2023 SunPower Solar Review Guide (Costs, Quality, & More)
By Kristina Zagame /
In this Vision Solar review, you’ll learn:
Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Vision Solar LLC, headed by Jonathan Seibert, is a regional solar provider that serves seven states across the country and has garnered quite a lot of attention by growing rapidly over the past few years. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to customer service, and it has a history of using misleading marketing practices to entice customers into solar power systems and agreements that might not be as beneficial as they seem.
In this Vision Solar review, we’ll discuss everything we believe you should know about this provider before deciding if it’s the right one for you. We’ll discuss some pros and cons, pricing information, panel brands offered and more to make your decision easier.
Overall, we can’t, in good conscience, recommend Vision Solar. The company has a large service area and installs high-quality equipment for industry-leading prices, but it falls short when it comes to customer service and transparency.
Vision Solar has a few things going for it, the most important thing being its pricing structure. It is one of the most affordable companies you can hire in the entire industry, which means most customers will be able to convert to clean energy via the installer. Since going solar is an expensive endeavor, the relatively low pricing could mean the company provides access to photovoltaic (PV) equipment to customers that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Vision Solar also has a simple and easy process for getting a consultation set up and receiving a personalized solar quote. The sales reps are quick to respond and get estimates back, so you won’t be waiting for days or weeks as you might with larger or busier companies.
Additionally, unlike many other solar companies, Vision Solar installs a wide range of products, which means it can customize a system specifically for your needs. You won’t be shoehorned into a single panel brand, so you can optimize for cost, efficiency, durability or whatever suits your needs best.
Unfortunately, we believe the downsides of choosing Vision far outweigh the benefits.
One of the most disappointing things about Vision is that the customer service is known to be poor or, at the very least, spotty at best. The company has an atrocious 1.19-star rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and countless complaints filed by unhappy customers.
We’ll discuss more about the reviews later, but for now, just know that most mention significant delays in the installation process, a total lack of communication from the company, issues with the system and warranty coverage after the installation and problems with transparency and misleading marketing techniques.
Vision Solar also includes the manufacturer’s warranties for the products it installs, but it makes no mention of a workmanship warranty. The average labor warranty in the solar industry is ten years, so we’d really like to see coverage for at least this long.
Especially from a company with poor customer service and a history of ignoring customer inquiries, the lack of a workmanship warranty is concerning, to say the least. We don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility to have a system installed by Vision, experience issues that cause system or property damage and be left alone to solve the problem yourself.
Most solar installers choose a handful of panel brands to work with, sometimes getting certified by the manufacturers or just creating relationships with brands they trust. Vision, on the other hand, provides access to most panel brands and will work with you to figure out which brand works best for your needs.
Honestly, we like this approach because it gives customers looking to optimize different aspects of panel performance options to choose from. For example, you could choose a panel with a decent efficiency rating that has a relatively low cost per watt to keep installation costs down, or you could max out efficiency for the highest level of production if the higher cost per watt doesn’t bother you.
The table below includes a quick side-by-side look at some of what we believe are the best solar panel brands for home use. Vision Solar should be able to get its hands on these brands for you.
|Panel Type||Estimated Cost per Watt (installed)||Cost per Panel (installed)||Power Output||Efficiency Rating|
|REC||Monocrystalline and heterojunction (HJT) panels||$2.75||$990 to $1,182||360W to 430W||20.0% to 22.3%|
|Trina Solar||Monocrystalline panels||$2.85||$1,026 to $1,738||360W to 610W||19.9% to 21.8%|
|Q Cells||Monocrystalline and polycrystalline||$2.80||$980–$1,148||350W to 410W||19.5% to 20.9%|
|Panasonic||Monocrystalline and polycrystalline||$3.00||$1,050 to $1,200||350W to 400W||19.2% to 22.2%|
|Canadian Solar||Monocrystalline and polycrystalline||$2.90||$986–$1,682||340W to 580W||15.88% to 20.6%|
|Industry Average||Monocrystalline and polycrystalline||$2.66||$798–$1,197||300W to 450W||15% to 20%|
Vision Solar is a bit of an oddball in the solar industry, as it only installs panels. If you’re looking for solar batteries, electric vehicle (EV) chargers, energy efficiency upgrades or other add-on products, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
However, since the provider offers access to Enphase inverters and microinverters, it can include Enphase’s solar monitoring app for keeping track of your solar project’s production. We’ll explain how this app can benefit you below.
Solar monitoring is super helpful to have, which is why major brands like SunPower, Tesla and Enphase have invested time and energy into creating end-user monitoring mobile apps.
