Vivint Solar Review (2023 Cost, Panels & More)
In this EcoWatch review guide on Vivint Solar, you’ll learn:
- Whether Vivint is a legit solar company
- What products and services Vivint Solar offers
- What former customers have to say about Vivint Solar
- If there are any lawsuits again Vivint Solar
This guide has helped thousands of homeowners save time and money when going solar by providing an unbiased review of one of the nation’s more controversial solar providers.
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.
Vivint Solar is one of the most well-known company names in the solar industry. The provider has been around since 2011, and in that time, it has seen faster growth than most competitors, and it has established a nationwide presence. Unfortunately, the company’s growth is, in part, due to aggressive and sometimes misleading marketing tactics that have led to countless customer complaints and even a few class-action lawsuits.
In this article, we’ll be discussing Vivint Solar’s overall quality, value, installation process and more. Since we generally don’t recommend Vivint for most aspiring solar customers, we’ll also include some alternative providers that we believe provide far superior quality.
Our Take on Vivint Solar
While Vivint undoubtedly helped popularize solar, there’s some evidence to suggest that it did more harm than good. It has led to many customers mistrusting the industry or losing faith in solar as a worthwhile renewable energy source altogether.
Its lack of customer service and misleading marketing ultimately lead us to refrain from recommending Vivint or its parent company, SunRun, altogether. It’s still a decent option if you know you want a solar lease, which the company prioritizes, but since we don’t recommend leases, we’d suggest choosing a different provider altogether.
What We Like About Vivint
One of the upsides of Vivint and its parent company, SunRun, is that they make solar super accessible to a wide range of customers. Although the solar leases they push on customers aren’t as beneficial as other options, they require no down payment and often no credit check and they provide instant energy savings in most cases. This means just about anyone should be able to adopt clean energy using Vivint.
Vivint also adopted a virtual consultation model early on, which made it easier for potential solar customers to get information about the solar energy system they would need for their homes.
The company offers a nice range of products and services, unlike some companies that stick to a single panel brand or install panels only. It also installs two kinds of solar batteries for backup power during blackouts.
Vivint’s warranties are all in line with the solar industry standards, which is good news for customers looking for some protection for their panels and the workmanship.
What We Don’t Like About Vivint Solar
While there are plenty of upsides to working with Vivint, we feel that the drawbacks far outweigh them.
The class-action lawsuits for misleading and aggressive marketing tactics are, in our opinion, the company’s greatest offenses. Its sales representatives have been known to advertise “free solar panels,” which really was a marketing tactic to enter customers into a lengthy lease agreement. Not only were those agreements not nearly as beneficial as a cash purchase or loan, but they also included massive early cancellation fees and complicated the sale of the home in many cases.
The company also has a reputation for not upholding its warranty coverage, which is a major downside to any solar company. Vivint has thousands of complaints from customers on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, many of which claim that the company failed to respond to or rectify warranty claims. Having industry-standard warranties is great, but if the company doesn’t honor them, then they’re worthless and disturb your peace of mind.
Vivint Solar Panels
Vivint doesn’t have an exclusive partnership with any specific panel manufacturer, although it appears to stick mostly to panels from Hyundai and LONGi. Hyundai is considered a budget brand, which is partially why Vivint is able to keep installation costs below average. LONGi solar panels boast a much higher efficiency.
Budget solar panel brands can be great for minimizing upfront costs, but they’re not ideal if you’re looking to maximize power production or install solar on a small roof space. Hyundai panels come with a maximum of 20.5%, and LONGi panels 21.3%. These both pale in comparison to companies like Maxeon and Panasonic, though.
It’s worth noting that Vivint may use other panel brands as well, especially as it continues to adopt SunRun’s business model. SunRun uses panels from REC, Panasonic and Canadian Solar, so it’s possible that Vivint will begin using those higher-quality brands more often in the future.
