Sunrun has over 130,000 solar customers in 22 states, and is the largest national residential solar company in the country. It was founded in 2007 selling and installing solar panel systems, and offers $0 down leases, PPAs, and ownership of their solar products. Additionally, Sunrun offers solar loans to finance your solar system.
Vivint Solar became its own company in 2011, after separating from its original parent company, Vivint Home Security. It has over 100,000 customers in the 21 states that it serves. Like Sunrun, they now offer $0 down plans, PPAs, and full ownership models, as well as a solar loan program. Their roof warranties are more limited than Sunrun.
Headquartered in Houston and serving 21 states, Sunnova has a unique business model that distinguishes it from other large solar installers. Sunnova has no in-house installation or maintenance teams. Instead, they have regional partners across the country to do installation for them. Additionally, all of Sunnova’s solar options are $0 down, with options to eventually own the system or to lease it for a defined period of time.
SunPower is primarily a solar panel manufacturer, and they produce some of the highest quality panels on the market. They partner with local installers around the country, authorizing them to use their products and become a representative of the SunPower brand. SunPower has also begun to work on community solar projects, starting in New York with plans to expand to more states soon.
Recent years have seen SolarCity scale back their residential services significantly, but they are still a major player in the U.S. solar market. SolarCity was founded by cousins of Elon Musk (of Tesla fame) in 2006. The company serves 27 states, and was acquired by Tesla in 2016. Currently Tesla is producing their innovative solar roof, which has mixed reviews.
WHAT ABOUT SUNGEVITY AND NRG?
You might be surprised to see Sungevity and NRG missing from this list. In fact, both of these solar companies have recently exited the solar market. Sungevity declared bankruptcy and was sold in 2017. NRG is still operational, but is focusing on commercial solar, and is no longer installing solar for homes.