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2023 Costco Solar Panels Cost, Installation, Reviews. Costco solar phone charger

2023 Costco Solar Panels Cost, Installation, Reviews. Costco solar phone charger

    Sunrun vs SunPower: Which one is Better for Your Home?

    Sunrun and SunPower are two of the most well-known solar companies in the United States. They both install tens of thousands of residential solar panels per year.

    But what do these companies offer? Which one is cheaper? Which one is the better choice? Read on as we dive deep into Sunrun vs SunPower so you are better informed about the companies and can decide which one is best for you.

    SunPower vs Sunrun background: Getting to know the two companies

    Let’s start off by helping you familiarize yourself with the two companies.

    Sunrun Inc was founded in 2007 in San Francisco, California. The company pioneered the solar as a service business model. Solar as a service makes solar energy systems more affordable for homeowners. Instead of buying the system outright, customers pay low upfront costs and a monthly fee for the solar energy without owning the solar panels.

    Sunrun sells residential solar systems, solar storage, and EV charging specifically for the Ford F-150 Lightning. Sunrun does not produce its solar panels and sources most of its materials from third-party suppliers. Sunrun sells the Tesla Powerwall through Sunrun Brightbox.

    SunPower was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. It also happens to be the only solar company that has been around for longer than its warranty (25 years). The company sells solar panel systems, battery storage, and EV chargers through its partnership with Wallbox. In 2020, SunPower split into two different companies : SunPower and Maxeon Solar. The companies said in a press release that the split was a strategic move so SunPower could continue as an energy storage and solar services company, while Maxeon solar would manufacture solar panels. Before the split, SunPower did both.

    Is Sunrun owned by Costco?

    This is a question that is often raised by customers. The reason for this is Costco has a partnership with Sunrun and sells Sunrun’s products and services.

    If you buy a solar panel system through the partnership you will receive a Costco cash card worth 10 percent of your solar equipment costs. Certain payment options disqualify you from receiving a Costco cash card. Costco also does not back the Sunrun warranties and you’ll have to speak with a Costco representative to find out what is covered if you opt to buy a solar system through the Costco-Sunrun partnership.

    Sunrun vs SunPower pricing

    Sunrun offers four main pricing plans: Monthly Lease, Full Lease, Full Purchase, or Monthly Loan. The most popular plan is the Monthly Lease, which is the solar as a service option. With the Monthly Lease option, you’ll have low upfront costs. Sunrun owns the solar panels. This means Sunrun is responsible for the solar system installation, system monitoring, maintenance, and insurance. You won’t be able to apply for federal tax credits since Sunrun owns the panels. With the Full Lease option, you’ll pay just one upfront single payment for the same options as above. Sunrun owns the solar panels and you won’t be eligible for federal tax credits. In the Full Purchase option, you’ll own the solar panels and pay for them outright. In the Monthly Loan option, you’ll own the solar panels and avoid large upfront costs. You’ll pay a monthly payment to the loan provider. In this option, you’ll be able to claim the solar investment tax credit (ITC), more on this tax credit down below.

    SunPower offers three options: Full purchase, Solar loan, and Solar lease. With a full purchase, you’ll buy your solar system outright. You’ll be able to take advantage of federal solar tax credits. With a Solar loan, you’ll pay a low monthly fee to own the solar panels. You own the panels and can apply for the federal solar tax credit. In the Solar lease option, SunPower owns the solar panels and you pay a monthly fee to purchase the solar power they generate. Your monthly payments will be lower than your average electricity bill, but you won’t be able to apply for federal tax credits since you don’t own the solar system.

    Sunrun vs SunPower quality

    SunPower is known for its quality products. As we mentioned earlier, the company split into two different companies. SunPower Maxeon solar panels have the solar industry’s longest warranty at 40 years. Most other solar panel companies offer a 25-year warranty. The Maxeon solar panel is designed differently than the standard solar panel. According to Maxeon Solar Technologies, field tests over 8 years and 800,000 sites found their panels had the lowest degradation rates in the industry. Their tests also showed their panels are nearly 4x more reliable than conventional panels.

    SunPower Maxeon solar panels score as some of the highest panels when it comes to efficiency. The Maxeon 6 AC solar panel is up to 22.8% efficient.

    So if you’re wondering where are Sunpower solar panels manufactured…according to their press release from the company split announcement, Maxeon solar cell and panel manufacturing facilities are located in France, Malaysia, Mexico, and the Philippines.

    Sunrun does have a partnership with LG for its Brightbox energy storage systems but sources its products from multiple suppliers with the majority being Chinese manufacturers. There is no way of knowing where your Sunrun solar panels are coming from during the solar installation process. Sunrun solar panels are of lower quality than SunPower solar panels.

