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The average solar panel installation and operation contract lasts 20 years – roughly the estimated peak energy lifespan of most panels. The information on this page will help you navigate this commitment and make a smart long-term decision.
Keep reading if you’d like to learn about our review and selection process, or jump straight to the reviews.
|Average Customer Rating||Total States Covered||Finance Options||Warranty|
|More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info|
|BluePower, BluePower+, Purchase||Loan, PACE Loan, Purchase||Fixed-Payment Lease, Prepaid Lease, PPA, Purchase||Lease, Loan, Purchase||Loan, Purchase|
| Installation: 5 years|
Panels: 25 years
| Installation and panels:|
| Installation: 20 years|
Panels: 20 years
Performance: 25 years
| Installation and panels: |
| Solar Shingles: 11 years|
Energy Production: 24 years
Your first conversation with Blue Raven Solar will establish your expected savings on electricity bills by switching to solar power. If you’re still interested in learning more, then the company recommends an in-person home inspection to determine more accurate estimated costs and savings.
During a home inspection, the Blue Raven Solar inspector determines how many solar panels your home needs, identifies any structural concerns that could impede installment, and provides a custom design that optimizes solar collection and storage for your home.
Blue Raven Solar is among the fastest installers in the industry with an average installation of 6-8 hours. In 2018, the average timespan between finalizing the installation agreement to system energization was slightly longer than three months.
If you decide to move after the panels are installed, Blue Raven Solar allows you to pay off the system when you sell the house or transfer the agreement to the new homeowner.
Blue Raven Solar offers two unique finance options, branded BluePower and BluePower+.
You’re also able to pay for the system in cash.
BluePower+ combines a Power Purchase Agreement with 18 months of free solar energy from the installed system. The agreement allows qualified buyers to pay $0 upfront for system design, permitting and installation costs. One note to be aware of, BluePower+ does effectively extend the agreement between you and Blue Raven Solar for 18 months, but during that time you’re able to save money on your utility bills.
BluePower is a financing option without the 18 months free in exchange for a discounted solar system.
Your first conversation with Green Solar Technologies involves creating a custom solar energy savings quote based on your home’s architecture and your average energy consumption. The quote includes your projected energy savings by switching to solar plus your panel and configuration options.
If you like Green Solar Technologies’ estimated energy savings and product offerings and want to move forward in the process, the next step is signing a solar agreement. The agreement determines your solar energy costs for the next 20-30 years. Once the agreement is signed, the company will send a surveyor to inspect your roof, gather measurements and plan the installation.
If you’re local to the Los Angeles area, Green Solar Technologies can install your solar system and get it running within a week. If you live in an area that has special installation requirements or permits, it can take up to three months for the full system to be operational, which is slightly faster than the industry standard.
If you decide to move, your solar energy equipment can be transferred to the new homeowners after the sale is complete. The new homeowners take full financial responsibility for the system.
About 10-15 percent of Green Solar Technologies’ customers pay for their solar system outright, and the others rely on a loan. The company works with lenders nationwide to offer a $0 down payment loan with approved credit and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.
Sungevity’s purchase process begins with a free, no-pressure consultation to determine if switching to solar power is right for your needs. For this conversation, you’ll need at least 12 months of recent electricity bills, which helps determine a precise energy savings estimate.
If you’re still interested in Sungevity after the free quote, the company uses a proprietary design tool to remotely engineer a custom solar system for your home.
The other companies on our list do in-person inspections, which allows them to determine if your roof might need upgrades or repairs to safely use solar panels. Sungevity’s remote design tool limits that opportunity.
Like many companies on our list. Sungevity lacks end-to-end service for customers, which can be a concern for some people. The company relies on local solar contractors to install their solar systems. Sometimes this works out great because local contractors understand the local weather patterns and are available quickly, but it also means your experience may vary depending on who your contractors are.
If you decide to move, Sungevity works with you to transfer the installation and financial obligations to the new homeowners after the sale is done. You’re also able to terminate the agreement and Sungevity will reclaim its solar system.
Sungevity offers three financial assistance plans if you don’t want to purchase the solar system outright.
The company partners with nation-wide loan and lease providers who offer a $0 down payment solar lease for qualified buyers. As with most solar leases, the lease provider owns, installs and maintains the system for you. Sungevity also offers a solar Power Purchase Agreement, which allows the company to own, install and maintain the solar system on your home. In return, you pay a set fee for the solar energy you produce and use.
Your first conversation with SunPower revolves around qualifying your home for solar power and determining if installing solar panels will offset your energy costs. Before providing you with a free quote, the SunPower representative will ask you about your average electricity bill, your roof’s building materials, how much sunlight your roof gets and your local climate.
After discussing these subjects, you’ll be provided with the projected energy savings by switching to solar, plus your panel and configuration options.
After agreeing to the solar installation, SunPower connects you with a local solar contractor who surveys your home and determines how many solar panels your roof needs. The surveyor will generally work with you to design a solar system that optimizes solar collection and storage for your home. Plus, they may also identify any structural concerns that impede installment.
The lack of end-to-end service for most customers is our main concern with SunPower. The company relies heavily on local contractors to design and install the solar systems, which means your experience may vary depending on who your local contractors are. However, local contractors are usually intimately familiar with local weather patterns, building materials and city codes, which can speed up installation times.
SunPower also has an e-book that provides tips and tricks for choosing a local solar installer.
If you move while still in the 20-year agreement, you can transfer the lease or loan to the new homeowner.
SunPower offers three different payment options for customers to choose from: a lease, a loan and outright purchase.
Leasing your solar system through SunPower allows you to effectively rent the system for little-to-no money down, and then pay for the energy you produce and use. Generally, lease payments are still smaller than utility bills.
SunPower loans are excellent if you want to own the solar system but can’t afford to pay upward of $25,000 at once. The loan also allows you to keep any state or federal tax incentives.
After you request a quote for RGS Energy, you’ll have a conversation to qualify your home for solar energy. This conversation involves discussing your energy consumption habits and average electricity bill, your home’s architecture and age, local weather patterns, how much sun your roof gets, and any local guidelines or solar restrictions. After gathering this information, an RGS Energy representative provides you with an estimate for how much money you can save each month by switching to solar energy and discusses finance options.
After the free quote consultation, you’ll schedule an in-person home assessment with an RGS Energy representative or local solar contractor. During this survey, the inspector will evaluate your home for any potential structural issues, design a custom solar system to meet your energy needs, and then begin filing permit applications. Last, you’ll get to fill out rebate and incentive paperwork and finalize the financial documents.
At one time, RGS Energy’s website went into detail about its installation process. However, after selecting the option to learn more about installation, the page no longer exists.
RGS Energy systems are purchasable outright in cash or with a solar loan. Unfortunately, RGS Energy does not offer leases or PPAs. If you’re a member of the U.S. military, RGS Energy offers a $500 instant rebate. The company also has a robust, uncapped referral program that offers you $500 for every successful customer referral.