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A SolarCity salesman just came to my door, can I trust them?

asked 2015-12-07 13:13:18 -0500

sbissell gravatar image

Someone from Solar City came to my door yesterday afternoon talking about putting solar panels on my roof. He told me that I could save money with solar but some of the numbers he was saying sounded like they were too good to be true and whenever somebody says no money down I feel like there's a catch... anybody have experience working with SolarCity salesman? I know they're the biggest solar company in the country so they must be doing something right but I like to do my research.

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answered 2015-12-10 16:12:00 -0500

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updated 2015-12-10 16:12:00 -0500

energysage gravatar image

We get asked this question a lot. Although SolarCity isn’t one of EnergySage’s pre-screened installers, many of our shoppers ask us about them. They’re often the first introduction that homeowners have to solar, and since they’re the biggest solar company in the country, there are lots of solar reviews about them online.

We recommend you take a look at their reviews on Yelp to find out more about the experience most homeowners have. Make sure that you scroll all the way to the bottom and look at the “other reviews” as well – right now there are about 1,650 additional reviews that are being hidden, and the vast majority of them seem to be 1-star reviews that reflect poorly on their business practices and level of trustworthiness. Hope this helps!

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answered 2017-09-17 21:52:26 -0500

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updated 2017-09-17 21:52:26 -0500

leland-gohl gravatar image

I used to work with Vivint Solar as a door to door guy.

And yes, it could be true that the offer was no-money down. If your home doesn't need any upgrades to get solar, such as electrical, roof issues, tree cutting, etc., and if you don't purchase the system, but instead take a loan, PPA, or lease option, then yes, it's no-money down.

No money down could also mean a few other things:

  • The installation cost is built into the price of the system.
  • You're not paying anything to have it installed up front, but once your loan terms kick in, depending on the incentives in your state of course, those payments could be higher than what you're paying on your current electricity bill now. Will you still save money in the long run? Likely yes.

Like SolarCity, I'd say there are a few negatives that come with being their size and doing door to door.

  1. It's hard to monitor a sales team if there isn't accountability. It's therefore very easy to lie by omission, which is all too common even if unintentional.
  2. Many door to door guys have been high school or college students looking for a temp job. They're not necessarily there for the long term and are new to "sales," and therefore might have a mature grasp on how to guide someone through a sale.
  3. Local installers usually offer a better price on panel installations than national installers. Studies support this. Full disclosure - I work for a local installer in Washington, DC.
  4. The SolarCitys of the world usually have a warehouse stacked to the brim with one type of panel or two. They HAVE to sell that panel and often can't work on properties that have a sophisticated level of design complexity or where there is a preference for a more customized product.

Is a great company? Sure. Are there sometimes better alternatives. Absolutely! (Leland)

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Asked: 2015-12-07 13:13:18 -0500

Seen: 1,998 times

Last updated: Sep 17 '17