The Enphase app gives you live-time information on your solar production and your home energy consumption. Being able to monitor your production is helpful because it lets you see if you have issues with your panels. A lower-than-expected production could mean your panel is damaged.
The consumption is helpful for maximizing your savings, as it shows you how and when you can make changes to your energy usage to keep energy costs down.
It’s difficult to say with certainty what a system for your home would cost through Vision Solar, as every system is different. There are a lot of cost factors to consider, like shading on your roof, your monthly energy consumption, the direction your roof faces and more.
With that being said, Vision Solar is known to be one of the most affordable installers in the industry, with pricing that is well below average in each state it services. Using the typical system cost in the U.S. of $23,940 before the federal investment tax credit (ITC) as a point of comparison, we’d expect a system from Vision to total around $18,000.
These numbers assume that you need the standard 9 kilowatt (kW) system, which also assumes an average number of sunny days per year in your area — 205 — and average monthly energy consumption — just under 900 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.
The average cost per watt in the U.S. is around $2.66, and Vision often hits numbers around $2.00 flat. These do represent pretty significant savings — close to $6,000.
Vision Solar not only has super affordable pricing, but it also keeps its equipment and services accessible by accepting a variety of payment options. You can choose to pay in cash, take out a solar loan or enter into a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA).
Of these four options, a cash purchase is going to be the least realistic for most customers since you’d need to pay the entire system cost upfront. More customers will be able to swing this with Vision than with most installers, given the below-average cost per watt, but it’s still not possible for everyone.
While cash payments are the least accessible, they will lead to the fastest panel payback period since they don’t require that you pay interest, and, consequently, they deliver the highest energy savings of all of the options over time.
A solar loan usually requires no down payment and lets you spread out the cost over eight to 20 years, on average. This makes going solar way more realistic. However, the interest you’ll pay — an average of $5,000 over the loan term — will reduce your savings and extend your breakeven point.
A lease is basically a rental agreement for panels, and in exchange for paying a monthly rental fee, you get to use the energy that the panels generate to offset your electric bills. Ideally, a lease will be a no-cost option for you because your utility bill savings will cover the rental fee.
A PPA is when panels are installed at no cost and with no expected monthly rental fee. However, you agree to pay your installer for the electricity you need. The purchased energy is usually below the retail rate, so you should see some savings over time.
Leases and power purchase agreements seem appealing, but they save an average of $13,000 less than a loan would and $18,000 less than paying in cash would. Additionally, they don’t let you take the federal tax credit — an average potential tax savings of $7,182 — and they can complicate the sale of your home. We don’t recommend these options overall.
We should mention that Vision Solar promotes leases and PPAs over loans and cash payments. This seems like an irresponsible thing to do, as it’s pushing customers to take less beneficial payment options.
Although Vision Solar has lower installation costs than most other providers, the total conversion cost is still quite high, so most customers will want additional ways to save. There are a few things you can do to keep costs down, which we’ll discuss in the following sections.
Vision Solar works with a myriad of solar panel brands, which range from moderate efficiency ratings to well-above-average ratings and affordable to above-average in price. Since you have your choice of brands, a good way to save money is to choose an option with a lower cost per watt.
It’s tough to give specific brand recommendations, as every customer has different energy needs and other performance specifications they should consider when choosing a panel. However, some brands that Vision Solar can work with that deliver good quality and a low cost per watt include QCells, SolarEdge and Solar World.
It’s also hard to estimate how much this can save you, but some estimates suggest the difference between a budget brand like SolarEdge and a high-efficiency brand like REC, for example, could be around $0.50 per watt. For the typical 9,000 watt system, that would amount to savings of approximately $4,500.
Solar incentives are one of the best and most efficient ways to save money on your solar panel system. Incentives come in a variety of forms, including tax incentives, tax exemptions, rebates and more, so it’s important to take all of the different solar perks you can.
All U.S. taxpayers have access to the federal solar credit, which credits your income taxes owed with 30% of your system cost — an average of more than $7,100. Keep in mind that you can only benefit from this perk if you owe money on your income taxes. Vision Solar has gotten many complaints for not explaining this clearly to customers and misleading them into believing it’s a rebate.
For statewide incentives and other perks offered by your city or electric company, we recommend you check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
We should also mention that some installers that provide one-on-one customer service are able and willing to help you file for all of the perks available to you. Unfortunately, Vision Solar’s reputation for poor service suggests that you’ll be on your own to find and file for the incentives in your area.
Finally, you can save money on your solar energy system by paying in cash; your initial cost will be higher, but your savings will also be maximized over time.
