Many customers claim that SolarCity is a scam while others rate it high enough supporting SolarCity claim that they are America #1 solar supplier and this is confusing for everyone.
I decided to look and discuss on that with some of my colleagues and friends in the industry and here is what you need to consider and look out for.
Always be suspicious in every step when it comes to having solar panels to power your home, always search the internet, shop around, get quotes, and ask experts. Check with a lawyer before signing a contract. That is my most important advice whether you chose SolarCity or any other company.
SolarCity – Scam or a Good Choice? – What You Should Do and Consider Before Installation.
- Always ask for a visit by a technician/engineer to inspect your home before you buy or even get a quotation (I know it sounds like a basic thing, but I found that some people just bought before having an inspection, seriously!).
- If you are looking forward to getting the “tax incentive”, make sure that you are eligible for it (and by making sure, I mean check with an official or with the IRS, not with SolarCity sales rep).
- Ask them how much the solar installation will save you of your energy usage and study that figure to see if you will really save any money at all from the installation. (Also, monitor that in comparison to your energy bills before installation to make sure that your system is operating properly).
- Make sure that your roof structure can withstand the PV panels installed that can cover the “promised” energy coverage promised by SolarCity.
- Ask them to provide you with the model numbers of the equipment then compare the model numbers with the actual material before installation.
- I recommend you to get an individual panel monitoring system for better troubleshooting in case of any problem with the system (although you may pay more for that option, it is worth it).
- If you are buying the system, then you will be the owner of the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate), make sure that this is CLEARLY stated in the contract.
- If you are leasing, make sure that the contract contains the rate and the annual fixed increments if there are any.
- I personally do not prefer leasing, if you cannot purchase the system, look for banks and mortgage loan companies that offer low rates on green loans.
- Once you get the quotation, do your calculations before you decide to buy and see how much you will be paying annually if you have solar panels vs if you do not have them.
- If you will have a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) try to get a deal where you pay for your energy consumption, not the energy generated by the panels (if your system is oversized, you may end up paying more as the panels will generate more energy than your consumption).
- Have a lawyer to review the contract before signing it.
SolarCity – Scam or a Good Choice? – What You Should Do and Consider After Installation?
- Test your roof for any water leaking after installing the PV panels.
- Monitor the system performance right after installation and make sure it produces the energy it was designed to do.
- Always review your consumption versus your bill and make sure you are billed the right amount.
- Always keep your sales person number handy, if their customer services department is not responsive enough, give that sales person a piece of your mind.
- Scheduling the inspection by the city or state always takes a long time and there is some paperwork that needs to be done as well, so do not get your hopes up that the system will turn ON immediately after installation.
SolarCity – Scam or a Good Choice? – Pros and Cons:
- Various payment options.
- Large organization with a presence in over 20 states.
- 20 years warranty.
- Now owned by Tesla, there is a big potential for products and services improvement.
- Customer service is hard to reach and hard to deal with.
- Various reports on installation issues (mostly roof leaking).