    Does Sunrun or SunPower offer better warranties?

    Sunrun offers a 10-year bumper-to-bumper solar system warranty. The warranty includes free equipment replacement and system repairs. The warranty also guarantees watertight roof penetrations. The solar panels are covered by the solar panel manufacturer’s warranty for equipment, which is 10-25 years.

    SunPower’s warranty is 25 years. It also covers the entire system, not just the panels. SunPower will cover 100% of repair and replacement costs, which conventional solar warranties do not. They only cover monitoring hardware for a 10-year warranty. SunPower does not provide a roof leak protection warranty.

    Which company is cheapest, Sunrun or SunPower?

    This one may come as no surprise, but Sunrun tends to be cheaper than SunPower since they work with third-party suppliers for their solar panels, which are of lower quality than SunPower’s Maxeon solar panels.

    SunPower panels typically cost about 3 – 3.30 a watt. Sunrun is usually about 2.75 per watt, which is closer to the national average.

    Sunrun vs SunPower reviews

    SunPower consistently has better customer reviews than Sunrun although SunPower does have negative reviews as well. SunPower tends to rank higher for customer service then Sunrun does.

    You can scroll through the reviews from many reputable websites and see for yourself.

    With the Better Business Bureau, SunPower has an A BBB rating. while Sunrun has an A- BBB rating.

    With Consumer Affairs, SunPower has a 4.2 out of 5 rating. while Sunrun has a 3.7 out of 5 rating. According to reviewers, the positives of the companies are SunPower has a long warranty and a variety of financing options and Sunrun has flexible payment options and daily system monitoring.

    Sunrun vs SunPower incentives and rebates

    The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was extended in 2021 and was once again updated in August 2022. The credit can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar panel installation. You still have time to claim the credit at the high percentage of 30 percent. Those who install a solar photovoltaics (PV) system between 2022 and 2032 will receive a 30% tax credit. That credit decreases to 26% for systems installed in 2033, and then to 22% for systems installed in 2034.

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy. the ITC cuts the cost of a rooftop by more than 7,500 for an average system.

    When it comes to the ITC both companies have solar systems that are eligible for the tax credit. Yet, you are only eligible for the credit if you own the solar system. Since most of Sunrun’s customers opt for a solar as a service payment option, they don’t own the system but Sunrun does. If you opt for this option you cannot claim the tax credit and Sunrun does. One way Sunrun generates revenue is by selling tax credits to banks.

    Is Sunrun or SunPower better?

    Sunrun and SunPower are both good options for your solar system installation, but when it comes down to which one you should choose depends on what you’re looking for in your residential solar system. If you are looking at costs alone, then Sunrun would be the better choice, especially with their solar as a service option. If you’re looking for better quality solar products with a more robust warranty, then you should go with SunPower.

    A solar panel installation is a great way to increase your energy efficiency and helps you depend less on fossil fuels and instead rely on renewable energy. Adding a solar energy system to your house is also a great way to cut down on electricity costs.

    In the end, the best solar company for your solar panel installation is the one that listens to you. While the choice between Sunrun and SunPower can be a difficult choice, you may want to consider WattLogic. a solar installer that can install your solar system wherever you are in the United States. WattLogic provides a solar turnkey package that provides all the financial benefits with quality solar panels.

    WattLogic is brand agnostic, which means it doesn’t just offer one brand of solar panels but instead provides the best panels for your home and your preferences. Click here to speak with a WattLogic Residential Solar Expert.

    23 Costco Solar Panels Cost, Installation, Reviews

    If you want to install an affordable top-tier solar system in your home, Costco is one of the best sources to consider.

    Costco solar panels are high-quality and made from monocrystalline, so they provide above-average performance and can earn homeowners decent energy savings.

    But are these solar systems worth investing in?

    What Solar Company Does Costco Use?

    Costco has partnered with Sunrun to deliver solar energy to its members at a lower cost.

    Sunrun was founded in 2007 and is one of the leading residential solar and energy storage companies in the United States.

    It is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and its mission is to create a sun-powered planet by making solar energy accessible and affordable for homeowners nationwide.

    Currently, the company serves 20 states, primarily in the Northwest and Southeast. It also serves Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

    Sunrun provides rooftop solar panels, backup generators, and battery storage systems.

    It also offers solar installation and monitoring services to ensure customers get the most out of their solar investments.

    So far, Sunrun has served over 800,000 customers and installed more than 8GW of energy.

    Did you know? Sunrun is the largest solar installer in United States with a market share of more than 13%.

    How Much Does Costco Solar Cost?

    Determining the average cost of installing Costco solar panels is challenging because the amount you pay depends on various factors.