The average system, paid for in cash, will pay for itself in 11 years and deliver an additional $22,379 in energy savings after that point. Paying with a solar loan will usually mean a payback period of 15 years and savings totaling closer to $18,000. Leases usually save around $5,000, and PPAs save the least, an average of about $4,000.
Keep in mind that Vision Solar prioritizes low-cost options like leases and PPAs. If you do move forward with this installer, we suggest declining those payment options and instead going with cash or a loan for the highest solar savings.
The process of going solar with Vision is about what you’d expect from most other installers, although there are some areas where Vision will differ and demand different things from you. We’ll detail the process from start to finish in the following sections so that you know what to expect at every step of the process.
The first step of the process will be to reach out to Vision Solar to request an estimate. A sales representative will need to come out to your property to assess your roof condition, look at shading and other factors that might affect production and take measurements.
At this point in the process, Vision Solar is known to be very responsive and professional. You’re likely to get a call from a representative within 24 hours and a scheduled property assessment within a week.
After the inspection, the design team will choose a panel brand and design a system specifically for your home. The choices, along with the total installation cost and an estimated timeline for the installation, will be included in your formal estimate.
Once you sign the contract, the representatives from Vision will begin pulling permits for your system. These are required by local building departments, and approvals can take some time.
Unfortunately, Vision’s customer service is known to decline after you sign the contract. You might experience long delays waiting for permits and little to no communication about other aspects of the installation.
Eventually, a rep will reach out to you to schedule the installation. On the day of the installation, the crew should arrive early in the morning and wrap up the installation within one to two days. Some homeowners have found significant delays on the part of Vision at this point in the process as well. Some customers even complain about partially installed systems sitting for weeks without providing any solar savings.
In any case, you should plan on being home for the entirety of the installation, as the technicians will need access to connect to your electric meter.
After the installation is completed, Vision will schedule inspections with your local building department and your utility company.
The building department will need to come out to sign off on the installations and close out your permits. This is another area where Vision can fall short of expectations. The company has been known to run into issues with sticking to building codes, which can cause building inspectors to fail the inspection.
Unfortunately, that means your system will sit until the company can return to fix the problem. Some customers have reported waiting close to an entire year with an installed but disconnected system. This is not only frustrating, but it eats into your savings and unnecessarily puts your roof at risk of leaking.
The reps from Vision will also need to schedule inspections with your utility provider, as they’ll need to sign off on the installation before your system can be connected and start producing power for your home.
Finally, once your system is on, you can make sure you’ve filed for any solar incentives that are available and begin monitoring your system. Most reputable companies will file for incentives for you, but Vision’s history of poor customer service suggests that you’ll be on your own for many incentives, especially the less obvious local perks.
You’ll also be responsible for keeping track of your system to make sure it continues to function as expected. Vision Solar should help you set up a solar monitoring app to help you keep track, although it’s possible your rep won’t spend the time to do this for you.
Most of the panel brands that Vision installs come with a 25-year equipment warranty and a 25-year performance warranty to guarantee a certain level of power production for the first 25 years of system operation.
The equipment warranty is in line with the industry average, and the production guarantee is a little longer than the average of 20 years.
Another standard coverage in the industry is a ten-year workmanship warranty, which ensures that the labor involved in installing your panels is professional and will be issue-free. Unfortunately, Vision Solar doesn’t offer a formal labor warranty. This is a significant downside in areas that see above-average rainfall and/or severe weather that can put rooftop solar panels at greater risk.
Vision Solar is a bare-bones solar installer, as it only installs photovoltaic (PV) panels. It doesn’t offer popular add-on products like solar batteries or EV chargers, let alone less common services like off-grid solar, solar water heaters, smart home systems and energy audits.
If you’re looking for add-on products like these from a company that services all of the areas that Vision Solar does, we recommend checking out our SunPower Solar review as well as our Tesla Solar review.
Vision Solar is headquartered in Blackwood, New Jersey, and it provides solar panel installation services throughout seven states. We’ll include a list of serviced states below:
Customer reviews are a great place to turn to get a sense of the customer service that an installation company truly provides. It’s one thing for a provider to provide below-average costs and high-quality equipment, but the best solar companies do those things while also meeting customer expectations.
Unfortunately, customer service and reputation are two areas where Vision Solar really falls short. The large majority of reviews are negative, and the issues presented in those reviews are pretty serious. We’ll break down the positive and negative Vision Solar reviews we read through in the following sections.
The positive Vision Solar reviews are few and far between, so we were able to read through all of them on Google Reviews and those filed with the BBB.
