Twitter Twitter2 Facebook StumbeUpon RSS Email

Vivint Reviews On Solar Power

29 Flares Twitter 4 Facebook 23 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Pin It Share 2 29 Flares ×

Every month when the electric bill comes I get instantly annoyed because typically is it higher than I would like.  It also doesn’t help knowing there are alternative energy sources like solar available that we aren’t utilizing that we could be and that would help us save a ton of cash.

I started looking into solar and found Vivint Solar and learned a few things that I didn’t know.

Vivint Solar has a power purchase agreement.  What that means is they retain ownership of your system, but agree to design, install, and maintain your system for free and you agree to purchase the power your panels generate from them.   A PPA ensures you can enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable solar energy without having to recoup your investment over 10 to 20 years. A PPA helps you enjoy the benefits of solar without a large, up-front investment as well as offers you stable electric rates by allowing you to lock in your rate for the next 20 years.

I have looked at the solar option in the past and the costs have been crazy expensive but Vivint makes solor affordable for everyone.  They walk you through the whole process step by step from the initial process to obtain all necessary permits and completing the installation.

Solar is really that easy and can be installed in one day.  Crazy.

Technology has come such a far way and has really become affordable for almost every one

Vivint is more than just solar and they are  dedicated to enhancing security, convenience and energy efficiency.










I Disclose

29 Flares Twitter 4 Facebook 23 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Pin It Share 2 29 Flares ×



About Rob

Rob brings a new perspective to the once mommy blog. His insight on technology, parenting and family brings a different spin to the this site, one that is often overlooked in the blogosphere.

Comments

  1. Wow that’s pretty interesting! I hate our electric bills. Don’t know how much it’d actually help in the winter. I’m guessing as long as they’re not covered in snow they’d work. I’m going to look into this more. Thanks for the info.

  2. I also dread the electric bill. I think if more people started to utilize solar then others would follow. We should really start thinking about it!

  3. What happens if your panels generate more power than you use? Does the company sell it elsewhere and keep the $?

    • taximomuv3 says:

      As you generate power, it is going through your meters and into the grid (but backwards). You pay Vivint only for the power you use out of what you generated. If you generate more than you use, then your current power company has to issue you a credit (“buy back”) – if you use more than you generate (winter months this is more likely) then you would use your credit before being charged for the excess. At least this is the way I understand it.

      • This would be true if you owned the solar panels yourself. Under the plan offered by Vivant, they retain ownership of the panels so consequently I would assume they would retain the buy back credit generated from your roof top. I don’t know if this is a fact but am basing my opinion on common sense.

        • James says:

          I think you’re right Mike. I am close to going ahead with the project but have seen that the homeowner has to buy all of the power, even if they don’t use it. We have a number of new installs nearby but nobody has it hooked up long enough to evaluate the actual billing differences. I’m going to wait until I see a track record from others nearby. It might be good but… I’m also concerned about house resale, especially if a potential buyer wants their own system; they can’t because Vivint has their 20 year agreement.

        • I’m a sells rep for Vivint. The credit goes to the customer. Vivint only makes money on the power the home owner uses. Any excess power the homeowner sells to their local company and gets credits in return. Vivint designs the system this way to ensure customers save as much as possible. You can ask me further questions on my Facebook page. Name is cole
          Farmer Vivint Solar

          • Thomas says:

            You have to buy ALL THE POWER the system produces whether you use it or not. What you don’t use you sell to the utility for a credit. But you buy all the power and sell what you didn’t use. I work for a different company that does PPAs and we are more upfront about things than vivint. PPAs are great, but the vivint culture is to say whatever it takes to make the sale whether it’s true or not. Just look at all the attorney general lawsuits against vivint for deceptive sales practices. Not a company I’d like to be in a 20 year marriage with.

          • Peter says:

            Unless you live in New York and on Long Island. PSEG is not required any longer by law to purchase your excess power. So if you produce extra, you pay for it, but it is not stored anywhere.

          • Robert says:

            FROM PSEG LONG ISLAND WEBSITE JUNE 9, 2014:
            What If My PV System Generates More Energy Than What I Consume?
            During the month, if a net metered customer generates more energy from their PV system than is consumed, the customer is billed for the daily service charge only (line and meter charge) and the excess generation in kilowatt hours (credits) is placed in an “energy bank”. Energy from the bank can be withdrawn in subsequent months to reduce the net metered customer’s billed consumption during the contract year.

