1st Light Energy Review: Costs, Quality, Services & More (2023)

1st Light Energy Review: Costs, Quality, Services & More (2023)

Here’s what we’ll cover in this review of 1st Light Energy:

  • Is 1st Light Energy a legit company?
  • What does the installation process look like with 1st Light Energy?
  • Is 1st Light Energy expensive?
  • What do customers have to say about 1st Light Energy?
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Choosing a solar company to complete your solar panel installation can be an intimidating experience, especially because there are so many installers to choose from. Our 1st Light Energy review below should help you decide if this company is a good choice to match your needs, expectations and budget.

Is 1st Light Energy a Good Solar Company?

1st Light Energy is a decent solar company that provides services throughout the country. It carries a small selection of solar panel brands, although the ones it does have are some of the most efficient panels in the industry. The company maintains average pricing for the most part, although the value is lacking a bit as the customer service isn’t the best. It also doesn’t provide a workmanship warranty or any additional physical protection warranty on top of the one offered by the panel manufacturer.

What Should You Know About 1st Light Energy?

1st Light Energy Inc. was founded in 2004 in Manteca, California, by Justin Krum, and it has since grown into a solar company with national coverage. The company’s mission is to provide affordable solar to customers that is backed by outstanding customer service, creating a positive customer experience and helping expand the solar industry.

According to customer reviews, 1st Light Energy falls short in some cases in terms of customer service, but it does provide access to very affordable financing options, including $0-down solar loans.

The company maintains a team of in-house installers but also outsources some installations to third-party companies. The company sets itself apart from others by guaranteeing savings on qualified installations.

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1st Light Energy

Outstanding Regional Installer

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Great warranty coverage
  • Offers rewards for customer referrals
  • Many years of experience


  • Some reported communication issues
  • Less personalization than competitors offer

1st Light Energy Services and Installation

The installation process you’ll go through with 1st Light Energy is straightforward from first contact through system commissioning. Below, we’ll break down the process so that you know what to expect, and we’ll also provide some insight into the customer service this company typically brings to the table.

Solar Installation Experience

The process of going solar can vary depending on which installer you choose. The steps below are specific to what you can expect from 1st Light Energy.

Step 1: Request a Free Quote

The first step to going solar with 1st Light Energy will be to request a free quote online. This involves putting in some contact information and your estimated monthly energy expenditure. You’ll immediately get a rough estimate of the money you could save based on the information you provide and satellite imaging. A salesperson or account manager will connect with you shortly thereafter to get some additional information and insight into your solar project.

Step 2: Property Inspection

In most cases, 1st Light Energy will want to send a technician to your home to complete an in-person inspection. This usually involves measuring your roof, gathering information about your electrical system, heating and cooling systems and determining where your components will be installed.

Step 3: Design, Permitting and Installation

Next, the 1st Light Energy design team will design your solar system and come up with a total cost. If you approve, you can move forward with securing financing while the company begins pulling permits for the installation.

Once permits are pulled, and you’ve figured out your desired financing option, the project manager can schedule the installation date. The installation process typically takes one to two days.

Step 4: Activating Your System

The final step of the process will be commissioning your solar panel system. At this point, your panels will begin providing electricity for your home, and you should begin to see energy savings.

1st Light Energy Customer Service

1st Light Energy generally has decent customer service, with reps that provide good response times and frequent communication. Unfortunately, though, many customers have complained about a lack of communication, non-functioning solar equipment and a poor overall experience.

It seems clear that the customer experience is based at least in part on your location and the specific 1st Light Energy office that services your area.

1st Light Energy Costs and Financing

The cost of solar photovoltaic panels for your home will depend on your energy needs, your home’s energy efficiency, the direction your roof faces and much more. The average cost is around $2.66 per watt, and prices from 1st Light Energy usually fall around this number.

You can estimate your overall cost by figuring out how many solar panels you need and using this average per-watt price.

1st Light Energy offers prices that are about average, and depending on the equipment you choose from its offerings, you could get slightly above-average performance from your panels. However, the value provided by customer service should also be considered.

