Vivint Solar Panel Installation
#11
  Re: (...)
Several folks in our town (SE Mass.) are having Vivint Solar install panels on their roofs. Basically, the deal is that, after an evaluation of site orientation, roof angle, last year's usage, etc., they provide an estimate of how much your electric bill with be with them supplying most of your power. (They sell the rest back to the grid.) They prepare a quote with guaranteed rates and if the home owner is happy with the deal he/she signs up for a 20 year commitment with all maintenance and repair responsibility born by Vivint.
My question for you fine folks is this: do any of you have any experience with this company, and, if so, was it good or bad, and would you recommend Vivint for a solar panel system installation? (And yes, I do plan to talk with local folks about their experiences, and have a lawyer look over the contract if I get that far.)
Thanks, ronwhit
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#12
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
I did some reading since I wondered about the percentage of available sunlight that you have in MA. (58% in Boston, FYI)


Some of the complaints about Vivent were, panels installed for a year before being hooked up to the grid, verbal guarantees well over the written contract minimums and property damage by the installation contractors.

I'm interested in hearing more as you go through the process.
Mark

I'm no expert, unlike everybody else here - Busdrver


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#13
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
dunno about Mass, but here there's a solar installer on practically every corner. Get several bids and see how Vivint compares.

maintenance on the panels should be next to nothing, as long as they're using good panels.

You should also check out just purchasing the system outright. I believe the 30% federal tax credit is still in effect...which proly Vivint gets with the systems they install and own.

What does the contract say happens after 20 years to the system on your roof?

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#14
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
TL;DR? They are scumbags.

Vivint is headquartered here in Utah. It has a pee poor reputation locally for misrepresentation, aggressive salesmen, under performing, and restrictive contracts that are expensive to cancel should the need arise.

I would not let them do anything on my house.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivint#Legal_issues

Google for complaints, the company has left a nightmare of consumer complaints in its wake.

I listened to a spiel a door to door salesman gave me once. After I pinned him down on three different lies he told me about the cost of the home system he was pushing and got to the true cost I asked him why he lied, he responded "Don't blame me, that is how we are trained to answer that question." I asked him how he liked working for a company that he knows makes him lie. He just shrugged and dodged it with "I see I'm not going to make a sale here" and left.
There are two kinds of people: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring - Carl Sagan
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#15
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
Hmmmm....

Vivint got my 88 year old father to sign a 20 year solar contract. 88!

I was able to get it rescinded it for him, but here are just a FEW of the concerns we had...YMMV.

You are on the hook for 20 years. If you want out, you pay the predetermined/prorated value of the system. If you sell your house before 20 years, the new owners must agree to continue the contract, or you have to purchase the remaining prorated value of the system. Vivant must approve future owners. From a prospective purchaser's perspective, buying a house with a solar contract hanging over it may not be as appealing as a competing house. If you need to remove the system (they do it for free) for whatever reason, you owe them for the energy not produced while the system down. At the end of the 20 year lease, the contract stated that the homeowner had a choice of 1) continue on a year-to-year basis, 2) have it removed for no charge, 3) purchase it at fair market value. If nothing else, read their contract, especially the Additional Terms and Conditions. That document was extremely difficult to read - dark pink type on a pink background in tiny, really tiny font.

Their contracts vary by state and my father's contract was written Maryland. I found their sales methods to be predatory. My father's neighborhood has a bunch of them installed.



JMHO, If you want solar, buy it and finance it yourself through a reputable dealer/installer.
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#16
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
Doesn't matter the company, if you can't work out a decent all cash deal, then whatever funny math is done to come up with the power purchase agreement won't be any better.

Consider also that if you come upon a better deal, you are still stuck with the 20 year commitment.

Consider how you will sell a house with a 20 year commitment attached?

Who get s the 30% tax break? Most of the time these companies keep that.

I'd look into installers who can do a system where you own it outright. How you finance it is up to you, but I prefer a big stack of cash. Look into the payback at current electric rates. Does it pay back in under 8 years? How about closer to 6? Until the end of this year, you get a 30% tax break. Next year, its 10% unless something changes.
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#17
  Re: Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by Mr_Mike (Doesn't matter the c...)
solar often doesn't make sense where they have low electrical rates.

The payback period is pretty important. Don't want a 30 year payback on equipment designed to last 25 years.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#18
  Re: Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by meackerman (solar often doesn't ...)
meackerman said:


solar often doesn't make sense where they have low electrical rates.

The payback period is pretty important. Don't want a 30 year payback on equipment designed to last 25 years.




Most solar systems payback now in the range of less than 10 years. From some of the information I've been reading, if you get all in, and by "all in" I mean completely in (6kw system, 4kw minimum, net metering, ground source heat pump, solar hot water, eliminating natural gas as much as possible, manage passive gain by season, etc.) then you can see 6 to 7 year paybacks, but the upfront investment to get "all in" is substantial.

Here is a local guy that really went extreme, to the point of even getting rid of his gasoline powered cars and going all electric with two Nissan Leafs. He claims that now all of his energy is virtually free, but it took him a while to get there. I could never see myself going to those extremes, but its still a really interesting web site. He has figures on his website detailing his energy use and showing that he had a four year payback.
There are two kinds of people: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring - Carl Sagan
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#19
  Re: Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by Alaric ([blockquote]meackerm...)
it depends on the cost per KWH, monthly usage and solar exposure.

In Cali in the top tier we pay something like 35 cents per KWH.

From what I've heard other places in the country are significantly less than what Cali is.

So you spend $25k on a system and have a $100 electric bill every month, its going to take a while for the system to pay for itself.

In my previous house, also here in Cali, my electric bill was rarely over $150 a month, usually around $100. I didn't bother with solar. With my current house my first winter my electric bill was $500-600 a month during the winter and a bit less during the summer. My payback period is something around 6 years.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#20
  Re: Vivint Solar Panel Installation by ronwhit (Several folks in our...)
Very few panel installers are roofers. They put a little silicone or roof cement on top of the shigle the lag screw a bracket thru the shingle
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