With Tesla Energy and SolarCity in a transition phase due to the ongoing merger between the two companies, a new solar behemoth has taken the reigns as America’s top installer. Sunrun now installs more solar systems than any other company in the United States. With a new focus being given to this California installer, we thought it would be appropriate to review the firm and offer our take to help consumers assess Sunrun in depth when comparing them to other U.S. installers – many of which provide competing solar quotes on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.
The company overview of Sunrun Inc
Sunrun was founded in 2007 by now-CEO Lynn Jurich with the mission of creating a “solar as a service” business model. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Sunrun is a publicly traded company that made its initial public offering in August of 2015 under the symbol RUN.
To date, Sunrun has raised over $300 million in investor funding and reports having over 100,000 customers that have generated over $4.6 billion in total revenue. The company originally was strictly a third-party ownership provider, offering solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) to customers as a way to showcase the appeal of going solar without a major upfront cost. In 2015, the company started offering customer ownership options (including both cash purchases and solar loans) in addition to leases and PPAs.
Sunrun reviews: aggregates from around the web
The first step to reviewing Sunrun is to examine what other shoppers across the country are saying about the installer. Below is a table that features aggregate satisfaction ratings for Sunrun from various review websites.
Sunrun reviews from around the web
|Review site||Rating||Total # of reviews|
|Better Business Bureau||1.5||89|
*Note: we did not include any third party websites that had less than 15 reviews of Sunrun. These review counts are updated as of 2019.
Sunrun’s positive feedback from past customers
To begin, we reviewed the positive trends and themes from Sunrun’s various reviews. Below is a summary of the most consistent feedback we found from happy Sunrun customers, plus relevant examples for each trend.
They have friendly salespeople, and they take care of the entire installation process for you
Sunrun primarily installs third-party owned options (including leases and PPAs), and they pride themselves on offering “hassle-free” solar. For homeowners strictly trying to reduce their monthly energy costs, a lease can be a good fit. Companies like Sunrun that offer solar leases/PPAs handle the setup and installation logistics, and customers receive energy savings from a zero down investment. Many customers highlighted the simple process and friendly salesforce in Sunrun’s reviews.
They’re a bigger company and they’re partnered with Costco, so customers feel secure in their investment
For much of the company’s existence, Sunrun has been one of the largest solar installers in the nation. As of late 2017, they are installing more systems than any other company in the United States. For this reason, many homeowners feel more secure with Sunrun than with local or lesser known companies. Furthermore, Sunrun offers solar systems through Costco in select markets and thus consumers get the benefit of buying or leasing solar panels that are backed by a large and trusted corporation.
Sunrun complaints: what the unhappy customers are saying
We’ve covered some of reviewers’ most positive experiences going solar with Sunrun, but not every review is a positive one. To be fair, any large company is going to garner some negative reviews. However, their average review rating of around 3 would suggest there are some consistent complaints from consumers as a whole. Let’s take a look at the common discrepancies.
The initial salesperson misled me about how much my electric bill would change
There is one common story told across review sites when it comes to Sunrun. It describes a salesperson who tells a homeowner that a solar lease would cut their energy bill in half, when in reality the post-installation monthly payment ended up increasing (sometimes even doubling their bill). This situation can be the result of two main factors:
- Some solar salespeople will make aggressive claims to meet their sales goals, regardless of a home’s suitability for a solar installation.
- Households with significant energy use will require a larger system, and can realize higher savings by buying (rather than leasing) solar panels. However, salespeople know that pitching a smaller leased system is an easier upfront sell and can lead to a faster signed contract.
The customer service drops off significantly after the installation is complete (or the contract is signed)
Most Sunrun lease contracts are 20 to30-yearr deals that come with a hefty cancellation fee attached. As a result, there is less incentive in their payment structure to focus efforts on customer support post contract sign.
A large percentage of the negative reviews online about Sunrun mentioned this frustration. The general trend: when something went wrong with their system or something was wrong on their bill, it took a long time to hear back from Sunrun’s customer support team.
The ultimate takeaway: get multiple solar quotes to make the smartest decision possible
Each individual homeowner is going to have a unique experience with Sunrun. And like any large purchase, the more quotes you receive, the more educated of a decision you can make. At EnergySage, we encourage all solar shoppers to make as informed of a decision as possible. This information comes from both the testimony of other shopper reviews, as well as from getting and comparing multiple quotes.
To read the testimonies of other shoppers, you can check out the websites we used in this article, including Yelp, ConsumerAffairs, Better Business Bureau, Facebook, BestCompany.com and HighYa. You can also check out the thousands of solar company reviews we have aggregated on EnergySage.
Another way to ensure that your solar offer is fair (whether it’s from Sunrun or another solar company) is to compare it against other competing offers. When you register on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can upload quotes you have already received from solar companies like Sunrun, and easily compare them side-by-side to other installers in your area.
Regardless of which solar company you ultimately select, we recommend that all homeowners thoroughly read their final solar agreement to ensure that they understand the specifics before signing a binding contract.