1st Light Energy Review: Costs, Quality, Services & More (2023)
By Dan Simms /
Here’s what we’ll cover in this review of Bright Planet Solar:
If you’re looking for a solar installer to handle your solar panel installation, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Choosing the right company can be time-consuming, but our Bright Planet Solar review below should help you avoid choosing the wrong one.
We’ll discuss this company’s pricing, services, quality, value and more, and you’ll very likely see why this company isn’t a great choice for most solar customers.
Unfortunately, Bright Planet Solar has a reputation for very poor customer service, long, drawn-out installation timelines and deceitful business practices that make its systems seem better than they actually are.
A large majority of Bright Planet Solar reviews are negative, with customers complaining about delays in the installation process and, in some cases, what the customer believes is fraud. Overall, Bright Planet Solar is not a good option for solar panel installation.
Although we don’t recommend Bright Planet Solar, we can connect you with a representative from a more reputable company who can help you get your solar project underway.
Bright Planet Solar, Inc. (also known as BPS) was founded in 2014 in Auburn, Massachusetts, by Mikey Heinz, who had several years’ experience in the solar industry. The company expanded rather quickly to serve eight states, and it’s one of the few solar installers that also serve Puerto Rico. The company’s mission statement is to bring affordable solar to all customers, which it attempts to do with low pricing for solar equipment.
Unfortunately, the company seems to be more focused on accruing industry partners like SunRun and SunPower than it is on providing quality service to its customers. The business model seems to thrive on third-party sales partners, which is likely the reason that many customers complain about aggressive sales tactics. It seems Bright Planet is unable to keep up with demand, so it has started using subcontractors, which further complicates customer service.
|Bright Planet Solar Fast Facts|
|Service Areas||CA, CT, IL, MA, NJ, NH RI, UT and Puerto Rico|
|Services Offered||Solar panel and battery installations|
|Types of Solar Equipment Offered||SolarEdge, SunPower, LG, LG Chem, Trina Solar, Q Cells, Sonnen, Solaria|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||Not BBB accredited|
The process of going solar is relatively straightforward with Bright Planet, although there is potential for delays and hiccups according to customer reviews. We’ll include a breakdown of the process you can expect below so that you’re better prepared for each step.
Going solar with Bright Planet Solar is similar to what you can expect from other installers, although the timeline can vary. Below is the process specific to Bright Planet.
The first thing you’ll need to do is fill out the company’s contact request form on its website to request a free quote for your solar system. You’ll need to provide some basic contact information and answer some questions about what kind of solar project you’re planning.
A sales rep or project manager will then reach out to you to set up an initial consultation call. You should have your most recent electric bill ready to discuss on the call. You’ll also answer questions about appliances in your home and your expectations from your solar panel system and provide information about your heating and air conditioning equipment.
In most cases, Bright Planet will need to send a technician to your home to take measurements and confirm your information. The company might also need to send an electrician to inspect your main panel and decide how components will be connected. You should plan to discuss any specifics about the placement of your solar batteries and panels during this inspection.
Next, the Bright Planet Solar design team will begin to design a system that fits your home and meets your energy needs. This process typically takes a few days, but delays on Bright Planet’s end could mean it takes longer. Once you approve the design, the team will start pulling permits. This is where some customers begin to have issues with Bright Planet as permits are not always pulled correctly or closed out, according to reviews.
If permit pulling goes smoothly, the installation team will then schedule a date for the installation — the point at which many other customers experience problems and delays. There are reports of some systems taking months or even more than a year past the installation date to complete.
The last step is a final inspection and system activation, which lets your solar panels begin producing energy. This is also when you should start experiencing energy savings. Unfortunately, this is another step at which many customers have issues with Bright Planet Solar. Some reviews state that the system is never commissioned due to unexplained problems with permits or inspections not being passed. Bright Planet has a reputation for leaving partially installed systems on properties despite in many cases receiving payment.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, the customer service experience you can expect from Bright Planet is severely lacking. A large majority of Bright Planet Solar reviews are negative specifically because of the lack of communication from account management, abandoned installation agreements, incomplete installations and unanswered customer phone calls and emails.
The customer service phone number doesn’t appear to be monitored much of the time. Overall, the customer experience with Bright Planet is well below average and does not represent what we have come to expect from big players in the industry.
The cost of installing solar panels varies from customer to customer and is based on numerous factors including your energy needs, the system size that suits your home, your home’s energy efficiency, the direction your roof faces and more.
The average price per watt for solar equipment is around $2.66, and Bright Planet typically falls a bit under this average. While it’s impossible to say what your system will cost without completing a property assessment, most homeowners pay between $11,810 and $23,621 for solar power systems. Your cost via Bright Planet Solar is likely to be toward the lower end of that range, so they are a relatively cheap option for solar panels.
Bright Planet accepts cash purchases and solar loans via its financing partners, which include LoanPal, Dividend, Sunlight Financial, Mosaic and California First. It does not accept solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), although these aren’t options we recommend anyway.