  4. Jennifer h says:

    I think this is fabulous! I’d love to get solar panels.

  5. Maryann says:

    Dont they also do some philanthropy work? I think they have donated to Surfers Healing! Very cool.

  6. This is so cool!! I dread the utility bill every month…

  7. danny says:

    I’m considering this right now. The Vivant people are coming out this weekend to survey my house. My only issue is in reading the contract it appears to be a “20 year service agreement”. The rep told me that once the panels are installed, I’m commited for 20 years. Sure the savings are there on my monthly bill and it doesn’t look like they could/would jack up the bill by any more than 3.4% per year in the future.
    They do have to run my credit to make sure I qualify for this ahead of time. My concern is this; what if sometime in the next 20 years I sell my home and the new home owner does not want to pay Vivant for solar power? What if they don’t qualify to assume the VIvant agreement or start a new one? What then? Am I on the hook to Vivant for the remainder of the 20 year term…even if I don’t live there any more?… I didn’t see any clauses or rights of forfeiture if the homeowner ever moves prior to 20 years. The rep told me that the new homeowner would simply call Vivant to have their electricity turned back on in their name, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. This is a legally bindnig contract between me and VIvant for 20 years. I’m just trying to see how this could potentially backfire on me, if at all.

    • Barbara says:

      I just spoke to a rep and asked him the same question and he said in the event the new homeowner didn’t assume the contract it would have to be bought out based on the price of the solar panels which is typically $7,000-9,000 depending on the particular system that is installed.

  8. Sharon Moss says:

    We are currently looking at this as well what they told us is you have 3 options either the new owner of your home qualifies under their guidelines to take it over, pay $600 and move it where I go, hopefully there is no association, or I buy the panels. Another question I have they can raise the rates 3.9percent a year. If they can do that each year or have the option of increasing it each year would I be paying more than I am now? Not sure we are going forward

    • Vivint solar rep says:

      I am a vivint solar rep and would like to try and help with your questions if you have not found an answer already?

  9. Vivint came to give me a home review and there sales talk! When I broke the figures down they were charging me 12 cent per kwh for the power that I got from the solar panels. The electric co now charges me 6 1/2 cents Kwh. I know that there are other charges like disterbution, line , account, renew energy added to the 61/2 cents. But if you added that all up i would be paying 12 cents per kwh

  10. simon lovitt says:

    After some research and financial anylysis of their proposal, we went ahead with the agreement. For us in California, with SDGE, the electiricty is priced in “Tiers”. The more you use, the more they charge. So we have 4 tiers, right now its at 15c ( including all the add on charges ), for the first 346KW/h, 18c for the next tier, 26c fir tier 3 and 30 c for tier 4. for 2-3 months of the year we hit tier 4, for a bill of around $400.00, lowest months are around $120, but this is still comprosed of tier 1,2 and 3. Looking back over my bills, year on year the bottom tier 1 threshold goes down ( quicker into teirs 2,3,4 ), and the price goes up – about 10%/year. With Vivent, no matter how much electricity you use generated by their system, you only pay the 1 teir rate – 15c. The rate is incremented by 2.9% anually up to 20 years, making final year cost of 20c. The idea is you cut paying into the multi-teir system, and rates increase less than with the utility – effectively the system becomes cheaper as the years go on. Now, during the summer months, the analysis of our genrating ability ( their measure the amout of available sunshire in the optimum position, and extrapolate over an average hrs/sunshne/year) , showed we would be +net metered, which means we woluld be feeding electric back onto the grid for an SDGE credit. In the winter we use that credit to balance the higher bill ( winter usage higher and solar generation lower ).
    Pretty straight forward – they make their money form a kind of cap and trade bargain with the utility – California has to be 33% renewable engergy by I think its 2016, so they sell the credits to SDGE.
    The transfer to a new owner, becomes part of the house sale contract. You dont own the system, they maintain ( they have to to keep the system earning for them ) – you only ever pay them for what it produces – if its down, you dont pay unlike leasing or buying where you are responsible for repairs, and still have to pay when its down. $500.00 to have the system removed for roof repairs, but they gaurantee their subcontactors will beat any roof quote by $500.00, so net is zero cost. If we moved, they would set up a new system , agin no out of pocket to us. As far as new owners not wanting the system, not sure under what circumstances someone wouldn’t want greatly reduced electric bills for nothing ? Hope that helps people make an informed decision.