    These include your state, preferred financing option, household energy usage, and whether you’re a Costco member.

    In addition, the company does not publicly display the price of the products on its website. But based on customer feedback, it is safe to say that Costco’s solar pricing is consistent with other solar companies.

    Equipment and solar panels range between 5,000 and 10,000.

    Considering that labor and installation materials account for approximately 65% of the total cost, you will likely pay between 9,285 and 18,570.

    So, the total cost of installing Costco solar will range between 14,285 and 28,570.

    This estimate is consistent with the national average which is 20,020.

    Costco Solar Average Cost
    Cost of Solar Panel Equipment 5,000-10,000
    Cost of Installation and Labor 9,285-18,570
    Average Total Cost Costco Solar Panels

    Please note that the above price is simply an estimate and is subject to market changes. We recommend contacting the company for an accurate price quote.

    Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to get quotes from various companies when planning a solar installation project. Doing this will help you know the fair market price and find the best deal for your project. In addition, we recommend adding 10 to 15% to the final budget to cushion yourself against price fluctuation and hidden costs.

    Costco’s Grape Solar Kit

    Costco offers a 100-watt Grape Solar kit, which includes solar panels, cables, a charge controller, and an inverter.

    These kits are primarily intended for charging electronic devices and powering lighting fixtures, but they can also provide power for other small-scale applications, such as R.V.s, electric fences, gates, boats, and more.

    However, the power output of these kits is insufficient for complete off-grid usage.

    You can purchase Grape solar kits on the Costco website for 114.99 per kit.

    See costs in your area Start Here. Enter Your Zip Code

    Costco And Sunrun

    Getting a complete residential solar system through the Costco and Sunrun partnership is the best choice for homeowners who want to go off the grid.

    With this option, a customer receives a full-fledged solar system, professional installation, warranty, and regular system maintenance and monitoring.

    There are also other benefits to shopping under this partnership.

    Suppose you purchase a complete residential solar system, including inverters, solar panels, batteries, and racking. In that case, you will receive a Costco Shop Card equivalent to 10% of the pre-tax cost of the solar equipment.

    This promotion is available to Costco members who pay with cash or a loan; it does not apply to customers who choose a power purchase agreement (PPA) or a lease.

    Also, this cashback is on equipment only and does not include installation and labor costs.

    So, if the total price of your solar equipment before tax ranges between 5,000 and 10,000, you will receive between 500 and 1,000 on your Costco Shop Card.

    The funds you receive on the Costco Shop Card can be utilized to purchase various merchandise at Costco, including items from the Costco Food Court and Gas Station.

    Solar Products From Costco

    Costco Solar Light

    Costco offers a range of solar lights for outdoor use, including string lights, path lights, spotlights, and garden stakes.

    They are easy to install and maintain and are powered by a solar panel and rechargeable battery.

    Most of the models have motion sensors for increased security and

    These lights are relatively affordable, with ranging from 40 to 59.

    Costco Solar Power Generator

    Costco offers various models of solar power generators.

    One option is the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X Lithium Portable Solar Generator Kit, which includes a 3000-watt-hour lithium-ion battery and two Boulder 200 Briefcase solar panels.

    The price of Costco generators range from 3,500 to 4,000.

    Costco Solar Battery

    Costco offers Brightbox Battery, a comprehensive solar storage solution that provides users with dependable backup power during outages.

    The company does not publicly list the price of the battery on its website, so we recommend contacting them for a quote.

    Costco Solar Reviews

    Costco has impressive solar panels with a decent efficiency rate.

    However, it dispatches all its solar services through Sunrun, which has built a poor reputation over the years.

    While the panels themselves may be efficient, poor customer service from the responsible company could result in buyer dissatisfaction, thus tarnishing the brand’s reputation.

    Sunrun has received many online reviews from various platforms, including Google, Yelp, Trustpilot, and Better Business Bureau. Most of these reviews are either strongly negative or strongly positive.

    Some typical complaints include the following:

    • Poor customer service: This is the most common complaint from customers. Customers claim that the company’s response times become very slow once the contract has been signed. In addition, they are very slow to address challenging warranty claims. Even worse, serious issues such as wrong billing are left unaddressed.
    • A pushy sales team: Sunrun uses a door-to-door marketing strategy. While this approach is not illegal, their sales team is very pushy and coerces the customer into making a rash decision and signing the contract.
    • Not available in some states
    • Limited price transparency
    • Long installation times

    The company has received a few positive reviews, with customers praising the affordability of their products and the peace of mind they get from warranty coverage.

    Some customers also appreciate that the company provides multiple financing options, including loans, leases, cash, and payment agreements giving them the flexibility to choose how they want to pay for the solar, regardless of their budget.

