Should You Buy a Solar Generator from Costco? – Everything You Need to Know
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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 prices 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.
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:
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:
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 prices 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 prices 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.
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!