Project Solar Review: Save Thousands With This Solar Startup

Project Solar: DIY Solar Startup

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Our Take
4.0
WattHive rating
4/5
The final say:

DIY solar startup cuts out middle man, saving homeowners thousands on solar costs.

Project solar: saving homeowners thousands by cutting out the middle man
Founded
March 2020
Headquarters
Orem, UT
Services
DIY solar, full service installations, solar ownership, battery storage
*directly from Project Solar
  • CEO and Founder: Trevor Hiltbrand
  • 74 employees
  • Solar startup utilizing AI 
  • Estimated annual revenue <$5M
  • Funded $23M series a financing led by Left Lane Capital
  • 30% month over month growth since 2020
  • 1,000 installs per month projected by end of 2022 (unclear if goal met)

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
25 year micro inverter warrantyFull service installs only available in 9 states
25 year warranty on most panelsSome states and/or jurisdictions don't allow DIY solar
10 year workmanship warrantyNot accredited with BBB
Up to 50% less than competitorsInstall permits and planning assistance may vary
DIY or Full Service InstallNo PPA's or leases
Black-on-black panels
IronRidge solar racking
Funny marketing
No solar sales reps
Positive customer reviews
Great value for money

Project Solar Overview

Project Solar is a solar company that offers customers high-quality products, value, and services. This dynamic company aims to revolutionize the renewable energy industry by providing solar solutions at affordable prices. By streamlining processes and eliminating unnecessary costs, Project Solar aims to make solar energy accessible to a broader range of consumers.

The company’s founder, Trevor Hiltbrand, has a strong vision for transforming the solar market. Recognizing the inefficiencies of traditional door-to-door sales models, he took a different approach. Project Solar has made significant strides in automating sales, reducing its reliance on high-commission salespeople. This approach has allowed them to offer solar solutions at significantly lower prices than many competitors.

With various products, such as solar panels from Q-CELLS, Canadian Solar, and VSUN, plus inverters from Enphase IQ8, Project Solar ensures that customers receive the best equipment for their solar needs. Additionally, they offer Enphase IQ Batteries and Project Solar Power Bank batteries, providing reliable energy storage for homeowners.

Besides offering residential solar solutions, Project Solar also assists customers in navigating the process of obtaining permits and planning for their solar installations. Their business model combines elements of DIY approaches, empowering customers to create greener homes and save on energy costs.

Regarding customer satisfaction, Project Solar has received tons of positive reviews. Many customers have praised their excellent customer service and value for money. With a workmanship warranty of 10 years and equipment warranties available, Project Solar aims to instill confidence in customers, demonstrating their commitment to quality and lasting solar solutions.

Overall, Project Solar’s innovative approach to the solar industry, coupled with Trevor Hiltbrand’s vision, has the potential to disrupt the market and make renewable energy more accessible to a broader audience.

Products and Services

Project Solar offers a range of solar products and services designed to meet the needs of various customers. These include high-quality solar panels, efficient microinverters, and durable Iron Ridge racking systems.

Solar Panels

Project Solar provides reliable and efficient solar panels from well-known manufacturers like Q-CELLS and Canadian Solar. These panels are designed to maximize energy production, resulting in better savings and reduced dependence on traditional energy sources. The company focuses on sourcing high-quality solar panels with excellent performance and aesthetic appeal, ensuring customers have a visually appealing energy solution that doesn’t compromise functionality.

Micro Inverters

In addition to solar panels, Project Solar also offers Enphase microinverters, known for their efficiency and reliability. Micro-inverters convert the direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC) usable by appliances and the grid. Enphase microinverters provide several advantages over traditional central inverters, such as improved efficiency, better solar production monitoring, and easier expandability, making them an excellent choice for investing in solar energy.

Iron Ridge Racking

Project Solar uses Iron Ridge racking systems to mount solar panels on customers’ roofs securely. These racking systems are designed to be durable, long-lasting, and compatible with various roof types, ensuring the solar installation is safe and stable. Iron Ridge racking systems are also known for their ease of installation, which can help reduce overall installation time and costs. This choice demonstrates Project Solar’s commitment to providing high-quality solar installations for its customers.