The table below includes some important specifications for both Vivint panel brands.
|Cost per Watt (estimate for installed panels)
|Cost per Panel (installed)
|Monocrystalline solar panels only
|$810 to $1,107
|300W to 410W
|17.3% to 20.5%
|Monocrystalline solar panels only
|$1,104 to $1,320
|460W to 550W
|21.2% to 21.3%
Does Vivint Solar Offer Any Other Solar Products?
In addition to the two main solar panel brands, Vivint also installs two kinds of solar batteries to provide backup power, and it offers free solar monitoring apps and smart home technologies along with the inverters and microinverters it installs from Enphase and SolarEdge.
It’s unclear if the company provides any discounts for coupling solar equipment, although the already low installation price Vivint offers would suggest that further discounts might not be reasonable.
We’ll discuss each of these additional products and services VIvint installs and offers in the following sections.
Tesla Solar Batteries
One of the solar storage solutions Vivint offers to customers is the Tesla Powerwall, which is the most sought-after battery in the industry.
The Powerwall+ has an above-average capacity of 13.5 kilowatts (kW). The battery can be set in a series containing up to ten Powerwalls, which means you can bank power to maintain electricity for days or even weeks during a power outage or emergency. It also boasts a high continuous power rating of 5.8 kW, so you can provide power to most things in your home at once without any interruptions or damage to the battery.
The Powerwall comes with its own monitoring software—the Tesla app—which provides real-time consumption and production information. It also lets you dial in your battery usage to maximize savings or your stored energy for a power outage.
LG Solar Batteries
Vivint also installs LG Chem RESU batteries, which are more affordable than Powerwalls—about $7,000 each as opposed to $10,500—but come with a lower storage capacity of 9.8 kW.
These batteries have one of the highest round-trip efficiencies in the industry at 94.5%. This translates to faster charging times and less solar electricity lost in the transition from your panels to your batteries.
Watch Below: Learn how solar batteries and net metering can help you to reduce your energy bills even further.
Enphase Inverters and Solar Monitoring Apps
Enphase inverters and microinverters are some of the most reliable and popular in the industry, so it’s no surprise that Vivint uses them. The inverters come with the Enphase monitoring app, which gives you real-time information about every portion of your system.
You can track production, energy consumption and battery storage levels using the Enphase app, as well as data about how your system should be performing to help identify potential issues with your panels.
SolarEdge Inverters and Smart Home Connectivity
SolarEdge is another popular brand for solar inverters, not only because they’re reliable but also because they have additional functionality when combined with smart home devices.
With a complete smart home setup from SolarEdge, you can monitor consumption, production and storage, provide power to specific devices or appliances in your home to conserve energy and control when and how power is distributed from a solar battery to your home to maximize the time you can spend off-grid.
SolarEdge inverters also have the unique ability to communicate with other inverters from the company to reduce the overall strain on the electric grid. Ultimately, this technology could help reduce carbon emissions even for solar-connected homes that fail to produce enough power to offset consumption.
How Much Does Vivint Cost?
The typical solar array—sized at the average of 9 kW—from Vivint is expected to cost between $21,600 and $23,400. These numbers are based on average system sizes and installation costs for the solar panel brands Vivint carries. These prices fall below the industry average of $23,940 for a similarly-sized system, meaning Vivint is below average when it comes to cost.
We should note that the only way to get an accurate estimate for what your system from Vivint will cost is to contact the company to have a property assessment done. Getting a formal solar estimate is required for an accurate price because there are a bunch of factors that can affect your total installation cost.
Vivint Financing Options
Vivint accepts all of the major solar purchase options, including cash payments, solar loans, solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). We’ll briefly explain what each of these options means below.
- Cash purchase: Paying for your system in cash means you’re on the hook for the entire cost upfront. It’s absolutely the least accessible option, but it also is the most beneficial because it yields the fastest panel payback period and the highest savings over time.
- Solar loan: A solar equipment loan is far more accessible, but it does require a down payment in many cases and a credit check, so you may not be eligible for this option. A loan won’t save as much as paying in cash, but it’s a better option than a lease or power purchase agreement.
- Solar lease: In a lease agreement, you pay a fixed rental fee per month for your panels, and your savings come from being able to use the energy they generate to offset your electric bills. Leases are often structured so that your monthly expenditure after going solar is lower than before.