    Did you know? Sunrun is committed to reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 2040.

    Costco Solar vs Tesla

    Tesla is another big name in the solar industry.

    The company was founded in 2003, and for many years, its primary FOCUS was manufacturing high-end electric sports cars.

    In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, a solar company founded by Elon Musk’s cousin.

    The acquisition allowed Tesla to tap into the solar industry, and without a doubt, the company has made remarkable progress since then.

    Today, Tesla offers a range of solar products, including solar panels, solar roofs, and energy storage systems.

    These products aim to help homeowners and businesses generate their own clean energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels while saving money on energy bills.

    Below are a few differentiating factors between Costco solar and Tesla:

    Costco Solar vs Tesla: Performance

    Performance is a crucial factor when comparing the two companies.

    Both Tesla and Costco provide top-tier, monocrystalline solar panels with above-average durability and efficiency.

    Costco solar panels have an efficiency of 20%.

    Unfortunately, Tesla does not publicly disclose the efficiency specs of its solar panels. Still, many experts consider them preferable to Costco panels because of the company’s reputation for using cutting-edge technology.

    Some of Tesla’s panels provide 425 watts of energy and compete head-to-head with leading options like SunPower.

    Costco Solar vs Tesla: Warranty

    When considering solar energy, you should choose a company that offers an extended warranty.

    Solar systems are susceptible to malfunction, so having a warranty is crucial.

    Many solar companies provide warranties that cover manufacturer defects, inadequate installation, and system efficiency.

    A company may cover all three aspects or only one or two of them.

    Costco provides a 10-year workmanship guarantee and a 15-year roof penetration warranty. For an even greater level of protection, you can opt for Sunruns’s Premium Best Plus, which offers a 25-year roof penetration warranty.

    Bear in mind that some customers have reported difficulty with warranty claims.

    Tesla provides a 10-year workmanship warranty and a 25-year production warranty.

    Costco Solar vs Tesla: Cost

    The cost for both Tesla and Costco solar panels is similar, assuming you’re purchasing the whole system and not leasing it.

    For instance, buying Costco solar panels through Sunrun will cost around 2.94 per watt, corresponding to the national average of 2.84 per watt.

    Tesla solar panels cost around 3.07, but the company can match competitor if you provide them with a lower quote within 14 days.

    If you lease Costco solar panels through Sunrun, your final cost will be substantially lower than the national average.

    Sunrun encourages customers to opt for a lease by offering it at a lower price in a marketing effort to convince customers to rent rather than buy the product.

    Did you know? Tesla guarantees that the cost of its solar products will continue to decline with advancements in solar technology. This promise cuts across the board because solar have declined by around 80% over the last decade.

    Costco Solar vs Tesla: Financing Options

    Costco accepts four financing options: solar loans, solar leases, power purchase agreements, and cash payments.

    Tesla only accepts cash payments and solar loans.

    Costco Solar vs Tesla: Coverage Areas

    Costco provides solar services in 20 states. These include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, South Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

    On the other hand, Tesla provides its solar services in all 50 states thanks to its massive network of service providers and third-party installers.

    From a coverage area standpoint, Tesla is the obvious winner because it can serve all U.S. homeowners regardless of their state.

    See costs in your area Start Here. Enter Your Zip Code

    Does Costco Install Solar Panels?

    No, Costco does not install solar panels.

    The company’s solar services are fulfilled by Sunrun.

    Fortunately, Sunrun provides a comprehensive solar installation process for customers who purchase solar panels through Costco. They also offer monitoring and maintenance services for customers who lease these solar systems.

    Is Sunrun Owned By Costco?

    No, Sunrun is not owned by Costco.

    The two companies have a partnership to deliver solar services to Costco customers at a reduced price.

    Sunrun is owned by Institutional Investors with a combined stock of 97.95% of the company.

    Some of Sunrun’s top shareholders include BlackRock Fund Advisors; The Vanguard Group, Inc.; Orbis Investment Management, Ltd.; SSgA Funds Management, Inc.; BNP Paribas Asset Management U.K.; and Invesco Capital Management, LLC.

    Is Costco Solar A Good Deal?

    There is no single answer to whether Costco solar is a good deal.

    Choosing to lease the Costco solar from Sunrun means you can install solar in your home with zero money down. You simply have to pay the monthly cost of the lease.

    Unfortunately, if you lease Costco solar panels you will not have access to tax breaks and incentives that can yield significant upfront savings. Also, the product will not add value to your home because the company will uninstall the equipment once the contract expires.

    If you purchase the product, you will pay more initially. However, you will add value to your home while subsidizing your monthly energy bill. You will also qualify for tax breaks and a 10% promotion.