Solar System Installation

DIY Solar Installation

One of the options available for solar system installation is taking the DIY install route. With Project Solar, customers have the necessary equipment, guidance, and support throughout installation. The DIY solar project allows homeowners and install themselves to save on costs while better understanding their solar energy system.

Before starting, getting the required permits, and following the permitting process, which Project Solar’s engineering team can assist with while working on the installation, it’s crucial to ensure the roof can support the solar panels and that the electrical panel is adequate for the system.

Professional Installation

Alternatively, customers can choose to have a professional installation done by experienced installers. In this case, Project Solar handles the entire process, including permitting, installation, and any necessary inspections. The benefits of a professional installation include having a dedicated team of experts who ensure quality workmanship and timely project completion.

When done professionally, a complete installation can give homeowners peace of mind knowing their solar system is correctly and securely installed on their roof, regardless of the type, including tile roofs. The professional installation option is recommended for those who may not have the time, expertise, or confidence to take on a DIY solar project themselves.

Pricing and Savings

System Price

Project Solar offers transparent pricing and also connect its customers to third party solar financing companies to purchase its solar panel systems. The total cost of a solar panel installation and system can range from $15,000 to $25,000 depending on various factors, such as location, system size, and type of panels used. Monocrystalline solar panels, the most energy-efficient option, cost about $1 to $1.50 per watt. This makes the cost for a 6kW solar panel system at Project Solar in the range of $6,000 – $9,000 for the panels alone. Additional expenses, such as inverter, mounting hardware, and installation, are also factored in to provide a total system price.

Incentives and Tax Credits

Project Solar’s customers can benefit from various incentives and tax credits available to help lower overall costs. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), allows customers to claim a percentage of the total solar installation costs on their federal taxes. State incentives and local utility rebates may also be available depending on the customer’s location. These incentives can significantly reduce the net cost of a solar panel system, making it more affordable and financially attractive to homeowners.

ROI and Payback Period

The return on investment (ROI) and payback period for a solar panel system from Project Solar largely depend on the homeowner’s electricity usage, cost of electricity, and available incentives. Considering the average cost of electricity, solar systems can save homeowners a significant amount of money on their utility bills, contributing to a higher ROI. Payback periods for solar installations typically range from 5 to 10 years, depending on the system size, installation cost, and rewards from state and federal incentives.

Overall, Project Solar’s transparent pricing, the incentives available, and the potential savings on utility bills make their solar panel systems an attractive investment for homeowners looking to switch to renewable energy.

Service Areas

Full install services are available in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. Nevertheless, it’s essential to understand that Full Install availability doesn’t necessarily encompass the entire state.

Certain areas within these states may fall outside the installer range, and additional travel costs may apply for Full Install services. States not mentioned do not have full install services available.

Regrettably, Project Solar does not provide services in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington DC, or US Territories. Additionally, New York State or Wisconsin projects have yet to be facilitated. However, they are constantly looking to expand future service areas.

Customer Experience

Sales and Quoting Process

Project Solar offers a unique sales and quoting process that caters to DIY enthusiasts and those looking for a complete installation service. Customers have shared their experiences with the company on Reddit and BestCompany. Most customers have praised Project Solar’s excellent customer service during the sales and quoting process.

Communication and Support

Good communication and support are vital for a positive customer experience, especially in the solar industry. According to multiple reviews, Project Solar’s team is reachable through phone calls and online channels. However, some customers have mentioned the company taking a while to get back to them, leading to minor frustrations. Despite occasional delays, the customers felt their concerns and issues were ultimately addressed and resolved, demonstrating the company’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction.

In instances where mistakes occurred during the installation process, Project Solar took responsibility. It replaced the damaged components, as mentioned in one testimonial. This problem-solving approach is essential in building trust and maintaining solid customer relationships.

Positive and negative reviews provide valuable insight into areas where Project Solar excels and where there may be room for improvement. Acknowledging and addressing these concerns is crucial for any business, and it is evident from customer satisfaction that Project Solar is committed to enhancing the customer experience in every aspect.

Reviews and Reputation

While Project Solar holds a reputation in the solar industry, its services have been scrutinized by customers, with reviews and feedback available on multiple platforms.