- Solar PPA: With a PPA, you get panels installed at no upfront cost, but you agree to buy the solar energy they produce at a fixed rate for the term of the agreement. These typically save the least amount of money over time.
For years, Vivint has prioritized leases, in part by making them seem more appealing than they really are. Misleading customers by advertising leases as free solar installations has caught up with the company in the form of poor reviews and complaints from customers.
If you can swing a cash purchase, we recommend this option. If not, a loan should be your next option. We’d recommend staying away from leases and PPAs unless these are really the only options that are realistic.
How Can You Save Money with Vivint?
If you do decide that Vivint is the right company for your solar project, then there are a few things you can do to keep upfront and long-term costs down. We’ll list a few tips below.
Consider Installing a Solar Battery
One counterintuitive way you can potentially save money when going solar with Vivint is considering a solar battery. Installing a solar storage system alongside your panels will drive up your initial costs but it could end up saving you money over time.
If you live in a state that doesn’t provide access to net metering, or your utility company uses time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates, then a Powerwall or LG Chem battery from Vivint might be a good option for you.
Without net energy metering, you’ll still pay for energy you pull from the grid at night or on cloudy days when your production is limited or non-existent. If you have a battery installed, you can instead rely on any excess solar production you have stored, which costs nothing. This access to effective net metering could save you thousands on energy costs over time.
Similarly, you can use free stored energy during times of high electricity prices if your utility provider uses a TOU billing structure. That way, you only pay for energy when it’s at its cheapest and rely on your stored power when prices go up. Again, this could save you thousands over the life of your solar array.
Choose Your Panel Brand Carefully
As mentioned previously, Vivint primarily installs panels from Hyundai and LONGi. Hyundai panels are around $0.20 cheaper per watt—which translates to around $1,800 less for a full 9 kW system—so they seem like the obvious choice. However, they also have an efficiency rating that’s 2% to 4% lower.
A lower efficiency rating means your panels will generate less electricity in all conditions, which will translate to lower savings in the long run. We recommend you consider both options carefully if you do move forward with Vivint, as the lower-efficiency option might save you money upfront but could end up costing you more over time.
Take All the Solar Incentives You Can
Solar tax credits, rebates and other perks are available from the federal government, and there might be other options from your state government or local utility company. Tax credits and rebates are a great way to reduce the effective cost of your solar project and, in some cases, to boost your long-term savings. You can check the database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency (DSIRE) for specific benefits that might be available in your area.
Unfortunately, Vivint Solar isn’t a particularly reputable or reliable company, and its size often gets in the way of good customer service. You may find that it doesn’t provide the same help or guidance that other companies would in taking advantage of solar perks. If you do go solar with Vivint, we suggest you stay on top of the representatives to ensure you’re getting access to all of the perks available to you.
Vivint Solar Installation Process
The steps in the process of going solar with Vivint are similar to what you would expect with any other provider, but there are a few areas where Vivint’s process and timelines vary. Specifically, many customers have noted that Vivint has caused major delays in certain parts of the process, sometimes leaving projects partially finished for weeks or even months. We should also note that many customers complain that the company provides minimal communication throughout the preparation and installation.
We’ll detail the process from start to finish in the following sections.
Step 1: Consultation and Property Assessment
The first step in any solar assessment will be a consultation and, ideally, an in-person property inspection and assessment. Vivint was an early adopter of the virtual consultation process, which it still uses. This means scheduling the initial call with a Vivint sales rep should be simple, and multiple time slots that work for you will likely be available. You can get started at www.vivintsolar.com.
Some companies, including Vivint, in some cases, only perform a “virtual inspection” of your home using satellite imaging. This is convenient because you don’t need to be home, but it’s unreliable in many cases. We recommend choosing a different company if your rep offers a virtual-only property assessment.
Step 2: Solar Proposal
After the initial assessment is done and a system is designed to fit your roof and meet your energy needs, you’ll receive a formal proposal. That estimate will include your total system cost, estimated lifetime savings and more. Vivint is known to be quite hands-on before any contracts are signed, so the likelihood is that a rep will reach out to discuss the details of the proposal.