    In terms of product performance, Costco solar is a decent choice because of its high quality. It has an efficiency of about 20%, which is excellent considering that many solar products have an efficiency ranging between 15% and 20%.

    If you plan on purchasing the solar panel system instead of leasing it, consider other reputable solar companies, such as Tesla, SunPower, Trinity Solar, Vivint, and Momentum.

    Sunrun has poor customer service, so opting for a company that excels in this area will save you from future hassles.

    Make Your Home Sustainable With Solar Panels From Costco

    Costco panels are a viable choice if you’re looking for affordable top-tier solar panels. However, there are a few considerations that will determine whether the investment is worth it or not.

    For instance, leasing the system might significantly offset your monthly electricity bill but will not add value to your home long-term. After all, the solar panels belong to the company, not the homeowner.

    Purchasing or financing solar panels is a good investment because it will add value to your home while offsetting your monthly energy bills. Plus, it will qualify you for solar tax credits and earn you a 10% cashback Costco Shop Card.

    The cost of leasing Costco solar panels from Sunrun is very affordable because the company provides competitive and warranties with their lease packages.

    However, the cost of purchasing or financing solar panels is slightly above the national average. Therefore, we only recommend opting for Sunrun solar panels if you want to lease them.

    If you can finance or purchase your own solar system, we recommend looking elsewhere, considering the company is plagued with slow response to warranty claims and poor customer service.

    Could Walmart, Costco, Kroger Become Some of the Largest EV Charging Centers in the US?

    A future of vehicles powered by batteries will radically change how, where, and how often we “refuel” our cars and trucks. One of those shifts will be to charging electric vehicles at warehouse stores (also referred to as big-box stores, superstores, and hypermarkets) and supermarkets.

    A future of vehicles powered by batteries will radically change how, where, and how often we “refuel” our cars and trucks. One of those shifts will be to charging electric vehicles at warehouse stores (also referred to as big-box stores. superstores, and hypermarkets ) and supermarkets.

    Charging electric vehicles (EVs) at supermarkets is of course not a new idea, with many chains such as Krogers, Hy-Vee, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Lucky’s, and many others offering Level 1–3 charging. Walmart began adding EV chargers at some West Coast stores in 2011 and through January of 2017 the company had added EV charging stations to more than 90 sites across the US, bringing their total to over 300 stations.

    Costco launched EV charging in various locations in Southern California in 2006, but then ended the program in 2011 due to lack of use and costs to maintain.

    Warehouse Stores Supermarkets Are Ideal for EV Charging

    While several supermarket and warehouse stores have dabbled in EV charging by adding a few chargers at various locations, the future could see these retailers emerging as some of the largest charging centers in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

    These stores, which have large footprints and offer a wide variety of groceries and merchandise, are a perfect fit for EV charging for several reasons:

    Deep Experience Operating Gas Stations and Building Loyal “Refueling” Customers: Over the past decade, big-box retailers, grocery stores, and mass merchandising stores have been the fastest growing channel for gas stations. As of May 2016, there were 5,934 big-box retailers in the US selling fuel, according to Energy Analysts International (via NACS). These sites accounted for an estimated 14.5% of the motor fuels (gasoline) purchased in the United States and have sales volumes roughly double that of traditional retailers.

    The top 5 US hypermarkets selling fuel, by store count, in fuels retailing are: Kroger (1,3 54), Walmart (1,323 stations), Sam’s Club (535), Costco (430), and Safeway (341).

    A 2014 survey of US and Canadian motorists by Market Force International found that Kroger and Costco were in fact the top two most preferred gas stations.

    While EV charging is clearly a different business than selling gasoline, customers will not be surprised when these retailers scale up the number of their charging stations.

    Frequency of Store Visits: Consumers average 1.5 trips per week to supermarkets. Access to fast EV chargers can potentially increase the average number of visits per month.

    Large Parking Lots: Big box retailers have parking lots with 100s of parking spaces. Costco, for example, requires a minimum of 750 parking spaces for its warehouse stores.

    Locations Near Residential Areas: While often located in suburbs, big-box retailers are usually located within a 10–15 minute drive of surrounding residential areas.

    Rewards and Membership Programs: Many of these retailers have membership or rewards programs that are ideal to integrate with charging access, benefits, and discounts.

    Low-Margin Expertise: The supermarket business in particular operates on low margins, typically in the 1–3% range. If these retailers add EV charging in the parking lots, they could operate them at near break even, or use them as a loss-leader to drive repeat visits and longer dwell time.

    Helping Solve the Multifamily Housing Disadvantaged Community Charging Challenge

    In the next 5 years, most EVs will have a battery range of at least 250 miles and then rise to 300 or more a few years later. Electric vehicles with adequate longer range means that for most drivers, 99% of their charging will likely be done at their residence, along interstate highways/autobahns, and at distant destinations such as hotels and resorts.

