In order to go solar through Sungevity, all potential customers must meet the following criteria:
- Reside in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont.
- Sungevity DOES NOT service every state in the U.S. including the following states: Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington.
Expert Review: Sungevity
In addition to an award-winning solar panel system, Sungevity offers a full warranty as well as advanced monitoring capabilities. Founded in California in 2006, Sungevity received its accreditation from the BBB in 2008. It offers solar power solutions for customers in 13 states from California to Washington D.C. Sungevity offers customers some of the most flexible payment options in the industry, including three different leased-based options and one outright purchase option. The lease options give customers 20-year protection, which includes full insurance, free installation, performance guarantees, and 24/7 monitoring. The outright purchase option allows customers to get 10 years of performance guarantees, repair options, and 24/7 monitoring.
The Good: Sungevity Review
Sungevity is emerging as one of the top home solar companies in the industry. The company offers every kind of payment option a consumer could want and makes it easy for those who qualify to go solar. Sungevity offers four different payment options:
- An Outright Purchasing Option
- A Solar Loan
- A Solar Lease
- PPA (Power Purchase Agreement)
Sungevity’s purchase option allows customers to own the system themselves. There are no third parties involved, removing any kind of monthly solar payments. Your system comes with a 20-year warranty as well as 24/7 monitoring when you purchase it through Sungevity. Benefits of owning your solar panel system include receiving the 30% federal tax credit, any additional state tax credits, and an increase to your home’s value when you’re ready to sell.
You can finance your system purchase through a loan with Sungevity. You will own the system, receiving all the benefits mentioned above, and will pay off your loan through monthly payments like any other loan. Through Sungevity’s vast network of lenders, you’ll be sure to find a reasonable interest rate to match your qualifications and unique situation. And since the terms of the solar loan imply ownership of the solar panel system, you will be able to receive the 30% federal tax credit as well as any state tax credits. This option also includes 24/7 monitoring and a 20-year system warranty.
Sungevity also has a lease available if that is your preferred method of payment. You won’t own the system, but there are benefits that come with signing a lease including a potentially lower power bill than what you were paying before, a system performance guarantee for 20 years, and options to help you transfer the lease if you decide to move.
PPA (Power Purchase Agreement)
With a PPA from Sungevity, a third party will own the system but you will only have to pay for the electricity you use at a set rate. The PPA protects you from any kind of rate hikes, and if you move, Sungevity will help you transfer the agreement to the new homeowner. Since you wouldn’t be owning the system, the partner working with Sungevity will install and maintain the system on your roof.
With its variety of purchasing and leasing options, Sungevity is doing everything possible to make solar energy more accessible and affordable than ever.
Sungevity offers a unique feature known as the iQuote tool. After consulting with the customer, the company uses a proprietary design tool to design and engineer a solar solution for the customer’s home. The iQuote tool generates all the paperwork (including the important legal notice allowing the company to proceed with the installation) automatically. As completing the necessary paperwork on time is one area in which other solar providers commonly fail (clients can often find themselves with a system that has been installed, but not yet activated), Sungevity’s iQuote tool is a true game-changer.
Other valuable features that should help you consider Sungevity include:
- Custom-Built Panels
- Online Monitoring of Production vs. Usage
- Solar Reps (Available at Select Lowe’s Stores)
While the 20-year contract for leased systems comes with a 20-year warranty, Sungevity is very aware that circumstances change and clients may need to move before those 20 years are up. Sungevity offers a few options for clients who are moving before the contract terms have expired:
- Assigning the energy plan to the new homeowner
- Prepaying the remaining payments and assigning the non-financial obligations the new homeowner
- Purchasing the remaining time on the lease, terminating the lease, and asking the company to remove the system
The Sungevity App
Sungevity also has a unique app available for smartphones, tablets, and computers. Customers can track their carbon savings and energy footprint and watch their progress towards going solar. This allows the customer to see exactly what their solar panels are producing compared to how much is used. Customers can also use the app to refer their friends to sign up with Sungevity.
Sungevity is known for its high-quality dealers. Local installers working for Sungevity undergo an extensive application process and are required to pass multiple quality assurance checks with high marks. Each Sungevity installation goes through two quality assurance checks: first, a regional representative certifies that the design meets standards; second, a district manager certifies the regional representative’s work. This thorough two-step QA process is unique in the industry and goes a long way to ensuring that each of Sungevity’s solar panel systems is installed correctly and safely.