If you end up signing the contract, your project will move to the permitting stage.
Step 3: Permitting and Installation Scheduling
Permits will need to be submitted and approved for your solar project before any work can commence. Provided Vivint files the permits, the actual wait time for approval should be a few days to a few weeks.
Unfortunately, many of the customer complaints online note that Vivint loses interest in projects once the contract is signed, so you could experience delays on the part of Vivint at this point.
Once permits are approved, though, your rep will schedule your installation.
Step 4: Installation
On the day of installation, you’ll need to be home all day to provide access as needed to your property. Your installation team will need to connect your system to your electric meter and might need interior access for mounting or running wiring.
The actual installation is another part of the process where Vivint gets a lot of customer complaints. Some customers have mentioned that the company will show up to install a portion of the system but then wait weeks in some cases to finish the job.
Step 5: Inspections and Connection
After the installation is completed, you’ll usually need two inspections: one from your utility provider and one from your local building department to close out permits. Vivint will be responsible for scheduling these.
When the necessary inspections are done, your system should be turned on, at which point it will be providing power to your home. It’s often somewhere around this time that the majority of the delays occur for customers who have complained. Many people note that their system sits installed but not connected for months in some cases, which can be frustrating, not to mention it delays your potential energy savings.
Step 6: Solar Monitoring, Incentives and Warranty Coverage
After the installation and connection to the grid are completed, you’ll be on your own to monitor your system and make sure it’s working properly. As mentioned above, the inverters that Vivint installs come with free monitoring software to make this process easier.
At this point, you’ll want to continue to reach out to Vivint to ensure your rep files for all incentives available in your area. The company has a reputation for not staying on top of applications and approvals, so you will need to take it upon yourself to push things forward.
Another common complaint from customers of Vivint is that warranty claims take a long time to respond to or get no response at all. If you do have an issue with your system, it could be quite some time before you see any resolution. These kinds of delays can be costly, as you’ll still be paying for your system but won’t have the energy savings you should from converting to solar energy.
Vivint provides three types of solar panel warranty coverage, all of which is in line with industry standards. These include the following:
- A 25-year warranty for the equipment
- A 25-year performance warranty
- A 10-year workmanship warranty
The equipment warranty is provided by the panel manufacturer, and it covers things like manufacturer defects. The average lifespan of a solar panel is around 25 years, so this covers any issues that pop up over the expected life of your solar array.
It should be noted that many panels last even longer—sometimes in excess of 30 years. Since most panels pay for themselves in around 12 years, you should have no shortage of life to see them pay for themselves and provide substantial savings thereafter.
A performance warranty guarantees that your panels won’t lose more than a certain percentage of their original efficiency over the warranty term. Vivint’s 25-year warranty helps ensure that your panels continue performing and saving you money for more than two decades.
The workmanship warranty for ten years is also standard and covers issues that arise as a result of errors during the installation process. Like most solar contractors, Vivint doesn’t cover roof leaks in this warranty.
We would be remiss if we didn’t reiterate that Vivint has a poor reputation when it comes to responses to warranty claims. Some customers note in online reviews that their systems have gone weeks or months without any service from Vivint, even when the issue should have been covered.
Warranties should provide peace of mind that your multi-thousand dollar investment is protected, but Vivint’s reputation doesn’t offer that to most customers.
Does Vivint Offer Any Other Services?
As far as solar power systems go, Vivint only installs panels and solar batteries. It doesn’t offer EV chargers like many other companies do. If you’re looking for a solar array combined with EV charging capabilities, we recommend checking out our SunPower Solar review or our ADT Solar review for a look at top-rated companies that can install EV chargers.
Vivint also doesn’t install solar roofs, although this is common in the industry. Tesla is one of the only providers that carries solar roof shingles.
Vivint has expanded outside of the solar space, though, and it now offers home security services, cameras for home monitoring and smart home systems. In our opinion, the smart home systems—including smart thermostats, smart lighting and remote home control—are a great addition to a solar panel system. They can help improve your home’s energy efficiency and save you additional money on your utility bills.