    • Holly Lamonica says:

      I appreciated reading your analysis regarding Vivint. Have you seen a reduction in your electric bill?

    • Mike Miller says:

      Your calculations are also appreciated by me. Vivint Solar (separate from the alarm system company I’ve read; the alarm company seems to be rated C+ by the BBB)) is working in our neighborhood now and we’re seriously considering putting it in. Your review has helped me in making a decision.
      San Diego Mike

      • vince says:

        Don’t be concerned about BBB , you have to pay them a monthly fee to get an A rating, if you don’t they like to down grade your company, totally corrupt operation. 20/20 did a expose on this and exposed them.

    • Would really love to hear, Simon, if you saw a big reduction in your bills. Your situation sounds very much like us. We live in California and also hit tier 4 about 3-4 times a year but generally electric and gas is less than $150. I have heard it is really not worth it if your electricity is less than $150.

  11. Get A Grip says:

    PLEASE people, do your homework. Vivint installed a system on my neighbor’s house, right under a huge tree. He gets no sun on his house. Now the system is covered with leaves. Another person I know went with Vivint, and now his brand new roof leaks in several places. BBB ratings do mean something, but check with your state consumer protection office as well. There are other companies out there such as Sunrun and Solar City that do a much better job and have much better terms. Also, make sure to check whether it would make more sense in your personal financial situation to get a loan and purchase the system yourself.

  12. Vicki says:

    Don’t do business with Vivint Solar. I am so sorry that I did. Sounds good in theory. They installed panels which failed the city inspection in July. Despite calls and emails they just won’t come back and it is coming up on 2 months. Filing BBB report and reporting them to anyone that will listen.
    Save your self a lot of headaches and use a different company !!

    • Jan Bourret says:

      I am having the same problems as Vicki. It’s very frustrating. Still calling the local Fresno office, now every day, to kick start my solar “on”. Very poor follow through after the panels are installed. The install went smooth but after that nothing so keep this in mind when thinking about this company.

  13. Ron Miller says:

    My solar was just turned on today. I have been impressed so far with everything I have dealt with from this company so far. The proof will be in the pudding and that of course means what will my bills end up changing. I live in Fresno California and am expecting my bills to be at least $180 – $200 lower in the summer months. My bills average $400 per month July – Sept. I will report back to this website in a few months

    • lorna moody says:

      I was wondering if you electric bills have gone way down after solar panels have been installed. Any issues with Vivint?

  14. Victoria says:

    What happens when the technology changes, is there an upgrade or exchange program? My parents put in solar 10 years ago and now the technology has changed drastically. I would be more concerned that any technology 20 years old will be outdated. A 6 month old computer is old, a TV bought just 30 days ago changes in price by the week as well as the computer. Before long they will have solar panels more efficient, smaller, etc. Technology changes would be my main concern Does anyone know?

  15. James McCrary says:

    If you generate 3KWH you pay 3x per KWH you agreed to on your contract, (I.E. 15 cents per KWH)
    Regardless if you use all or only a portion of the generated amount.
    The excess not used goes into the grid. You STILL pay the full 45 cents
    You draw back from the grid when generation is below demands. (Night)
    I pay 45 cents an hour for solar (when I generate 3 KWH) then pay 8 cents a KWH from PG&E at off peak that I’m bring back off the grid.

    • San Dieo -Dave says:

      The more KWHs the panels generate, in case if we did not use them (during non-peak hours), the more Vivint Solar would cost us. In James’ case, losing 37cents per hour (daytime or non-peak hours),

      In the peak hours or at night when we’re at home and consume most of electricity/KWHs, the pannel would not generate any KWH w/o sunlight, we’ll be using KWHs from SDG&E anyway.

      Will the un-used KWHs feeding back to the grid (during non-peak hours) be counted as credit and thus reduce the overall usage and lower the cost tier level?

      If not, how could the Vivint solar save us money, probably 3~4 evening hours (still having sunlight and electricity usage)? I can’t figure it out unless for those who need to run air-conditioner during daytime.