Positive Feedback

A significant number of customers have shared their positive experiences with Project Solar. They have received over 80 verified reviews on BestCompany; approximately 79% are 4- or 5-star ratings. Many customers praise Project Solar for their excellent customer service. Customers have also shared their experiences on Reddit, highlighting Project Solar’s compelling business model and efficient planning process for DIY solar projects.

Negative Feedback

Although Project Solar has received positive feedback, approximately 15% of the project solar reviews on BestCompany consist of 1- or 2-star ratings. Common complaints include poor communication between the customer and the company.

Project Solar Comparisons

Project Solar has made a name for itself in the solar industry, offering competitive prices and excellent customer service. In this section, we will compare Project Solar with other competing solar companies and examine where it stands in the market.

Competing Solar Companies

Several competitors in the solar industry stand toe-to-toe with Project Solar, vying for the title of the fastest-growing solar company. Some of these competitors include Sunrun, Tesla, and Vivint Solar. To better understand how Project Solar compares to these other solar companies, we’ll look at factors like pricing, customer service, installation, and industry reputation into consideration.

Pricing: Project Solar is known for offering competitive pricing to its customers. According to Forbes, customers can expect savings ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 on their solar installation compared to national rates of $3.50 per watt.

Customer Service: The company maintains a predominantly positive customer review profile with an overall score of 7.6 out of 10. A notable 79% of customers on BestCompany.com have left positive 4- to 5-star reviews, praising Project Solar for its excellent customer service.

Installation: As a partially DIY solar company, Project Solar handles the initial design, permitting, and planning aspects of the installation process while the customers take care of the actual mounting. While this unique business model may be a challenging fit for some, it suits those looking for a more hands-on and cost-effective approach to solar panel installation.

Industry Reputation: Although Project Solar may not be as well-known as Tesla or Sunrun, it has been making waves with its innovative business approach. The company leverages emerging technologies and prefers cutting out the middleman, which allows for a more affordable and seamless solar panel installation experience.

Project Solar Customer Map

Project Solar has seen significant growth in its customer base in recent years, thanks in part to its commitment to providing an accessible and affordable service. Customers from various regions have praised Project Solar for its transparent pricing and dedication to renewable energy. The company’s customer map showcases the wide range of people who have chosen Project Solar to power their homes with clean energy, further highlighting its growing market share.

Warranty and Quality

Project Solar ensures customers’ satisfaction when buying solar by offering equipment and workmanship warranties. This demonstrates their confidence in the quality of their solar equipment and the reliability of the installation process.

Equipment Warranty

The solar panels provided by Project Solar come with a warranty that guarantees their long-term performance. Panels from reputable manufacturers like Q-CELLS, Canadian Solar, and VSUN are built to withstand harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat, cold, wind, and snow. These high-quality components help ensure a reliable source of renewable energy for customers.

Additionally, Project Solar offers a warranty for their inverters, which are essential components of a solar power system responsible for converting the energy harnessed by solar panels into usable electricity for homes and businesses. Quality inverters from Project Solar ensure a more efficient energy conversion process.

Workmanship Warranty

Project Solar takes pride in its professional installation processes and offers a workmanship warranty to its customers. This warranty covers any defects or problems that may arise from the installation. In case of any issues, customers can directly interface with Project Solar, who will be responsible for resolving them. This approach ensures that communication and resolution are quick and efficient, as mentioned in their Reddit post.

To sum up, Project Solar’s commitment to providing excellent solar equipment and installation service is demonstrated through its comprehensive warranties and a strong focus on quality. Their confidence in their products and work ensures that customers can trust them with their renewable energy needs.

Research and Developments

Solar energy has seen significant advancements in recent years as researchers work tirelessly to improve its performance and integrate it into the world’s energy infrastructure. Many research institutes and organizations in America and worldwide are focused on studying solar energy and finding ways to increase its efficiency and make it more accessible.

One of the leading research areas is solar photovoltaics (PV), which converts sunlight directly into electricity. Scientists are constantly exploring new materials and technologies to improve the efficiency of solar panels. Recent progress has boosted the performance of solar PV modules, resulting in higher energy production and lower costs. This is critical for driving broader adoption of solar energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, as reported here.