One substantial upside to working with 1st Light Energy is that it provides access to many different financing options. It accepts cash payments, no-money-down solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). We usually don’t recommend solar leases or PPAs, but having the option might be beneficial for some solar customers.

Financing Options Through 1st Light Energy

The table below provides a quick view of how the different financing and purchase options available from 1st Light Energy stack up.

Cash Purchase Solar Loan Solar Lease Solar PPA
System Ownership
Maintenance Included
Upfront Cost
Added Property Value
Eligible for Tax Credit
Payment Due to Solar Installer Loan Provider Solar Installer Solar Installer

If you, like many other solar customers, are unsure of which financing option is right for you, check out our solar financing guide for help on deciding.

1st Light Energy Solar Panel Warranty

Solar panel warranties are very desirable because of the high cost of going solar. Warranties provide some peace of mind that your investment will be protected for years to come. Solar warranties either cover the equipment (either for physical damage or to guarantee energy production efficiency) or workmanship (to cover issues with labor during the installation, including roof leaks).

Unfortunately, 1st Light Energy doesn’t provide a workmanship warranty, which is a fairly significant downside to working with this company. You will, however, get the warranty from your equipment manufacturer. These warranties can range from about 12 years — usually for inverters — up to around 25 years for panels and energy production, depending on the manufacturer.

1st Light Energy Reviews

Turning to other customers’ reviews of a company is a great way to get an unbiased look at what kind of experience a solar installer is likely to provide you. Below, we’ll include some of the most helpful 1st Light Energy reviews from customers who have worked with this company in the past.

Positive 1st Light Energy Reviews

Many of the reviews of 1st Light Energy are very positive, with customers raving about the customer service, attention to detail, consistent communication and overall positive experience. Below are some of the most positive reviews out there for this company.

“I would recommend 1st Light Energy to everyone. From first contact through installation everything was done very efficiently and professionally. The best part is that I haven’t paid more than $88.00 a month in over 18 months and this includes my lease payment. For the past six months my payment has just been the lease payment of $68.00. Love it!!” — Paul via Google Reviews

“We have been working with the good people at 1st Light for over six years now.. […] I have to say that this company has been absolutely outstanding, starting with Justin, one of the owners with whom we worked when they were small and our $50,000 contract was big, to many years later, when Gus Lackey and Fabian Wika were so diligent and helpful in the freezing NJ snow and cold, when our repair request was not worth more than a couple of hundred dollars.” — Raja via Google Reviews

Negative 1st Light Energy Reviews

1st Light Energy has gotten its fair share of negative reviews, as different offices seem to provide wildly different customer service. Many of the complaints also include claims that the promised referral bonus was never received. Below are some of the negative reviews available online for 1st Light Energy.

“I wouldn’t trust this company. They promised work in March, screwed up the permits with the city, [and] didn’t have the foresight to fix problems. We were left waiting until July. […] They still owe me money for referring another customer to them. When I sent a letter demanding that they pay, I received a phone call from a representative […] who yelled and screamed at me in a very unprofessional manner. I would never invest a second of my time, money or energy with this company.” — Josh via Google Reviews

“I think 1st Light Energy is the worst solar company out there. Their service and customer service is the worst. Ever since solar installation back in October 2019, I’ve been having problems with the system. It never produced the way it’s supposed to, and every time I called they always tell me the system is working fine and yet my monthly electricity bill is always over $200 on top of $194.63 monthly for the system.” — Marc via BBB

Solar Energy Provider Comparison

1st Light Energy is just one solar installer option. How does the company stack up against some of the best solar companies in the country, like SunPower and Momentum Solar? The table below provides a side-by-side comparison for a quick review.

1st Light Energy SunPower Momentum Solar
EcoWatch Rating 3.5 5.0 4.5
Year Started 2004 1984 2009
Services Offered Solar panel and solar battery installations Solar panel, solar battery and EV charger installations; solar monitoring Solar panel and solar battery installations
Service Areas Nationwide Nationwide 11 States
BBB Rating A A+ A+
Payment Options Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases, PPAs Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases, PPAs Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases, PPAs

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we get most often about 1st Light Energy. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at solar@ecowatch.com.

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Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
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Expert reviewer
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.