- Offers fully customized solar power systems, including batteries and inverters
- Includes a 25-year linear performance warranty on all panels
- Offers $1,000 to existing customers for referrals that join Sunrun or Vivint Solar
- Has faced claims of deceptive marketing in the past
- Receives customer reviews that feature mixed experiences with customer support
Vivint Solar’s history and which states it serves
Vivint Solar started in 2011 to help homeowners get clean energy at prices they could afford. In addition to this, the company is known for its customer service and ability to make things just the way you want them. It won a Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year in 2017 for having good customer service.
Sunrun, another reputable company that sells solar panels and batteries for homes, bought Vivint Solar in 2020. The company works as a separate branch of Sunrun. This lets both companies grow and make solar energy more affordable for more homes across the country.
Vivint Solar panel options
Vivint Solar only sells solar panels that are made of a single crystal. These are the most efficient solar panels on the market, and Vivint wants to make them even better by using solar cells with a passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC). PERC solar cells are one of the most efficient types of cells because they produce more energy while taking up less space. Vivint works with several companies that make solar panels to offer these, but LG is the company’s main partner.
Vivint can also install solar batteries. These backup batteries keep the lights on at night and when the power goes out. Vivint sells both the LG Chem battery and the Tesla Powerwall, which are two of the most popular solar batteries.
The company also puts in chargers for electric vehicles (EVs). Vivint has Level 2 private EV chargers. These EV chargers work faster and more efficiently than public chargers, and you can use the Vivint mobile app to get information and insights about your car.
Vivint Solar can give you a quote right now.
Installation and service from Vivint Solar
Vivint Solar’s installation process is easy and only has five steps. This method lets the company make solar energy systems for homes that are completely unique. Vivint Solar may also come with different inverters and solar energy storage devices, depending on how much energy you need and how much money you want to save. The steps for installing Vivint are as follows:
- During a consultation, Vivint Solar looks at your home and your energy needs to figure out the best design. The company will tell you how much you can save by installing solar panels and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
- Design: Vivint comes back to your home or meets with you online for a second time to look at your roof and get information for its team that designs solar energy systems. The design team at Vivint Solar makes a solar PV system for your property that fits your energy needs and your financial goals.
- Permits: Vivint Solar takes care of all municipal permits and paperwork for utilities, which makes installation day easier for you.
- Installation: You set up a day for installation with Vivint. Vivint says that your solar panels will be set up and ready to use in four to eight hours. The company will also tell you how to turn on and off your system.
- Activation: After an inspection with the city, your local utility company and the city give final Permission to Operate (PTO) for Vivint to connect your solar panels to the power grid and start making clean energy.
Vivint’s solar panels are great for people who know they will be moving soon or who plan to move in the future. They can be set up quickly. If a customer needs to move while still under contract with Vivint, they can do one of four things:
- Transfer the agreement to the new homeowner
- Pre-pay the remainder of the contract
- Relocate the solar panels to their new roof at no additional cost
- Purchase the system outright (after having it for six years)
How much Vivint Solar costs and how to pay for it
Even though Vivint Solar doesn’t list prices online, you can expect their prices to be in line with the average price of solar panels. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says that the average cost of residential solar panel systems in the United States is about $2.94 per watt*. This means that a standard 5-kilowatt (kW) system costs about $11,000 before installation fees.
Installing solar panels usually costs between 100% and 200% of the cost of the panels. So, a system from Vivint Solar would cost between $22,000 and $33,000.
There are four ways to pay for a solar energy system from Vivint Solar:
- This is usually the most cost-effective option because you own the system outright and don’t have to pay any extra costs in the long run. This option comes with Vivint’s warranties and lets you take full advantage of federal solar tax credits and any local incentives.
- Solar loan: If you get a solar loan, you own the solar panels and don’t have to make a big payment up front. Instead, you pay a financing partner small amounts each month. With this option, you can still get tax breaks and Vivint’s warranties.
- With a solar lease, you don’t have to pay anything up front. Vivint owns the solar panels, but you pay low monthly fees to use them and get the benefits of solar energy. You can’t use any tax breaks or rebates, though.
- Solar PPA: A power purchase agreement (PPA) from Vivint works the same way as paying your regular utility bill. But when you use Vivint’s solar panels, you have to pay for your electricity. As with a solar lease, you don’t own the panels and can’t use tax credits. However, you can use Vivint’s warranty and make clean energy.
Reviews of Vivint Solar
Sunrun owns Vivint Solar, so the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page for Sunrun has reviews for the company. Sunrun has an A- rating and accreditation from the website, but Vivint Solar has government actions from both the New Mexico and New Jersey Attorney General’s Offices. Both lawsuits are about how misleading Vivint’s marketing and sales materials were, which led salespeople to promote false ideas like “free solar panels.” Also, many customers signed contracts without realizing they were signing up for 20 years, or they thought they would save money but didn’t.
Since Sunrun owns Vivint Solar, customer reviews focus on Sunrun’s customer service team. When you work with Vivint Solar, you will also talk to people who work for Sunrun. Reviews that are good about the company talk about how good the solar panels are and how fast and easy they are to install. Some negative reviews point out that monthly electric bills haven’t changed much, if at all, and that sales tactics like spam phone calls are too pushy.
We tried to get in touch with Vivint Solar about this lawsuit, the negative comments below, and the cons in this article, but we didn’t hear back.
Having the freedom to move or move your solar system is a great benefit. Vivint Solar gives homeowners with solar PV systems who want to move four good options. In addition to this perk, Vivint wants to give you a system that is fully customized to your energy needs and spending goals.
Even though Vivint has been known to use misleading and pushy sales tactics in the past, Sunrun’s purchase of the company has led to better customer service and a network of solar experts with more experience. Sunrun has avoided this kind of controversy in the past, so now that it owns Vivint Solar, customer service is more trustworthy and easy to reach.
Solar panels do not hurt your roof in any way. But before you agree to have solar panels put up, make sure you hire a licensed, qualified professional solar installer and that your roof is in good shape.
A 20-year contract is needed to sign a power purchase agreement or lease agreement with Vivint Solar. You can get out of this contract if you get a solar loan or buy the whole system.
Yes, the same company makes both Vivint Smart Home and Vivint Solar. In 2011, the home security company put out Vivint Solar. In September 2012, The Blackstone Group bought Vivint.