Solar City

August 18, 2017

Solar City

Solar city is a company that sells and installs solar systems.

Installing solar panels

This company's business model is basically based on not allowing you to know what kind of equipment you will have installed on your house regardless of what they say during the sales process and even during final design approval. They withhold information about the type of equipment you are getting so that, in the end, it's as if you don't have a say about what will be installed on your house regardless of what the salesperson promises when negotiating pricing. In my case, I agreed to a specific type of panel and inverter with the salesperson in writing via e-mail. I had no reason to believe I would be getting anything other than a Power Optimizer or Microinverter installed as assured by my rep, however, when installation day came they showed up with a string inverter which is slightly less efficient and has fewer features (no individual panel monitoring, system only performs as well as its worst performing panel, heavily affected by shading, cheaper price).

Their solar models

In any other situation when you are buying something pricing depends on the quality and features of the equipment. I was confident I could have this situation ironed out by customer service since I had it documented in an email that I would get a certain grade of inverter, however, when I spoke with them they incorrectly told me that I agreed to buy a certain amount of electricity from them, not specific equipment and there was nothing they could do. That would be true if I was leasing the system, however, I was purchasing it and I agreed to price based on a certain grade of equipment. Had I known I would be receiving a lower grade of equipment I would not have used them or the price I would have agreed to pay would have been much lower

"We have provided this system at a fair cost, regarding the production you will receive over the life of the system. The statement made by the Energy Consultant, as I advised once not one he could make and we still provided contractually what we advised we would because we offer Energy offset and we don't have an equipment selection process with our clients. We install the equipment that is needed to provide the offset we contract for. I understand you're advising you requested a certain type of equipment however my Engineers reviewed this project and determine the product we have provided will provide the offset required. We will not make any further accommodation regarding the system because the system is mechanically sound the way it is. We do not negotiate our pricing based on product type (Inverter or configuration) and I think that is where we are losing each other."

It says right there the representative shouldn't have promised specific equipment and they don't negotiate pricing based on the product you get...that makes no sense and this is apparently a company policy. So if you're content to have a large corporation decide what system is best for your house based on their bottom line and regardless of what the salesperson says then this company is right for you. They even go so far as to send you a system design for approval that does not specify equipment even though the paperwork they send to the county does have the equipment included. It's as if they are trying to conceal the type of equipment they use. Doesn't really seem legal to me but hey, what do I know, I'm just an unwitting consumer. Be extremely suspicious and cautious if you choose to work with them.

The Author | Scott Harrison
Scott is a happily married father of 2 and likes spending his spare time walking his dogs and taking his kids to the movies. View More Post from Scott Harrison