In addition to PV technology, concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) projects are a significant focus of research efforts. The US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has funded projects to develop low-cost, high-performance heliostats for CSP systems. These improvements provide the potential for increased reliability and reduced operation and maintenance costs, further propelling the growth of solar-powered electricity generation.

As solar energy continues to evolve, research on systems integration and soft cost reduction is also crucial. Efforts are being made to ensure that solar technologies can seamlessly integrate into the existing energy grid, maintaining a balance between supply and demand. Addressing permitting, installation, and interconnection issues can help accelerate the deployment of solar energy and streamline the overall process.

Equitable access to solar energy is another vital area of research. Organizations are working on ways to make solar power more accessible to low-income households and underserved communities. By providing job opportunities and training programs in the solar industry, they aim to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce that can benefit from solar energy’s expansion.

In conclusion, research and development initiatives in solar energy drive performance improvements, cost reductions, and greater accessibility for diverse populations. Through dedicated efforts from scientists, engineers, and policymakers, solar power is well on its way to becoming a mainstream source of clean, sustainable energy for the future.

Third Parties and Partners

In solar projects, third parties and partners play a crucial role in the successful development and execution of a solar installation. These entities help ensure that the fully installed project meets the requirements and expectations of customers and stakeholders while ensuring the timely and efficient delivery of the solar system.

Third-party developers handle the ownership, operation, and maintenance of photovoltaic (PV) systems. They often enter into financial agreements such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) with host customers. By engaging in these agreements, the host customer can site the PV system on their property and purchase its electric output from the solar services provider at a predetermined rate.

Partners in a solar project can include utilities, private companies, and non-profit organizations. They often contribute expertise in specific areas and can take on project financing, development, and management roles. For instance, utility-owned models involve the utility company taking on the ownership and operation of the solar project. In contrast, direct ownership models involve private entities or individuals owning the project. Different ownership models can influence the project’s process, financing, and overall success.

Meeting project requirements is another essential aspect of the partnership between third parties and other stakeholders. This includes obtaining necessary permits, ensuring that specific standards are met, and coordinating with local authorities. Partners must work together to address these requirements and navigate any challenges during the development process.

Ensuring the timely delivery of solar projects is a collective responsibility of all partners involved. Each party must fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities, ensuring that all aspects of the project are timely and efficiently executed. This includes the proper design, procurement, installation, and commissioning of the solar system.

In conclusion, third parties and partners in solar projects must collaborate effectively to bring the project to fruition, ensuring it meets all requirements and is delivered efficiently. By understanding the importance of these relationships, stakeholders can increase the likelihood of a successful solar project.

Conclusion

Project Solar has been gaining attention in the renewable energy market due to its innovative approach to solar panel installation and affordability. As a company, it offers a range of products, including panels from Q-CELLS, Canadian Solar, and VSUN, as well as inverters from the Enphase IQ8 range and batteries from Enphase IQ Batteries. This extensive range of options allows customers to find the right solar solution for their needs.

Some customers shared their experiences with Project Solar on platforms such as Reddit. These reviews show that the overall experience with Project Solar may have bumps along the way, with some delays and hurdles during the planning, installation, inspection, and PTO process. However, other customers lauded the affordability of their installations, mentioning a cost of $1.62/watt.

Project Solar aims to change the renewable energy landscape by making solar panels more accessible and affordable. Despite some hurdles in the customer experience, many clients are satisfied with their solar installations. As the company grows and redefines solar energy solutions, prospective customers should weigh affordability and self-installation goals against potential challenges.

Frequently asked questions

Project Solar offers a power bank as part of its solar energy system offerings. While specific details about the power bank’s reliability are not readily available, customers need to review their options and consult with Project Solar’s team to ensure the selected solution best fits their needs.

Project Solar provides a workmanship warranty of 10 years, a 25-year inverter warranty through Enphase, and 25-year panel warranties through select panel manufacturers as part of their solar installation services. The warranties cover issues related to installation workmanship and the panels, inverters, and other major equipment used in the solar energy system.

Project Solar uses a variety of solar panels from reputable manufacturers, including Q-CELLS and Canadian Solar. The company’s focus on high-quality equipment ensures its customers receive efficient and durable solar energy systems. Their systems feature Tier 1, black-on-black monocrystalline solar panels rated IEC 61215 (industry gold standard), ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.

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