Sungevity offers a great solar panel system coupled with a full warranty and an advanced monitoring system.
Sungevity was founded in California in 2006 and received their accreditation from the BBB in 2008. They offer solar panel solutions for customers in AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, MA, NM, MD, NM, VT, NJ and NY. In the industry, Sungevity offers customers some of the most flexible payment options, including three different leased-based options and one outright purchase option. The leased 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 ten years of performance guarantees, repair options, and 24/7 monitoring.
One of the unique customer experiences associated with Sungevity is the custom installation process. Experts in solar panel will custom-design a system for a home, providing panels that have exceptional quality and easily blend with a home’s roof.
Sungevity doesn’t provide much technical information on its solar systems, but we were able to find several spec sheets with regional dealers. The spec sheets provide detailed installation blueprints, as well as specifications for the inverters that convert the sun’s energy into a direct current. Some of the benefits of a Sungevity installation and system include the following:
- The strongest rails,
- Simple assembly
- Integrated grounding with UL 2703 systems,
- PE Certification,
- Design software which can help a dealer generate a quote in minutes, and
- A twenty-year warranty, which is often twice the protection guaranteed by competitors.
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.
We were overall satisfied with the solar panel options offered through Sungevity. One of the unique features in the industry was the iQuote tool. After consulting with the customer, the company has a proprietary design tool that engineers a solar solution for the customer’s home. The paperwork, especially the importance legal notice to proceed, is automatically generated. We found that in the industry, other providers sometimes failed to complete the legal paperwork and clients could often find themselves with a system installed that was not yet activated. The iQuote tool helps prevent this.
We liked the 20-year contract/warranty for leased systems and found that this was often twice the warranty coverage in comparison to competitors. Also, we had a very simple question: What happens if the customer decides to move? Sungevity has four solutions for customers that need to move:
- Assign the energy plan to the new homeowner
- Prepaying the remaining payments and assigning the non-financial obligations to the new homeowner.
- Purchasing the remaining time on the lease.
- Terminating the lease and asking the company to remove the system.
Sungevity also has a unique app available for smartphones, tablets, and computers. Customers can track their carbon savings and energy footprint, as well as refer their friends and watch their progress towards going solar.
We also liked the high quality expected from Sungevity dealers. Sungevity requires that its local installers go through an extensive application process, and follow through with quality assurance and high marks. Each Sungevity installation goes through two quality assurance checks. First, a regional representative certifies that the design meets standards. Finally, a district manager certifies the regional representative’s work. We couldn’t find a more thorough QA process in the industry, where the solar provider follows through on the work of its contractors.
The biggest critique we had of the Sungevity website was the lack of information on the solar panel technology and components of the system. On the website, there are the basic provisions of a solar agreement that provide an explanation of each system component, such as the solar converter. We had to see a dealer website (http://generation819.com/solar-installations/aliso-viejo/5-41-kw-residential-solar-system-sungevity-lease/) to get the technical specifications of a solar system from Sungevity.
Another issue with Sungevity was that we had a hard time finding dealers throughout the United States. As of right now, the company only provides services to clients in California and 9 other states.
We found a few complaints that caused us to furl our eyebrows. One customer spent seven months after purchasing a lease before the system was running. This was due to a minor design flaw in the system. The customer isolated the cause of the problem as being issues between Sungevity and its subcontractor. The same customer also reported that the system generated far more power than what they needed, thus marginalizing the potential savings of a solar panel system during temperate months.
Finally, we would like to see a live chat aspect of the website and better FAQ. Many of our concerns went unanswered, even after our phone-in. For instance, we had questions about how we could work on a credit score to purchase a solar panel system. Also, our technology questions were not answered on the website.
The Bottom Line
Overall, we liked Sungevity and would recommend them for installation of a solar panel system. Here is what we liked about the company:
- In most situations, the iQuote tool helped set the customer up with a solar panel system from a dealer, who in turn, used Sungevity’s proprietary system to design a system.
- The mobile app that allows customers to monitor their energy footprint.
- The generous 20-year warranty for leased systems, which included 24/7 monitoring and repair, as well as insurance.
- How easy Sungevity made it if you needed to move.
Some opportunities for Sungevity to improve its service include the following:
- Increase communication between Sungevity and subcontractors (this was indicated in a few of the complaints that we read on Yelp).
- Provide more detailed information on Sungevity’s technology on the website.
- Expand the FAQ on the website, as not all of our questions were answered on Sungevity’s website.
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 anytime 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.