    But charging at residences has two huge hurdles:

    • Many households either do not have easy access to a garage or electrical outlet or they live in apartments, flats, or condominimums that have yet to install EV chargers at all, or only a few with Level 1 or Level 2 charging. In the US, for example, 26 million households live in rental housing of 2 or more units.
    • Secondly, low-income communities will likely be the last to both adopt EVs and have adequate charging stations installed. In California alone, there are more than 2,000 disadvantaged communities, according to the California EPA.

    Workplace and public charging locations will provide some of the charging options for these underserved markets, but hypermarkets stand to become the largest providers for EV drivers without their own at-home charging access.

    Warehouse Stores/Supermarkets Will Take Innovative Approaches to EV Charging

    Already leaders in operating gas stations, as EV adoption grows significantly in the next few years, warehouse clubs and supermarket chains will begin taking innovative approaches to repeat their gas station success with EV charging. Following are some of the approaches we may see:

    Free Charging: Stores may offer free or discounted charging if a customer spends above a certain threshold. The longer a customer is in a store, the more money they spend on average. EV charging can potentially extend customer dwell time. Research from Path Intelligence found that a 1% increase in shopper dwell time at a mall led to a 1.3% increase in spend.

    To minimize abuse, parked cars might be assessed “penalty” charges if a car remains longer than a specific time period. Retailers may also partner with advertising-based charging networks like Volta and sell advertising to manufacturers’ products carried inside the store.

    Branded Charging Networks: Initially, these big-box retailers will partner with the large charging networks such as ChargePoint, EVgo, NewMotion, and others to launch and deploy chargers and provide mobile apps and network access. Over time, however, these retailers might operate their own branded networks using a white labeled service and add the offering into their mobile apps.

    Loyalty Programs: A key for these retailers is to find ways to keep customers loyal to their brand, and increase shopping visits per month and average spend on each visit. EV charging programs connected to a loyalty program will likely play a key role in achieving these goals, especially with customers who don’t have access to chargers at home. Expect retailers to offer free or discounted charging and other benefits for members of their rewards/membership programs. Program members with certain levels of status or membership may even have access to faster and preferred EV chargers located closer to the store entrances.

    Coupons: When a customer parks and plugs in their EV, retailers will send push notifications to their mobile apps notifying them of a coupon good for a free hotdog, dollar off a pizza or other food, beverages, and merchandise. The coupons will be designed to increase the amount of shopping dwell time and spend per visit.

    Detailing/Light Maintenance: Chains such as Costco and Walmart already offer tire installation services for vehicles. With the growth of EVs, look for them to add car washing/waxing/detailing and potentially light maintenance services such as rotating tires, changing wiper blades, and installing new brakes — all while your vehicle is charging and you are shopping in the store.

    Cross-Selling of EV Chargers, Solar, and Battery Storage: Big box retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and others may use the branding visibility of EV charging stations in their parking lots to drive sales of EV chargers, battery storage, and solar installation inside their stores. Beyond signage in parking spots, retailers can send push messages to EV charging customers’ mobile apps to check out their EV, solar, and battery storage solutions in the store. Customers who buy one or more of these products/services might be offered preferred parking locations and free lifetime charging.

    Hyper-Targeting EV Drivers: Marketing is all about customer data. EV charging usage data and customer profiles can be appended to customer purchase and behavioral data to deliver more relevant and timely offers to customers. And for the next 7–10 years when EV owners will be mostly early adopters and higher-income households, retailers can target these attractive segments to drive greater loyalty and increase purchase levels per visit.

    Off-Peak Shopping: These large retailers see very specific recurring shopping patterns, such as early weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. Through their charging network mobile apps, these retailers could target customers to “stop, shop and charge” during their work commute or other times that are less busy. Using a shopping/charge-time optimization algorithm, they might offer free or discounted charging during non-peak charge times to level reduce peak shopping traffic, but increase the number of monthly visits. Charging apps integrated via APIs with your car’s mobile app might even send time-based offers to you based on your remaining battery range and proximity to specific store locations.

    Off-Peak Charging/Parking Lot Utilization: Parking lots are basically a fixed asset and cost for retailers. The lot is a necessary cost of business during hours of operation, but the parking spaces sit mostly unused when the stores are closed. While not core to their business, retailers could open up their parking lots and EV chargers to charging networks and non-customers to drive incremental revenue. These off-peak charging services could be offered in conjunction with neighboring apartments and condominiums, ridesharing se rvices, and other businesses.

