SunRun Inc. is a San Francisco, California based supplier of residential solar electricity. SunRun was co-founded by Nat Kreamer, Ed Fenster and Lynn Jurich. The company provides a way for consumers to take the hassle of researching and buying solar equipment by offering solar leases. Fenster and Jurich both graduated from Stanford University and established SunRun shortly thereafter. Increasing level of global pollution became one of the inspirations that lead to the creation of SunRun. SunRun is the first company in the United States that offers residential Power Purchase Agreements (PPA, discussed in a later section).
In 2008 SunRun raised $12 million in funding from a set of private investors. In the same year U.S. Bancorp invested $105 million to install 2,000 residential solar systems. In June 2010, SunRun successfully established a deal worth $100 million with PG&E.
SunRun offers two financing options for the residential power systems; Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Lease.
- Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – Power Purchase Agreement is a legal contract between electricity provider and purchaser. SunRun is the first US Company to provide PPA to the residential users although other companies offer this agreement for commercial use. SunRun provides this financing model in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California and Colorado (partially). Currently SunRun offers 18 year Power Purchase Agreements to residential customers. Under this agreement the company will own, maintain and insure the installed solar systems. Customers have to pay for the home solar power produced by the system.
- Lease – Under the solar lease agreement, SunRun purchases the solar power systems for customers and owns and maintains them for a 20 year period. In return, customers have to pay a low monthly bill to rent the system and for the utilization of the solar electricity produced by the system. SunRun offers its lease financing model in Arizona, Los Angeles (LADWP territory only) and Colorado (partially).
What’s the difference between PPA and Lease?
In a solar lease model your monthly bill will remain same in each month no matter how much electricity your solar systems produce. The payment is likely to increase annually depending upon the hike in rates.
SunRun Product Highlights
- SunRun dramatically reduces the cost of installing solar systems by managing state and national solar rebates. This specialization saves time and money for end users.
- Electricity payments remain low and more constant using solar as compared to ever increasing utility bills that fluctuate with the price of and demand for coal and other dirty limited energy sources.
- SunRun offers a quick payback on the solar investment you have made. Solar financing can easily be transferred to the next buyer of your home.
- A money-back guarantee for the solar power systems is offered if the panels stop working.
- Solar insurance is provided by the company to protect the systems against theft, damage and loss.
- SunRun monitors the solar power systems for any performance related problems and covers repair costs.
- SunRun certified solar installers bear the responsibility of all installation procedures.
- SunRun will do all the paperwork to ensure your home receives power from your present utility when your solar system isn’t generating power.
- You can book a free home evaluation for solar systems via phone or online form.
- With the SunRun online calculator you can estimate the cost of installing solar per your zip code, amount of electric used, type of roof pitch, roof direction and shade type. Solar Power Authority also provides a free solar calculator.
SunRun currently offers two unique power plans designed to address the needs of lower income customers as well as those who wish to completely offset their power needs as follows.
SunRun Power Plans
SunRun Power Plans delivers a basic set of features with the minimum possible investment. With this method payback may take just a few years and is ideal for those who are considering a move within a ten year period.
Estimate example for a 3 bedroom house with normal electricity bill:
- Initial Payment: $0-$1,500
- Lifetime Savings: $22,000
SunRun Total Solar
SunRun Total Solar plan is designed for people who have more to invest and wish to offset their entire electricity bill. This offer is the best alternative available for homeowners who have planned to purchase solar power systems but lack enough tax credentials to apply for the federal tax credit.
Estimate example for a 3 bedroom house with normal electricity bill:
- Initial Payment: $10,500
- Average Lifetime Savings: $33,000
Arizona – A home solar system is the most prudent choice for the people of Arizona. The state offers ideal weather conditions for solar panels to produce electricity. SunRun has operated in Arizona since 2009. The financing model offered by SunRun in Arizona is Lease
California – The combination of sun, high energy costs and ample incentives makes California an excellent state to choose to go solar, it is also where SunRun was founded. The financing model offered by SunRun in California is Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
Colorado – The primary source of electricity in Colorado is coal burning which is not good for the environment. SunRun offers Power Purchase Agreement in partial areas of Colorado and lease for the rest of state.
Massachusetts – Governor Deval Patrick clearly states that Massachusetts should generate 250MW by the end of 2017 from solar systems. It is estimated that even if only 10% of state’s homeowners opt for solar systems then this mere act will create over 35,000 jobs. SunRun is a leading company in Massachusetts. The financing model offered by SunRun in Massachusetts is Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
New Jersey – New Jersey produces 50% of its electricity from nuclear power, 20% of the total electricity from coal and still manages to have the second most solar installations in the U.S. Statistics show almost four thousand solar homes are present in the state. SunRun operates successfully in New Jersey. The financing model offered by SunRun in New Jersey is Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Independent SunRun User Reviews
The overall feedback of users for solar lease and rental business models is that of skepticism, in part based on companies which have failed (taking potential solar customers off the market while depleting them of money and time). There is some fear and doubt based on solar scams and whether such companies may be ligitimate. When it comes to residential solar systems SunRun maintains a good reputation and proves itself as an exception. A general question that almost everyone asks about a new company is the fate of installed solar systems, if the company can honor the initial investment or is headed for bankruptcy. SunRun has a positive investment history and is a trusted name with over 5000 customers to date.
One interesting question that users are eager to ask regarding SunRun is about the excessive power produced by their home solar system, some claim that SunRun will adjust this in the next month billing and is able to work with net metering when available.