Customers who are pleased with the service they receive from Vision Solar note that the company is very quick to respond to inquiries and that the time it took from the initial call to the system activation was minimal.
Some customers state that the consultation takes quite a long time, but they also note that the salespeople they speak to are knowledgeable and take the time to educate consumers about the process. This sentiment isn’t ubiquitous in the reviews, though, and it’s directly contradicted in the countless negative reviews.
Most of the positive reviews also note that the customers didn’t have issues with the solar array after installation and didn’t need to call on any warranties.
Unfortunately, almost all of the Vision Solar reviews are negative. Of the 243 reviews on the BBB’s website at the time of writing, only 12 of them are three stars or higher, and most are just one star.
A lot of the negative reviews comment on the company’s aggressive sales tactics and misleading marketing practices. Some note that they receive multiple calls a day despite being on a “do not call” list, and others complain that the representatives misrepresent facts about the federal tax incentive and solar savings in an effort to make the sale.
These allegations are also substantiated in part by the filing of a class-action lawsuit by the attorney general against the company, which specifically references “predatory, high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations about financing and tax breaks, and unpermitted work that left homeowners saddled with nonfunctioning systems and unaffordable loans.”
Based on the overwhelmingly negative reviews from customers, we have no doubt that these claims will be further proven in court.
We should mention that companies in the solar industry are prone to negative reviews, but the reviews for Vision Solar are significantly worse than most other providers. This is one of the worst companies we’ve reviewed overall.
Overall, we can’t recommend Vision Solar to any homeowners. The company is affordable, but we don’t think the poor customer service and risk of being left with a partially installed system are worth the savings.
We would much sooner recommend companies like SunPower, ADT Solar or Blue Raven Solar as national companies, or Momentum Solar with its concierge service as a regional provider. All of these installers provide superior customer service to most of the areas Vision services. The table below includes a side-by-side look at how these three companies compare to Vision Solar.
|Vision Solar||SunPower||ADT Solar||Blue Raven Solar (BRS)||Momentum|
|Areas Served||7 states||50 states||30 states||21 states||11 states|
|Services Offered||Solar panel installation||Solar panel, battery and EV charger installations; solar monitoring||Solar panel and battery installation||Solar panel and battery installations; solar monitoring||Solar panel and battery installations|
|Payment Options||Cash, solar loans, leases and PPAs||Cash, solar loans, leases and PPAs||Cash and solar loans||Cash and solar loans||Cash, solar loans, leases and PPAs|
|Average Price ($-$$$$$)||$||$$$$||$$$||$$||$$$|
|Overall Star Rating (Click for our review)||3/5||5/5||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5|
Unfortunately, we aren’t comfortable recommending Vision Solar to any aspiring solar customers. The company has low pricing and a wealth of financing options, making it one of the more accessible companies to go solar with. However, it also has a long history of very poor customer service, is known to mislead customers and has minimal service offerings that won’t appeal to consumers looking for anything more than panels installed.
We strongly recommend checkout out our reviews on some of our top-rated companies. Just compare this review to our SunPower review, ADT Solar review or Blue Raven Solar review and you’ll see how other providers are far more likely to meet your needs.
You can also use the tool below to get multiple quotes at once from responsible and reputable installers in your area, which are far more likely to deliver a quality system and great customer service.
There are a lot of crucial elements we recommend you consider before you choose a solar contractor, and we use those same factors to review solar installers ourselves. Below, we’ll explain the six main categories we used to review Vision Solar. We’ll also include our weighting system so that you can see how impactful we think each criterion is to your overall experience.
Given the rapid company growth and popularity of Vision Solar, we get a lot of questions about the quality of the company’s work and whether or not it’s a good installer overall. We’ll answer some of the more common questions we see below.
The lawsuit against Vision Solar is a class-action lawsuit that alleges that the company has used aggressive and harassing marketing tactics, has misled customers regarding solar savings and tax incentives and left customers with expensive loans to pay without actually delivering the product they agreed to deliver. There has yet to be a resolution to the lawsuit, but the negative reviews seem to confirm that these practices were the norm for the company.
Unfortunately, there may not be a way out of your solar contract with Vision Solar if you’ve entered into one. You can try contacting customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone call at the customer service phone number: (877) 777-6527. It’s possible that you’re locked in and won’t be able to get out of it without taking legal action, as some other customers have decided to do.
There are numerous complaints against Vision Solar, but some of the most prominent ones include the use of high-pressure sales tactics, misleading marketing and overall poor customer service. Some customers have mentioned year-long delays in the installation process that has left them with no solar savings and additional solar loan bills to pay, which is one of the company’s most serious offenses.