  16. Hilario Romero says:

    I just had my solar panels installed in November. Not sure if everyone here knows that by becoming a vivint solar customer, vivint will put a lien on your home. That is something that they don’t tell you but is written on the back of your contract. I had 4,250 watts installed @ $7 dollars a watt = $29,750.00 so that means I have a lien for $29,750.00 and I will never own the panels even after 20 years. Think twice before you get suck in by this company.

  17. Vivint solar rep says:

    I am a local southern california rep with vivint solar. I have worked for vivint since 2007 installing and doing sales for their security and home automation operations. Unfortunately, in all industries you have dishonest people. If anyone would like more information on the agreement, process, installation, or if getting solar is even worth looking into feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer your question in a timely manner. Also, if i do not feel comfortable with my knowledge in answering your question i will be sure to contact someone in that department to get you a correct answer! Have a great day!

  18. Vivint solar rep, there does seem to be a few questions from posters here that you can answer as you read through the comments. I for one would like those addressed. I am seriously considering this PPA plan in Orange, ca, but have my concerns.

    My rep told me they don’t put a lien on your house. It does state on the contract that they anyone who does work on your home may record a lien if they are not paid. I have my concerns with this after reading Hilario Romero’s post. Sounds like they put a lien on your home from what she says.

    My rep told me that I pay for all energy that is produced, but in the event I don’t use all of it then the leftover will roll over to the next month/months. I don’t read that on the contract, but he says it does for sure and at the end of the year I would get a check if I did not use it all. This does not concern me as they want to put on a 7W system and it will not generate enough for me anyway.

    As far as roof leakage and customer service. If, like one of the posters says, my roof were to leak there is nothing that states a timeline for repairs or any damage that the leak may cause to the house. That is very questionable for sure.

    Simon Lovitt has a great post. I average around 1200 kwh a month. The best tool I have found is on my electric companies website (mine is Southern Cal Electric, SCE). You can go in and see your actual usage daily/monthly and at what times of the day your using the most energy. I can tell what time my family gets up in the morning and gets home at night, and what time my pool pump comes on and how many kwh it draws. With this information I purchased LED lights and it has saved me a lot on my bill. They are expensive, but well worth the cost. I am also getting a variable speed pool pump and since my A/C is 27 years old I am going to get it replaced.

    So I have been able to cut my own bill down by realizing where/when my faults are. Still my bill is a lot and I am interested in this solar. If I were to get an equity line of credit to buy my own then I would be paying more for the loan payment until I paid it off. By that time the newer technology should be better than todays and I would feel like I just finally paid off the 10-15 year old car.

    I am very interested in this, but have my reservations. Also the 2.9% per year on .15cents comes out to be around .26 cents in 20 years, not 20c.

  19. Marlene Burroughs says:

    Do Not use Vivent…My bill is just as high and they lied to me and said Hawaiian Electric will only allow 80% of panels…that is not true…talked to other voltaic companies and friends that used other companies. I repeatedly called them and they said to take it up with Hawaiian Electric. This is poor customer service. I am sooo regretful that I used them and will do anything to save someone else. Didn’t know about the lien. Should have read the contract better…might have to get a lawyer…just want them to take the panels off.