Where Is Vivint Solar Available?
Vivint is headquartered on Ashton Blvd in Lehi, Utah, and has locations in all 50 states in the U.S., but it only provides solar services in 22 of them. It provides security and other services to the other states. Below is a list of all of the states in which Vivint can install solar equipment:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Vivint Customer Reviews
The large majority of Vivint’s online reviews are overwhelmingly negative. There are some good reviews posted, so it seems as though some customers get what they expect from the company. However, most of the feedback about the company and its services is not positive. We’ll explain some of the specifics shared by customers in the following sections.
Positive Reviews of Vivint Solar
The good reviews for Vivint mention things like a streamlined consultation and installation process, energy savings in line with expectations and the knowledgeability of the salespeople and technicians.
Some of the reviews mention Vivint going above and beyond. The company has evidently brought production issues to light before homeowners even realize them, and in some cases, the communication from the reps seems to be outstanding.
Overall, though, Vivint has far fewer positive reviews than companies that are known for good customer support and get a lot of business through referrals, like SunPower and Blue Raven Solar.
Negative Reviews of Vivint Solar
One of the most common issues mentioned in Vivint’s negative reviews is the frequency of delays that are often caused by Vivint throughout the conversion process. Some customers report getting partially-installed equipment, others mention that the connection to the grid and solar system activation take weeks or months for seemingly no reason. Some reviews even mention that the homeowner has called the building department for an update and is told that the delay is coming solely from Vivint.
Another common problem mentioned in reviews is a misrepresentation of the benefits of solar on the part of Vivint, which is a known issue and the reason the company has faced at least one class-action lawsuit. Customers complain that they were promised specific savings or even free solar panels and either ended up paying more per month after the installation or got unknowingly locked into a lease agreement with steep cancellation fees.
The third and possibly the most egregious issue mentioned in Vivint reviews is a lack of a response to warranty claims. Solar warranties are supposed to keep customers protected from unforeseen problems, but many homeowners online complain that Vivint takes no action in response to claims, even when the issue is mentioned explicitly in the warranty documentation.
Overall, the negatives far outweigh the positives, in our opinion. We strongly recommend choosing a different installer that has a better reputation for honesty, transparency and quality customer service.
Vivint vs Other Solar Providers
Compared to most other solar companies, we feel that Vivint falls short in too many areas to recommend its services. The pricing is below average, and the fact that Vivint accepts all payment options helps to keep solar accessible.
However, we would strongly recommend opting for another low-cost installer that provides superior customer service, like Blue Raven Solar, or paying more for a high-quality, reliable company, like SunPower. Given the number of negative reviews of past Vivint customers, it seems as though most homeowners who have gone with Vivint wish they had opted for a more trustworthy provider too.
The table below includes a look at how Vivint compares to some other companies in the industry, including SunRun, Vivint’s parent company.
|Blue Raven Solar
|20 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
|Solar panel and battery installations; solar monitoring; energy efficiency upgrades
|Solar panel, battery and EV charger installations; solar monitoring
|Solar panel, battery and EV charger installations; solar monitoring
|Solar panel and battery installations; solar monitoring
|Solar panel, battery, EV charger and solar roofing installations; solar monitoring
|Cash, loans, leases and PPAs
|Cash, loans, leases and PPAs
|Cash, loans, leases and PPAs
|Cash and equipment loans
|Cash, loans, leases and PPAs
|Average Price ($-$$$$$)
|Overall Star Rating (Click for our review)
Given Vivint’s track record for poor customer service, misleading marketing tactics, class-action lawsuits and lack of response to customer warranty claims, we can’t recommend this provider in good conscience. Its pricing and payment options are desirable, but we feel that the negatives far outweigh any positives.
If you do move forward with Vivint, you’re opening yourself up to unnecessary delays in the conversion process, a lack of communication from the company’s representatives and the potential for system issues that go without resolution for weeks or months, as they have for other customers.
