If you regularly shop at Costco, you may have spotted a kiosk for home solar installations in the store or even spoken to a store representative about installing their own branded Costco solar panels. Costco has a partnership with Sunrun, one of the largest residential solar companies in the country, to offer their members special benefits when they go solar. Here are the details of Costco's partnership with Sunrun.
Sunrun is a California-based company that installs solar in 21 states across the country, primarily in the Northeast and Southwest. In 2017, they beat out Tesla Energy (formerly SolarCity) and installed the most residential solar systems in the United States. If you're a Costco member, you are eligible for some special benefits if you go solar with Sunrun, including Costco cash and an enhanced roof warranty.
When you choose to buy a solar panel system through the Sunrun-Costco partnership, you'll receive a Costco cash card worth 10 percent of your solar equipment costs (before taxes). This benefit only applies if you own your system – if you opt for a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) with Sunrun, you won't receive a Costco cash card.
Based on Sunrun proposals we have reviewed from EnergySage Solar Marketplace users, equipment costs can range anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the gross cost of the installation, so your Costco cash card benefits will vary accordingly.
For example, if your system costs $20,000 in total, your equipment costs may range from $5,000 to $10,000, which means you'd receive a Costco cash card with a value of anywhere between $500 and $1,000. (The actual costs for your project depend on many factors; to get an accurate estimate, you'll need to talk to a company representative.)
In addition to the Costco cash card, you may be eligible for an additional cash bonus if you're a Costco Executive Member. You'll need to speak with a store representative to get more specific information.
Costco members who go solar with Sunrun also receive an enhanced 15-year roof penetration warranty from Sunrun. (The standard offering from Sunrun is ten years.) This is a separate warranty from Sunrun's workmanship warranty, which covers the installation, and a product manufacturer's warranty, which covers your actual solar equipment.
No. Although Costco and Sunrun are partners in advertising solar, Costco does not back the warranties for your solar panel system – all they provide is a Costco Cash Card and access to their Costco Member Service Hotline. Though it is not immediately clear from Sunrun and Costco's advertising materials, our research into the Sunrun customer agreement reveals that the extended roof penetration warranty offered through this partnership is provided by and fulfilled exclusively by Sunrun, not by Costco. We reached out to Costco directly for any further details, and their spokesperson declined to comment on this topic.
There are some benefits to working with a national-scale solar installer over a local one – they have a recognized brand name and meaningful warranties. However, larger companies don't always offer the best prices, and they aren't known for personalized customer service (for more insight, read Fast Company's "The Best Way To Get Cheap Solar: Shop Around"). Additionally, you can read our full analysis of Sunrun's reviews across the web to get more perspective on their strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless of which installer you choose, EnergySage's recommendation is always to compare multiple installers to find the one that's the best fit for your needs. You can easily get quotes from installers near you by registering your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. If you're just starting the shopping process, learn more about how much solar can save you by using EnergySage's Solar Calculator.