  20. Jerry says:

    Quite a while ago, a vivint solar rep came to my home offering solar panels at no cost to me, it was very intriguing, but I was trying to find out what the “catch” was. It simply sounded too good to be true. I let him in and he explained it to me like this; I didn’t pay for national grid (my utility company here in Massachusetts) to build their power station, I just buy the power from them, and he said they operate the same way, they will pay for my personal “power plant” if you will, and I buy the power from vivint at 10.5 cents per kw instead of paying 18 cents per kw to national grid. Sounded Mike a no brainer to me.
    I told him iI wanted to do my research before going good ahead with it (I’ve looked into solar before but it was going to cost me over $25000 and take 15 years to pay for itself, and then once it is paid for I would still be liable for damage to the panels, ie. Hail storms, falling branches, golf balls, it was just too big of a risk for me)
    He said in the mean time, he would have a survey done of my home, to see how big my system would need to be.
    Well after he left I got I line to do my research, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this company before, they got a $2 billion funding from Blackstone, and every page I clicked on talked about all these investors that were dumping $$ into vivint.
    After doing some research I had a few questions for him, so I asked him to come back to my home. I will list my Q&A for you here
    1. am I paying for the electricity that I Use, of for ALL the electricity that the panels produce?
    His answer, they will design my system to produce 95% of my ANNUAL electricity use, so in the summer months I will be producing (and buying) more electricity than I will be using (more sun in the summer=more electricity produced) the excess that I don’t use will spin my meter backwards, giving me “credits”, so in the winter months, when my panels aren’t producing as much electricity as a need (I have electric heating) I will suck up my “credits” that are being stored in the grid, that I HAVE ALREADY PAID For. If I do use more electricity that the panels produce, I would then start using energy from National grid, which he said is likely to happen.
    So, yeah I may be paying for more electricity than I use during the summer, but in the winter it will even itself out.
    Either way, I did the math and my bills during the summer would still be less than if I stay on national grid.
    2.lets say the panels produce more electricity than I need, does vivint sell it to national grid?
    His answer.. No I will be the only one purchasing the energy, but the only way the panels would produce more than I need is if I drastically reduced my electricity consumption, like if I were running a shop in my garage, and then moved my shop to a different location, he said that’s why they have to see my energy bill to calculate my usage, so they know how many panels to install, to make sure my system doesn’t produce more than I need.
    Well, it sounded pretty good so I told them to go ahead and install the system (my roof was only big enough to fit enough panels to produce about 80% of what I use) which he said was pretty common.
    Fast forward 7 months to today. I couldn’t be happier. The installation went smooth, it took a few weeks for the city inspector to come inspect the system before I could start using it, which was kind of annoying since my panels were already on my roof just waiting to get turned on. Once I started using the solar, my bill dropped from $300 a month to about $180,plus like $15-20 we pay to national grid for what we use from them. If any of you are considering doing business with vivint, I would highly suggest these guys. I’ve had nothing but great experiences. Hope this helps-jerry

  21. Jerry that does not sound like such a good deal. It looks like you save about $100 a month in the summer but since you are not “over producing” are not accumulating any credits for your winter usage. Since you use electric for heat for the cold winters in Massachusetts it will be interesting what your ultimate yearly savings will be.

    Do not forget that Vivint is a for-profit company and would not be selling you this system if there was not money to be made. Certainly there is quick cash flow with the solar rebates. And I have to believe they are selling power back to your power company at a profit. Can anyone tell me that if power was produced at tier 4 if you are being credited at tier 4 or below? Are you generating $.35 HWH power and being credited for $.15 KWH power. Is the power credits that you realize the result of an agreement between you and the power company or Vivint and the power company. I would have to think, to make a profit, that Vivent has the contract and is making money off it.

  22. Silvia says:

    Im actually disappointed in Vivint… My energy monthly cost has actually increased, compared to my regular utility bill. all i ended up doing is trading one power company for another…and more expensive to boot. I wish i had explored other options…now i think its just a scam. The only ones profiting are Vivint, because i have seen no saving at all. I advise people to look at owning their panels instead!

    • Silvia,
      I’m currently looking at Vivint….what part of the country do you live, that your bill has actually gone up?

  23. I live in CA and have SCE as my power co. I am curious about vivant, but after reading all the comments I’m really more confused than ever…good company, or bad company? Smart investment/choice, or bad choice? Lowers my overall bill, or I’m stuck paying more? I’m a single mom trying to save where I can, so what do I do? I do like the idea of a PPA over buying or leasing the panels.

  24. Bobby M. New Jersey says:

    My wife and I did not realize how vague the sales person was when answering some of our questions. We purchased our
    system in August 2012. The good news is that we save close to $100 a month on our bills, but there is much more bad than
    good! We are in the process of selling our home, and a potential buyer was concernrd about the contract. I called Vivint, and
    was told that it would be about $28,000 to buy out ($7.00 per Watt). My wife had asked this question, and was not given an
    amount close to this. When I spoke with someone recently, they told me that the sales rep could not have given me this
    amount before my “system was designed”. I feel that they are not totally being honest when selling this program. I, like many,
    should have been more cautious during this entire process. I will be contacting a lawyer, and would not recommend doing
    business with Vivint.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] like yours exist to hide negative reviews of poor products and shady companies – such as Vivint. It’s spamming the web, and it’s inherently dishonest. Maybe you can send your kids (if [...]

Speak Your Mind

*