Sunrun 2020 Updates: Services Offered, How they Make Money

Sunrun 2020 Updates: Services Offered, How they Make Money.

Sunrun review: Sunrun is the largest solar residential business in the United States with more than 250,000 customers in 23 states. But is their program right for you? In this review, we will reveal everything you need to know about Sunrun. 

Sunrun 2020 Updates: Services Offered, How they Make Money

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.

Who is Sunrun?

Sunrun is mainly a financial company specializing in solar purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases. PPAs and leases are pretty much the same offerings.

All products leave Sunrun’s possession of the solar panels, ask the customer for nothing out of pocket and the consumer agrees to pay unrun a certain monthly sum for the advantages of solar output.

Just about every market Sunrun operates in has Sunrun install branches. However, a good portion of their business comes from licensing their service out to installers to sell and install for Sunrun. S

o even though the company “X” contacts you and installs your panels, payments for the system are made to Sunrun.

You may see the term “certified Sunrun partner” on the marketing material of the local installer you’re considering working with.

Once the install is complete, Sunrun takes over completely. They will be the primary source of contact if you have any questions or concerns about your solar system.

Read: Safeco Home Insurance Company Review: Pros and Cons

Services Offered by Sunrun

Sunrun has built their company with a “solar as a service” motto. The customer is expected to pay monthly, and in exchange, Sunrun will provide all the equipment upfront.

They will also maintain that equipment according to the terms of their agreement. Below we will fill you in on exactly what Sunrun is responsible for and what they are not.

Installation 

Sunrun takes care of the full installation process for you. They will pay and apply for permits, and apply for interconnection and net metering approvals from your local utility company.

Sunrun is responsible for installing your system only if these approvals are received.

Monitoring

Every Sunrun solar panel system comes with production monitoring. The customer has access to this as well through their app. Here, you can also manage your account and payment information in the app.

Both Sunrun and their customers can track the production annually, monthly, daily, or even hourly.

Sunrun’s customer service should be notified of any production issues by the monitoring software, but it is recommended that customers check in on their system’s periodically to be sure everything is working properly.

The solar inverter will use wifi or cellular signals to upload production information to the internet. Because of the inherent inconsistent nature of internet connections, if you notice your production is not reporting, it may just be an interruption in the internet connection.

Your panels may still be producing normally.

Maintenance

Service visits are free of charge. If panels are not producing or there is a problem detected with the inverter, Sunrun will schedule a technician to visit your home.

There is no regularly scheduled maintenance. It is purely on an as-needed basis.

Insurance

Sunrun carries a $1 million per occurrence, $2 million aggregate in insurance coverage for your home if the solar system or installers damage the home over the term of your agreement.

Roof Warranty

Sunrun’s roof warranty can vary depending on your location and installer. Remember, sometimes Sunrun is allowing a locally vetted partner to install their system rather than an in-house team.

The roof warranty refers to how long Sunrun guarantees the roof will be leak-free after installation. This can be anywhere from 1-10 years.

Most often it is 5 years.

Within this time frame, Sunrun is responsible for repairing any and all leaks caused by the solar panel installation and any incidental damage from the said leak.

After the time period expires, this responsibility will fall on the customer.

Performance Guarantee

Possibly the most important service Sunrun provides. What good are your panels if they aren’t producing power, right? Sunrun understood the most worrisome risk their customers felt when choosing solar power was whether or not they would get what they are paying for.

So, Sunrun started the performance guarantee, and now it is standard to have some variation of this guarantee for reputable companies in the industry.

Sunrun will tell you how much your solar panels are expected to produce annually and then guarantee that amount each year. This guaranteed production number decreases each year as solar panels are expected to degrade over time.

The guarantee is also settled every two years. This means that if your Sunrun solar panels underproduced in year one, then Sunrun would wait to see if there was overproduction in year two to make up for it before settling up with the customer.

If there is underproduction, Sunrun will reimburse the customer at a predetermined rate for every missing kWh of production. Be sure to look at your production guarantee and reimbursement rate carefully.

They could be less than the production expectations and implied rate use to calculate your lease payment. Additionally, solar has been proven to be a very reliable source of producing energy and many systems in sunny areas report overproduction as we continue to get more and more sunny days annually.

How Sunrun Make their Money

Sunrun makes money in multiple ways:

  • The contract you sign with Sunrun has a monthly payment assigned to it, and that payment goes directly to Sunrun.
  • The federal investment tax credit (ITC). The federal government offers to reimburse the owner of a solar panel installation. As of 2020, the ITC is set at 26%. Since Sunrun owns the system, they have the rights to this tax credit. These credits usually cannot be use by Sunrun, so they sell them to banks at a discount.
  • Any state, local, or utility incentives will usually be claim by Sunrun as well.

Do your homework regarding what incentives are available in your area and state. The more incentives available, the more valuable your roof space is, and that should translate into a lower lease payment.

Sunrun Customer Service

Sunrun’s business model relies on customer service. Sunrun has one of the largest customer support teams in the industry, mostly because they have the most customers to service.

They have teams and specialists dedicated to helping you with general inquiries, billing questions, system repairs, and service transfers.

Sunrun’s response time is based on how pressing the issue is. Anything damaging the home, like a roof leak would be a priority and they should have someone out within a day or two.

Also, if there is something less pressing, including monitoring issues or equipment repair, the most common response time according to customer feedback is approximately two weeks.

Bottom Line

As always, do your homework and consult with trusted professionals. It’s important to consider cost, amount, and timing of solar incentives. As well as customer service, and liability when determining what the best solar option is for you and your home.

As consumers become more educated with solar, there has been an uptick in purchase solar systems through loans or cash. But for many leasing is still their preferred way to go. Get a quote for both and compare.

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