    Solar Parking Roofs/Battery Storage: With massive parking lots, big-box retaile rs can install dozens of solar parking canopies that shade cars in hot weather and can help to offset electricity needs for the store and/or EV chargers. Add in battery storage and retailers can take advantage of any excess solar-generated electricity and special off-peak electricity rates.

    Food Service/Coffee Bars: Hypermarkets might expand existing food service and coffee bar offerings as a way to keep EV charging customers longer, satisfied, and ultimately spending more time and dollars in their stores.

    Warehouse and supermarket chains have the potential to become some of the largest charging centers in many countries. By providing convenient and affordable access to EV chargers, these mega stores can increase their bottom line and solve one of the key challenges to EV adoption.

    Image Sources: Costco, ChargePoint

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    Should You Buy a Solar Generator from Costco? – Everything You Need to Know

    As solar equipment becomes more mainstream and an ever-growing number of Americans begin turning to renewable energy systems to fulfil their power needs, it seems inevitable that solar tech, like solar generators, will begin appearing on the shelves of the nation’s largest retailers.

    Over the last couple of years, Costco has begun stocking several solar generators, as well as a few different solar panel kits. Given Costco’s impressive reputation for fair and excellent customer service, it only makes sense that this decision has caught the attention of the solar industry.

    While having a major retail chain branch out into the world of solar is certainly a step in the right direction for the renewable energy movement, it is still worth taking some time to consider whether purchasing solar equipment from a “big-box” store that does not specialize in this sort of equipment is a good decision.

    How Can We Help?

    To help you decide whether or not you should consider purchasing a solar generator from Costco, we are going to take a close look at some of the pros and cons of choosing Costco for your solar equipment needs.

    We will also explain what they actually sell and offer our recommendations for retailers that we believe offer a superior alternative.

    Interested in more articles related to solar power? Check more on our site.

    What Solar Equipment Does Costco Actually Sell?

    As mentioned, Costco has recently branched out into the world of solar by offering their customers several solar generators, as well as a few solar panel kits. While greater exposure for residential solar equipment to the mainstream population is always a good thing, there is no getting around the fact that Costco’s selection is severely limited.

    While this is certainly understandable, especially given that they just began stocking solar equipment and generators, it is not a good thing for anyone that is looking for solar products that has more than even a casual interest in solar power systems. One of the most important factors when building your own solar power system is customization, as it is important that the equipment you buy matches your own unique power needs. When you shop through a retailer that only stocks a few entry-level components, your ability to find what you need is severely compromised.

    Solar Generators Offered by Costco:

    When you actually take a look at what Costco sells, you are basically limited to three solar generators – the Lion Energy Safari ME. the EcoFlow Delta PRO. and the EcoFlow River PRO.

    While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these solar generators, especially the EcoFlow Delta PRO, we found that they are regularly listed as being out of stock, or, in some cases, they are even temporarily removed from Costco’s website completely! So, not only is the product selection very limited, the solar generators are often difficult to find through Costco in the first place!

    Other Solar Equipment that Costco Offers:

    Costco also offers a variety of solar panel kits; however, all of their kits and solar power systems use Grape Solar panels. While Grape Solar is a brand that is known for reasonable prices, their solar panels are considered mid to low range, meaning they are not overly efficient and are often seen as a no-frills, basic option.

    While these solar panels might be a good fit for those on a tight budget, or anyone that is just looking to assemble a basic, entry-level solar power system, we would not recommend them for anyone that is looking for more of a long-term solar power system.

    Home Depot is another major retailer that is known for carrying solar panels from Grape Solar. This really tells you something when you consider the fact that very few specialized solar equipment retailers carry Grape Solar products.

    Pros Cons of Buying a Solar Generator from Costco

    To make things as straightforward as possible, we are going to go over some of the pros and cons of purchasing a solar generator from Costco:

    Cons

    As you can see, when it comes to buying a solar generator from Costco, the cons outweigh the pros. While we certainly believe Costco is an excellent company and feel that their Rapid growth is a testament to the fact that they usually offer fair and outstanding customer service, we just cannot recommend purchasing a solar generator from a retailer that has so little experience with solar equipment.

    Solar equipment is fairly complex and can be quite an expensive investment, which is why we firmly believe you should always go with a specialized solar retailer that can be relied upon to have knowledgeable staff, a dependable warranty and returns system, and a large product catalogue.

    You probably wouldn’t consider buying a car from Wal-Mart, or an expensive computer from your local grocery store, as these retailers cannot offer the expertise you would expect when making such a large purchase. This is the same reason you should not purchase a solar generator from a big-box store like Costco, Home Depot, or Amazon.

    What is the Alternative?