One of the unique customer experiences associated with Sungevity is the custom installation process. Sungevity’s expert installation team will create a custom design for each home., providing panels that rank high for efficiency, quality, and blendability with any home’s roof. Each system will also feature industrial-grade railing, simple assembly, integrated grounding with UL 2703 systems, PE Certification, design software for quote preparation, and a 20-year warranty.
Sungevity Gives Back
Sungevity is also highly active in the non-profit sector. The company has raised over $1.5 million for non-profits and also has donated over 5,283 solar panel kits during its time in business. Sungevity is one of the most active companies in terms of charity in the industry.
The Bad: Sungevity Review
While Sungevity is setting the standard for solar providers everywhere, there are some things to be cautious of. A few things to take note of with Sungevity are:
- Limited warranty compared to competitors
- Lack of equipment information on their site
- Complaints listed on the BBB
- Less state availability than other solar providers
Even though Sungevity offers a 20-year warranty which is considered to be on the higher end in the solar industry, there are some competing solar companies that offer a 30-year warranty. A 30-year warranty will often last longer than the life of the solar panel system while a 20-year warranty may not necessarily do the same.
Lack of Site Info
The biggest critique of Sungevity is the lack of system information available on its website. While a basic explanation of each system component, such as the solar converter, is provided, more technical specifications of the system are nowhere to be found (customers and potential customers will likely have to visit a dealer website for this information). Sungevity’s FAQ section is sparse and does little to fully educate consumers on the value the company can offer. The company also lacks a live chat option, which would provide quick and easy access to important company information. Customers would also benefit from having access to an example contract, as knowing what specific terms are associated with the installation would help them make a better decision in going solar.
In the last three years, 13 complaints have been filed against Sungevity with the Better Business Bureau. As with any customer-oriented businesses, complaints like these are to be expected; however, each of these complaints has been handled by Sungevity, and all are currently closed.
Finally, Sungevity is available in 13 states, which is considered the top end of the industry. But it would still be nice to see them expand into a few more states to give more customers the opportunity to go solar!
The Bottom Line
Sungevity is a company that is revolutionizing the industry and setting the standard for what solar providers should offer.
Here is a quick recap on the good features:
- The iQuote Tool: Helps set the customer up with a solar panel system from a dealer, who in turn, uses Sungevity’s proprietary system to design a custom layout
- An Outstanding Mobile App: The mobile app that allows customers to monitor their energy footprint. Sungevity’s website provides excellent examples of what their mobile app looks like and what you can monitor and track. You will be able to access how much your production is per day, week, month, year and lifetime. It has the weather forecast in your area and even estimates how many pounds of carbon emission your solar home has offset.
- Multiple Payment Options with a 20-Year System Warranty: Sungevity offers four different payment options to help you get started with solar. Each lease type option features a generous 20-year warranty and 24/7 monitoring and repair, as well as insurance.
- An Elementary, and Easy to Understand Solar Basics Page: Lastly, they want anyone to be able to understand how installing solar panels on your home works.
Some opportunities for Sungevity to improve its service include the following:
- Increase communication between Sungevity and subcontractors.
- Provide more detailed information on Sungevity’s technology on the website.
- Expand the FAQ on the website.
- Increase the number of years for their system warranty
There is always room to grow, but Sungevity really stands apart in the solar industry. They make customer service a top priority and are consistently disrupting the industry by adding their proprietary tools. Overall, Sungevity is a superb company that is highly recommended for your solar needs.
Payment Options Breakdown
- You own the system
- Monitoring of your system 24/7
- Receive your 30% federal tax credit
- 20-year system warranty
- Monthly payments till the loan is paid off
- Typically less than electric bills
- 20-year system warranty
- 24/7 monitoring
- Guaranteed performance for 20 years
- Easy transfer of lease if you sell your home
- Small upfront cost and monthly payments
- Potential to be less than your electric bill
- Pay for the electricity you use
- Lock in a fixed rate
- You won’t own the system
- Easy transfer of PPA if you sell your home
Sungevity Solar Equipment
Sungevity uses their online monitoring system OurSungevity so that users can constantly monitor the performance of their home solar system. OurSungevity allows you to check out the solar system’s output, carbon savings, and other electricity related production. From OurSungevity, you can also share solar with your friends and help them see the benefits of solar savings.
Another benefit of OurSungevity is that you can monitor the status, output, and savings anywhere at any time from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. OurSungevity even lets you track your installation process by monitoring the 6 steps of installation online.
Inside OurSungevity, you can find tabs that shed more details on performance, your system, environmental impact, documents, and detailed reports. OurSungevity truly lets you monitor how well your home solar system is performing.