare a Sunrun solar lease or PPA to a system purchase

Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels depends on your financial situation and reasons for going solar. While owning your solar panels does offer significantly greater 20-year savings, solar leases can be a better deal for homeowners who can’t take advantage of tax credits or other rebates and incentives.

Most solar leases require $0 down, and solar leasing companies make it easy for you to sign an agreement on the same day. However, solar leases and PPAs are still 20-year contracts. As with any other major financial commitment, shopping around is the best way to ensure that the solar financing that you choose is the best option for you. Getting multiple offers from local solar installers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace is an easy, no cost way to review all of your solar options and find the best fit.

More than 30 percent of EnergySage users already had an offer from a solar company when they registered. Homeowners with pre-existing Sunrun quotes in hand are encouraged to join, and compare their Sunrun offer with competing offers from local solar installers on EnergySage.

67 thoughts on “Understanding your Sunrun solar lease, PPA and solar contract agreement

  1. Corinne Jefferson

    I have a lease with SunRun, and my system has been down for 18 months out of 26! I am getting the run around, and I call them every two weeks. They came out the first time and stated they fixed it, but they never went on the roof, so a month later it crashed again! They have told me over and over they are trying to find a panel. My system was 8 years old when this started, now we are at 10 years! My system ARC’D twice so they shut it down completely, leaving me to Edison. In April I told them I would no longer pay on a lease they have violated, and I want my system up and running! Today I told them that the panels they are hunting down are no longer in service and outdated, and since I’m on a lease they need to put newer ones up to replace! I am at my Witts end! Any ideas on who or how to contact their corp. offices, as every number on their state filed documents is no longer in service?

  2. Monte Scottsdale

    I bought a house with Sunrun system and the old owner paid off the lease. But Sunrun wants me to sign a the remaining lease for another 10 years for some reason. It’s paid off? I ask what’s li volved in taking over ownership and I get no response.
    I think this company makes more money on the lease than anything else.

    1. Carolyn

      Similar situation here.. I bought a house from someone with a SunRun lease, but they paid off the lease as part of the sale. A year later, SunRun wants me to take over the contract, but from the owner before the one who sold it to me! They don’t seem to keep good records at SunRun. I’m consulting a lawyer before I sign anything. There are SO many consumer complaints against SunRun.

  3. Mary Roseling

    My contract shows my 42 panel system will produce 12,500 kwh per year…. and I should pay no more than $130 true up….. i assumed the lease of this horrid deal when I bought my house in 2019. I was also told that I could buy siad lease in year 5 (it was only year 3)… but the total should be around $25,000… ha ha ha… at year 5 (on the actual day of, and not one second before!), I was told is would we $40+ K!!

    AND that my true up bills?? 1st year $1500, second year about the same… third year $1334…. and I keep my house at 68 in winter nad 78 in summer…. I also have the luxury of paying SUNRUN $2400 a year for the lease.

    ANYONE , ANYWHERE with a class action suit against them for misleading people on lease agreements, please call contact me!!!

    1. David

      OMG My friends are going through the same thing in Hawaii.
      How do these people get around this? Can anyone tell me how many pages your lease contract is? I only received 2 pages.
      Thank you!

  4. Anthony

    Thank God it was someone else that precipitated my ‘contact’ with Sunrun. I would never do business with them based on how they treated, changed the rules, changed the terms of the job my friend was supposed to have done. I told my friend to deal with any other company but Sunrun.

    1. Rebecca Delcambre

      My husband and I got Sun Run Solar at the end of 2018 and it’s been a disaster! We were lied too and pay more now than ever. We’ve seen NO savings in going solar. Our story is very similar to yours and We would love to start a class action lawsuit against them!! Let’s do it!!!!!!!!!

  5. George Papadakis

    Have a solar lease with Sunrun for three years now, currently trying for 3 months to have them remove and reinstall 5 solar panels to repair the section of my roof that is leaking and should be covered by the 10 year water warranty. Can not even speak to an individual from the warranty department??? Keep getting the run around??? They wanted to charge me $170.00 per solar panel to remove and reinstall in order for me to pay a roofing contractor to repair my roof???

    Be careful with the water leak warranty, Have them write in the cost for removal and reinstall of the solar panels if necessary after you sign the lease.

    1. Eric

      I feel your pain. We had hail damage to our roof and want sunrun to remove and reinstall accordingly so that we can get our roof repaired. What makes it harder though is that we’re installing two skylights. This requires 4 solar panels being relocated. There’s plenty of room to do this yet sunrun now wants a re-design fee at around $2700 involving new permits inspections etc. Plus the $170 per panel cost to remove and reinstall. Totaling $6700 to $8200 based on their fine print stating that if they need to add to the metal grid that they’re allowed to charge up to the max amount. We loathe sunrun to no end. We inherited the prior b owner’s lease when we bought the house. They are the most unethical company in existence as far as I know of. Other solar companies allow third party contractors to remove and reinstall. Not scumrun. They want to triple and quadruple dip their hands in your pockets. We pre-paid the contractual energy usage so that we can keep a warranty. That cost us about $21k. Now we have to fork over another $8k. Anyone knows that buying your own system costs less than $29k. This adds up and essentially costs more then paying a conventional power company for electricity. They’re an evil company that deserves to be sued in a class action lawsuit.

  6. Tim Daly

    Have had Sunrun leased panels for four years and am enjoying the savings on my electric bill every month. They also replaced the roof on my house and separate garage with 45 year shingles for $1200 total. That was an $8000 savings. Well worth it and would recommend Sunrun without hesitation. I live in the Boston area.


    I am dealing with this sun run company in Arizona my self, ( Casa Grande AZ ) . My Uncle let them put there panel’s on his home and that’s not all they added to his contract, they added our names ( my sister that is deceased ) ( my one brother that is Deceased ) ( my self and my last living Brother ) My Uncle was not well he had been in and out of the VA Hospital in Tucson AZ . I found out after his Death he had end stage COPD and his thoughts were not always what they should have been but at that time I didn’t even know he had COPD and was on Oxygen he had a young man living with him that helped my Uncle because he couldn’t drive anymore I thought he might be getting forgetful, he was 93. He never told me what was going on . I live in Mo so I wasn’t able to go see him like I would have liked to. His sister is still living and we both tried to get him to move back here so we could be with him. She was older than him. He called me one Day and had me talk to this man that was there from Sun Run, I asked the man really one main question and now wish I had asked more questions and that was will they take the panel’s off if some thing happened to my Uncle ( not even knowing my uncle had COPD Plus at the time. I didn’t even know they put our names on the contracts. There was just my Uncles first initial and last name initial by our names they had added to his contract. When he passed is the first I knew he put our names on this contract or the person that got him to sign this rental agreement ) but I am sure this man after talking to me knew my Brother and myself would inherit the property .I didn’t sign anything and I will not pay for something I didn’t rent ( and even if that leaves me losing my Uncles house that goes to my living brother and myself ) My Last living brother said he would not want it ether if that was the case. Watch out for this company they are not quite honest with the person buying Or should say renting this equipment . Make sure you ask any question you want an answer to and get it in writing before you put your name on any papers.


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