    As mentioned, we always recommend purchasing your solar equipment from a well-established and specialized solar retailer. These companies understand the products they are selling, which means they can offer far superior customer service and product knowledge than you would ever experience by going through a non-specialized retailer.

    Not only can they answer questions about the products they sell and make personalized recommendations, they will have a much larger product catalogue, which means you will actually have the ability to find a solar generator that matches your unique needs and budget.

    The best solar retailers also follow up with their customers and help them through the installation process. Costco simply lacks the product knowledge to be of any use to you after you have purchased a solar generator from them.

    Luckily, there are plenty of reputable solar equipment retailers out there that we believe offer a greater degree of expertise than you would ever get by shopping for solar equipment through Costco.

    Our Top Choice – ShopSolarKits.com

    When it comes to buying a new solar generator, or a complete solar generator kit, we usually recommend ShopSolarKits.com. They were founded in 2018 and in just a few short years, the company has grown to become one of the largest retailers of off-grid solar equipment in the United States.

    While their massive product catalogue and extremely competitive partially explain their Rapid growth, it is actually their impressive reputation for offering outstanding and ongoing customer support that is the real reason why they are our top recommended solar retailer.

    If you are new to solar and have never owned a solar generator before, ShopSolarKits.com can be extremely helpful, as they offer setup instructions, wiring diagrams, and after-sale customer assistance through their knowledgeable and friendly support team.

    What Do They Offer?

    Where Costco tends to sell solar generators as standalone units, ShopSolarKits.com offers a wide range of solar generator kits, which bundle a state-of-the-art solar generator with an appropriate number of solar panels, cables, connectors, and accessories to ensure that the solar generator will perform to its full potential.

    For comparison, when Costco has them in stock, they sell the EcoFlow River PRO as a standalone unit. While ShopSolarKits.com also offers the EcoFlow River PRO on its own, they also offer a variety of EcoFlow River PRO solar generator kits, which package the unit with a number of foldable solar panels and expansion batteries. This transforms a basic solar generator into a complete solar power station!

    Their EcoFlow River PRO 1,440Wh Double Kit is a perfect example of how ShopSolarKits.com takes basic solar generators and uses it to create a customer-friendly and budget-friendly bundle.

    They also do the same with Costco’s other best-selling solar generator, the EcoFlow Delta PRO. While ShopSolarKits.com offers the EcoFlow Delta PRO at a great price on its own, it is their Delta PRO complete kits that really catch our eye!

    For example, their EcoFlow Delta PRO 7,200Wh Nomad Kit combines the Delta PRO with 1,200W worth of monocrystalline solar panels, a Delta PRO Smart Expansion Battery, and all of the extension and charging cables you would ever need! On top of that, customers also receive custom installation and maintenance guides from ShopSolarKits.com themselves!

    ShopSolarKits.com doesn’t just offer the same solar generators you can find at Costco, they also offer a wide range of other kits from outstanding solar brands, such as EcoFlow, Bluetti, Lion Energy, Titan, and more. They also offer an incredibly impressive range of off-grid and grid-tied residential solar power systems and battery banks, which is great news if you are looking for more power than a solar generator could offer.

    Final Words

    If you want our advice, avoid the potential headaches that often result from buying solar equipment from a non-specialized retailer. Go with a company that understands solar equipment and has the ability to offer a wider range of products, convenient package deals, and extensive product knowledge!

    For more related topics, check out our other articles.

    Solar LED umbrellas sold at Costco recalled due to fire hazard

    The following is a post by the Consumer Product Safety Commission about the recall of SunVilla Corporation Solar LED umbrellas due to fire and burn hazards.

    • Hazard: The lithium-ion batteries in the umbrella’s solar panels can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.

    Description: This recall involves all 10’ Solar LED Market Umbrellas sold in a variety of colors. The umbrellas have LED lights on the arms of the umbrella and a black solar panel battery puck at the top of the umbrella. The solar puck has a black cover marked with “YEEZE” or “YEEZE 1.”

    Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the umbrellas, remove the solar panel puck containing a lithium-ion battery from the top of the umbrella, store the puck out of the sun and away from combustible material, and do not charge the puck with the AC adapter.

    Consumers can return the umbrellas and solar puck to any Costco Warehouse nationwide for a full refund. Consumers unable to return the product to Costco can contact the firm for instructions on how to receive a refund. SunVilla and Costco are contacting all known purchasers.

    Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received six reports of the lithium-ion batteries overheating. This includes three reports of solar panels catching fire while charging via the AC adapter indoors and two reports of umbrellas catching fire when the solar panel puck overheated and caught fire while attached to the umbrella and one smoke inhalation injury.

    Sold At: Costco warehouses nationwide and online at www.costco.com from December 2020 through May 2022 for between 130 and 160.

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