SolarCity vs. Its Competitors: 2023 Overview [Updated] – SolarCity is one of the leading providers of residential solar energy systems in the U.S., offering solar leases, loans, and power purchase agreements to homeowners who want to go green and save money on their electricity bills. SolarCity is not the only player in the solar market, and it faces fierce competition from other companies that offer similar or different products and services.
In this article, we will compare SolarCity with some of its top competitors based on various criteria, such as market share, product offerings, pricing, customer satisfaction, and more.
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SolarCity: An Overview
SolarCity is a company that sells and installs solar energy systems for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. SolarCity was founded in 2006 by brothers Peter and Lyndon Rive, based on a suggestion by their cousin Elon Musk, who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk also served as the chairman of SolarCity until it was acquired by Tesla in 2016.
SolarCity’s main product is the solar lease, which allows customers to pay no upfront costs for the installation of solar panels on their roofs, but instead, pay a monthly fee for the electricity generated by the panels. SolarCity also offers solar loans and power purchase agreements (PPAs), as well as battery storage and grid services.
SolarCity is one of the leading providers of residential solar energy systems in the U.S., with a market share of 9% as of the third quarter of 2022. SolarCity operates in 27 states and Washington, D.C., and has installed over 300,000 solar systems with a total capacity of more than 3 gigawatts.
SolarCity is known for its innovation and vision for a sustainable energy future. SolarCity partnered with Tesla to develop solar roof tiles, which are designed to look like conventional roofing materials but generate solar power. SolarCity also offers the Powerwall home battery, which can store excess solar energy for later use or backup power.
SolarCity’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by making solar power accessible and affordable for everyone. SolarCity believes that solar energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower electricity bills, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of people.
SolarCity vs. Its Competitors
Sunrun – Best for customer service
Sunrun is the largest residential solar installer in the U.S., with a market share of 15% as of the third quarter of 2022. Sunrun offers solar leases, loans, and PPAs, as well as battery storage and grid services. Sunrun also acquired Vivint Solar in 2020, another major competitor of SolarCity.
Sunrun stands out for its high customer service ratings, according to Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot. Sunrun also offers a comprehensive warranty that covers the system’s performance, maintenance, and repairs for the duration of the contract. Sunrun also has a large network of local installers and partners that provide quality installation and service.
Sunrun charges variable fees based on your location, system size, energy usage, and contract type. The average cost of a Sunrun system is $3.16 per watt before incentives.
First Solar – Best for Innovation
First Solar is one of the largest solar manufacturers in the world, producing thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar modules that are more efficient and cost-effective than conventional silicon-based modules. First Solar also provides engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for utility-scale solar projects.
First Solar stands out for its innovation and leadership in the solar industry, having achieved several records in module efficiency, energy yield, and environmental performance. First Solar also has a strong financial position and a global presence, with operations on six continents.
First Solar does not offer residential solar systems directly to consumers, but it sells its modules to third-party installers and developers. The average cost of a First Solar module is $0.22 per watt.
Aetna – Best digital experience
Aetna is a new entrant in the residential solar market, having launched its Aetna Home Energy Platform in 2022. Aetna is a digital platform that connects homeowners with local solar installers and financiers, offering a seamless and transparent online experience.
Aetna stands out for its user-friendly website, mobile app, online portal, and chatbot that make it easy and convenient for homeowners to find the best solar options for their homes. Aetna also offers personalized recommendations, instant quotes, online contracts, and payment options.
Aetna does not charge any fees to homeowners for using its platform, but it earns commissions from its network of installers and financiers. The average cost of an Aetna system is $2.85 per watt before incentives.