The table below offers a quick at-a-glance view of the different financing options available from Bright Planet Solar.
|Cash Purchase||Solar Loan|
|Added Property Value||✓||✓|
|Eligible for Tax Credit||✓||✓|
|Payment Due to||Solar Installer||Loan Provider|
Finding the right financing option for your needs and your budget can be confusing. If you’re unsure if the options above or another option is right for you, we suggest you check out our solar financing guide for help.
Most solar customers look for warranties on their solar systems given how much they spend on converting to renewable energy. Solar warranties usually either cover the workmanship or the equipment. Equipment warranties can further be broken down into coverage for physical damage and a guarantee of power production.
Bright Planet Solar does not provide any warranty at all, so the only coverage you’ll get is from the panel or equipment manufacturer. Coverage varies depending on the brand and the equipment type (including panels, batteries and inverters). Coverage for inverters and batteries can be as short as 10 to 12 years, while panels more often have coverage of around 25 years.
The solar industry can be challenging to navigate, especially given how many options there are for solar panel installation companies. Many customers turn to online reviews of companies for unbiased reviews. These are great, as they give you a sense of what kind of experience and service you can expect. We’ll include some of the positive and negative reviews for Bright Planet Solar below.
Unfortunately, the positive reviews for this company are virtually nonexistent, so we cannot provide any specific ones. There is a single five-star review on Google Reviews, but there is no text. The positives shared by a customer named Liza include “professionalism, quality and responsiveness.” There are no other positive reviews listed on the major review sites.
Unless you have trusted friends and family members who have used Bright Planet and recommend them, we’d suggest staying away from this installer.
While positive reviews are lacking, negative reviews of this company are plentiful. Most of the reviews are one-star and complain about installations not being done in a timely manner, misrepresentation of savings and solar incentives and non-operational solar panel systems that were partially installed and then abandoned. The Better Business Bureau has a complaint warning on the company’s BBB page about a pattern of negative reviews and customer complaints. Below are some of the more telling negative reviews of Bright Planet Solar.
“Your company has lied to me, points fingers and places blame, tells me there’s nothing you can do, and gives me a different story every time I call. Nobody […] cares to listen and provide actionable support. […] I can’t get any updates on my project without having to repeat my story every day to customer service staff who aren’t even given the tools to help me. I’m still paying my PG&E bill and my loan for the solar and I’m not happy. This has been the most frustrating process.” — Leslie via BBB
“This company continues to make promises it can’t keep. We have been charged for our solar panels that are non-operational for a number of months now. They continue to say a technician will be out to fix them and push through our inspection, yet nothing has been done. I have not been able to get through to a representative for the last three times I have called this company. I have sat on hold for at least 15 minutes.” — Rob via BBB
“Horrible customer service and support. You will never talk to someone that treats you with respect, and basically they will call you a liar. We have been getting the runaround since installation back in October. We are now paying a monthly payment on a system that wasn’t working! […] I even told the sales rep that I didn’t want to be stuck paying for two bills (solar and electric bill). But here we are on month two of paying both!! Funny how tricky they are when selling you the system. Would not recommend Bright Planet Solar.” — Robin via BBB
There are many better options for solar panel installation companies than Bright Planet Solar. The below table provides a side-by-side look at Bright Planet and two of the best solar panel companies in the country, SunPower and Momentum Solar.
|Bright Planet Solar||SunPower||Momentum Solar|
|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||Eight states and Puerto Rico||Nationwide||11 states|
|BBB Rating||Not BBB accredited||A+||A+|
|Payment Options||Cash payments, solar loans||Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs)||Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs)|
Below, we’ll answer some of the questions we get asked most frequently about Bright Planet Solar. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at email@example.com.
Many people don’t consider Bright Planet Solar to be a legitimate company. It has a history of exceptionally poor customer service, abandoned installations, non-functional equipment and other negative customer experiences. One of the biggest complaints from customers is having to pay two bills — solar loan payments and electric bills — instead of saving money by going solar.
Generally speaking, no. Bright Planet Solar consistently ranks as one of the worst solar installers. While the cost of going solar with this company is below average, nearly every customer agrees that the low cost isn’t worth the headache and frustration — not to mention the more expensive monthly payments — that this company is almost certain to present.
While installing solar panels normally decreases or even eliminates your energy bills if you have a favorable net metering policy, going solar with Bright Planet Solar will likely not provide these benefits. Countless customers have complained that instead of their electric bills going down as promised they get stuck with the same electricity bill plus a monthly payment for a non-functioning solar panel system. Converting to solar is a great option for most homeowners that will save money in most cases, but Bright Planet Solar usually does not provide savings, according to customer reviews.
Installing solar will always be costly, but Bright Planet Solar is cheaper than many other installers and maintains pricing that is below the average in most areas. However, most customers agree that the value provided by this company is not worth the money, and they end up paying for electricity bills and solar loan payments because they chose Bright Planet.
Bright Planet Solar is headquartered at 103A Millbury St, Auburn, MA 01501, but it has additional offices throughout the country. Its services are currently available in eight states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Utah. It’s also one of the few solar companies that serve Puerto Rico. You can check its website, brightplanetsolar.com, to see if the installer serves your city.