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Frequently Asked Solar Questions

FAQ's answering questions related to solar panels, savings, and how solar works.

How Solar Works

Are Vivint Solar customers connected to the grid?

Yes. Vivint Solar uses “on-grid” systems, meaning that they are still connected to the electrical grid. On-grid solar energy systems are necessary to transfer excess power into the grid, which can result in a credit to customers in some states. On-grid systems also keep you connected to the grid for additional power from the utility.

What determines whether my home is a good candidate for solar?

We conduct an on-site survey to determine if your home is compatible for solar. Here are some examples of what we evaluate to make sure that solar is a good fit:

  • Roof size, pitch and direction
  • Shading of the roof caused by tree branches, other homes, etc.
  • Roof obstructions such as chimneys, pipes, etc.
  • Roof stability and strength
  • Electrical wiring

Will solar panels work in overcast climates?

Yes, but performance may be affected. Solar panels produce more energy when the sun is shining.

How long will it take to get the solar energy system turned on after installation?

Getting permission to operate a system and start generating energy largely depends on your local city and utility company. We will be able to give you a better idea of your operating timeline after your system installation.

What’s the difference between solar power and other forms of energy production?

Solar power is energy that comes from the sun, while many other forms of energy come from fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas). Both can be used to power your home, but they are generated differently. Energy from fossil fuels goes through multiple steps before reaching your home, including step-up transformers, transmission substations, and distribution substations. Solar power is collected by panels on your roof, then immediately converted into usable energy.

What is a home assessment?

A home assessment or solar assessment is a type of audit we perform on your home to ensure that it’s a good fit for solar.

On the day of the solar assessment, one of our solar professionals will stop by your home to inspect and measure your roof, check out your attic, and gather photo documentation to evaluate your electrical system.

How long does a home assessment take?

A home assessment typically takes about an hour to complete but can take up to three hours depending on things like the size of your home or the sales volume in your area.

Buying & Selling Homes

I'm thinking about selling my home. What do I need to know?

We’ve put together a guide which contains answers to commonly-asked questions from home sellers like you.

Home Seller Guide

We suggest giving it a quick read to familiarize yourself with the process of selling a home with a Vivint Solar system.

A few things to keep in mind:

If you signed a Power Purchase or Lease Agreement, simply contact us and be prepared to provide:

  • Home Buyer’s First and Last Name
  • Home Buyer’s Current Home Address
  • Home Buyer’s Email Address
  • Home Buyer’s Phone Number
  • The projected home closing date

To ensure that this goes as smoothly as possible, we ask that you send us the information at least two weeks prior to the home closing.

If you signed a Loan Agreement, just reach out to your loan provider and they can help you initiate the transfer.

You can also check out Buying and Selling Homes with Solar Panels for more information.

I'm thinking about buying a home with a Vivint Solar system. What do I need to know?

We've put together a guide which contains answers to commonly-asked questions from home buyers like you.

Home Buyer Guide

We suggest giving it a quick read to familiarize yourself with the process of buying a home with a Vivint Solar system. You can also check out Buying and Selling Homes with Solar Panels for more information.

Home Owners Associations (HOAs)

Does Vivint Solar install in communities with an HOA?

Yes, we often install solar panels in these communities by coordinating with the HOA. However, this is dependent on whether or not the particular HOA allows solar energy.

Product

Do the panels still operate when there are power outages?

No. In a power outage, our systems automatically shut off for the safety of the workers that repair the power lines.

Does Vivint Solar use microinverters or string inverters?

We use both.

How much does a solar panel weigh and how big are solar panels?

The average solar panel used in a Vivint Solar installation weighs 40 pounds and is 65 x 40 x 1.5 inches big.

Do the solar panels degrade over time?

Yes, slightly. Due to sun exposure, weather and other environmental factors, there’s a potential degradation rate of 2.5% the first year the panels are on your roof, and 0.7% per year during the rest of the 20 year term. Most of our panels degrade at a rate lower than this, but we guarantee that they won’t degrade more than the above amount.*

* Warranty refers to solar panels. Refer to your customer agreement for all warranty terms and conditions.

Will solar panels cause my roof to deteriorate?

No. Our solar panels are not attached directly to your roof, but rather to a racking system that has been wind, water, and fire tested to ensure no leaks or damage will occur. Additionally, shingles on your roof will often last longer under installed panels because they are less exposed to UV light.

How many watts per hour will a panel produce?

There are many factors that affect the production of a solar panel (location, orientation, tilt, weather, season, shade, etc.). Solar panels produce varying amounts of energy through the day. In the mornings and evenings, when the sun is low in the sky, solar panels will generate less power than in the afternoon when they are receiving direct sun exposure.

What is the warranty on the solar energy system and how long will it last?

Our warranty guarantees our work will be free from material defects for 10 years, the system's solar panels carry a 25-year linear performance warranty, and inverters carry minimum 10-year manufacturers' warranties.

What happens to the solar panels at the end of the contract?

You have a few options once your contract is up. If you are a Solar PPA or Solar Lease customer, you can renew your contract for an additional five years, purchase the solar system for fair market value, or request that the system be removed (at no additional cost). If you are a Solar Loan or Solar Purchase customer, your contract with Vivint Solar ends when the system is installed and operational.

What’s the difference between a PPA (power purchase agreement) and lease?

Solar PPA customers pay for all of the energy a system produces, regardless of their individual usage. Solar Lease customers pay a fixed payment based on the expected annual output of the solar energy system.

Savings

Aren't Solar Panels Expensive?

Not necessarily. At Vivint Solar, we install the solar panels at little to no upfront cost, and our Solar PPA customers typically buy electricity from us at a lower rate* than their utilities. We also sell systems at competitive prices, and have relationships that can help you finance the purchase.

How much money can I save by going Solar?**

Three factors affect whether you will save with a Solar PPA or Solar Lease:

  1. How many panels your home will qualify for
  2. How much electricity your household uses
  3. Your current utility rate

When you purchase a system of your own, other factors affect your potential savings. We can help you evaluate those factors after we conduct a site survey at your home.

* $0 due upon contract signing, for qualified customers subject to service availability.

** Savings on the total electricity costs is not guaranteed.

What happens with my system when I go on vacation?

With a Solar PPA, you will still pay for the energy that the system produces. If you choose to go with a Solar Lease or Solar Loan, you will pay the regular monthly payment.

Do I receive a credit for my extra energy production?

Depending on the net metering laws and utility provider in your state, excess energy generated may roll over as a credit toward the next month’s bill (credited on an annual basis), or paid to customers as a refund.

Copyright © 2021 Vivint Solar Developer, LLC. All rights reserved. Vivint Solar Developer, LLC (EIN: 80‐0756438) is a licensed contractor in each state in which we operate. For information about our contractor licenses, please visit vivintsolar.com/licenses.