We recommend getting quotes from some of our top-rated solar installers instead, which you can do by entering in your zip code below.
Methodology: How We Reviewed Vivint Solar
When we review a solar installation company, we look at every aspect we believe makes a difference in your overall experience and satisfaction, as well as the company’s impact on and comparison to the industry as a whole. We’ll discuss some of the most important things we considered when completing our review of Vivint Solar below.
- Reputation (20%): A company’s reputation in the solar industry is a huge deal, and, in large part, it tells you the kind of service you can expect throughout the installation process. Vivint has helped the industry expand and gain popularity, but it has developed a reputation for poor customer service, slow response times and misleading marketing in that time as well. The majority of reviews on sites like BBB, Google Reviews and TrustPilot for Vivint are negative, which is telling. We also look at things like certifications and licenses to ensure a provider is reliable.
- Cost and financing (20%): A company with outstanding products and customer service won’t have as much of a positive impact on the industry if it’s not affordable and accessible. As such, we ranked Vivint among other providers based on the average installation price and the payment options available. Vivint is below average in price and accepts all major financing options, so it scores quite high in this category.
- Services (20%): We rank companies higher if they provide an impressive range of products and services to customers above and beyond solar panel installations. Vivint tackles panel and battery installations as well as energy efficiency upgrades and solar monitoring, which is more than most providers. Outside of the solar space, it also provides home security and smart home connectivity.
- Installation process (20%): Having a quick and painless installation process improves your entire experience with going solar, and expediency at this stage can mean faster access to solar savings. Vivint is known for complicating the installation process and causing massive delays, sometimes on the order of months. To make matters worse, Vivint is also known to be incommunicative throughout the process, which leads to frustration for many customers.
- Customer experience (10%): Any time we review a solar provider, we read through dozens of customer reviews to see what other people have experienced. A company’s marketing, pricing and availability might be ideal, but if it can’t provide a good customer experience, then we tend not to recommend it. The customer experience you can expect from Vivint is worse than just about every other solar company we’ve reviewed. The company has received thousands of complaints and negative comments, indicating that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
- Availability (10%): Finally, we consider how available the provider is across the U.S. Vivint services 22 states, making it one of the largest providers in the country. However, it pales in comparison to providers like Tesla and SunPower, which serve all 50 states.
FAQs: Vivint Solar Reviews
In the following sections, we’ll provide answers to some of the questions we see most often about Vivint and the products and services it offers.
There are a few reasons your bill with Vivint could be higher than expected. First, we recommend looking at your actual consumption and checking to see if it’s higher than in previous months.
Second, you should check your solar monitoring app to see your solar production. If your system generated less energy than it normally does, you might see a larger bill, as your reduced production offset less than normal.
Unfortunately, your unexpectedly high energy bills could be a result of misinformation on the part of Vivint. The company has faced several class-action lawsuits, at least one of which was for misleading marketing and advertising. Vivint has been known to pitch campaigns like “free solar panels” or specific solar savings that turn out to be false or riddled with incomplete information. If your bill is higher than you expect and you signed a lease or power purchase agreement with Vivint, misleading information from the company could be the reason for the higher-than-expected monthly cost.
Yes, Vivint is currently facing several lawsuits and has faced numerous lawsuits in the past, several of which were class-action cases.
Three of the most recent lawsuits are against Vivint for its home monitoring systems, which plaintiffs in the cases have noted have been misleadingly advertised to draw business and customers away from competitors. The plaintiffs include ADT, CPI and Alert 360. Another lawsuit related to the company’s security system involved credit fraud.
Several other class-action lawsuits involved claims of deception, false advertising and fraud in Vivint’s aggressive door-to-door sales tactics and unwanted phone calls, so it seems clear that the company hasn’t learned from past mistakes.
Vivint Solar was purchased by SunRun in 2020. Vivint still operates under its own name and seems to have a business plan that is distinct from that of SunRun. It’s unclear if the companies will fully merge at some point or remain separate.
SunRun purchased Vivint Solar in 2020, but both operate separately. SunRun is technically the parent company of Vivint Solar.