Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (2023)

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This public company advertises itself as an "Energy as a Service" provider and promises to keep your system running for 25 years - but not all customers are happy.

Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (2)
Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (3)

Erik Mack Contributing editor

Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is

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Erik Mack

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Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (4)




  • 25 year service guarantee
  • Many financing options
  • Customer-centric approach

I do not like it

  • No price match
  • Possible customer service issues according to the BBB

If you're not a techie and instead just looking for a customer-centric approach to solar panels, Sunnova might be worth looking into. The focus is on making sure your system works correctly for decades rather than complicated device specifications.

Sunnova's pitch is aimed at those looking for a hassle-free approach to solar: no need to worry about the money upfront, an agreement to ensure your solar system will produce for a quarter of a century, and a single phone number to use can call with questions or concerns throughout the duration.

"Whether it's a lease, loan or power purchase agreement, we make sure our customers' power keeps flowing for 25 years," says Kelsey Hultberg, executive vice president of corporate communications and sustainability at Sunnova.

One of the latest developments in the solar world is the term "energy as a service" offered by some of the bigger players. The idea is to make the switch to solar power and the switch to renewable energy easy - whether it's to fight climate change, reduce your energy bills (or hopefully both) - as easy as switching internet providers. A network ofTax credits and other incentives— not to mention the free energy generated — also makes it an attractive proposition for consumers.

Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (5)

Sunnova is a leading Energy-as-a-Service provider and, since 2019, a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The Houston-based company has been around for 10 years and is one of the largest solar companies in the country with 300,000 customers in the US.

It also works with the US Department of EnergyOffer solar loansto communities that would otherwise not have access to such funds, through an initiative called Project Hestia. The federal government has committed to providing loan guarantees for up to 90% of Sunnova's $3.3 billion in loans.

"Project Hestia would enable historic private sector investment in disadvantaged American communities and energy infrastructure."said John Berger, CEO of Sunnovain a statement.

Public financing aims to increase access to solar energy for households whose creditworthiness would otherwise disqualify them.

It's important to make clear that CNET did not actually go through the process of ordering Sunnova, installing a system, or testing the devices mentioned here. Instead, we rely on industry research, an extensive interview with the company and, to a limited extent, external opinions from people who have interacted with the company.

With this in mind, it is important that any home or small business owner considering a solar installation obtains multiple quotes from installers in their area and does their own research. You are off to a good start by reading this review. You can findMany more solar companies here on CNETas well as.

Best solar companies for 2023 With Cnet

What do I get from Sunnova?

In recent years, Sunnova has focused on developing what they call the Sunnova 'Adaptive Home'. It's not just a matter of putting a few panels on a roof, it includes the integration of batteries, load control and chargers for electric cars, among other things.

"We package it up for the homeowner so they don't have to deal with the burden of bringing all these pieces of technology together, and then we handle it for the customer for 25 years," Hultberg explained.

What equipment does Sunnova offer?

Sunnova works with a network of pre-approved installers to offer its solar cells almost anywhere in the country. Local installers also work with a list of equipment manufacturers and specific products approved by Sunnova, including a wide range of electrical panels, inverters, batteries and chargers.

"Nothing gets built on a roof that we haven't already reviewed and approved," Hultberg said.

The company uses modules from various manufacturers, inverters from SolarEdge and Enphase, and batteries from Tesla, Enphase, Generac, SolarEdge and FranklinWh.

Best solar batteries in 2023 Look at CNET

Does Sunnova offer system monitoring?

The Sunnova web portal and app provide information on the customer's system performance, battery charge status and more.

An interesting beta feature is the ability to see when the customer gets power from the grid and how "dirty" the grid sources are (ie coal vs. renewables). The company has not provided a specific timeline for when the feature will be fully operational.

The app was also rated relatively well in the Google (3.8 stars) and Apple (4.1 stars) app stores.

What guarantees does Sunnova offer?

Sunnova promises to service and maintain its systems for 25 years. Hultberg indicated whenHurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the company repaired any damaged Sunnova system on the island's territory free of charge to customers.

If service or warranty issues arose during the 25-year period, customers would call Sunnova and likely see a Sunnova truck pull up to repair.

How much do Sunnova solar panels cost?

Sunnova declined to provide pricing information, which is unfortunately quite common in the industry.

If you just look at the average cost of equipment and installation and factor in federal costs30% clean energy creditsAccording to the data, the average cost of a purchased solar system in the United States is $22,, which is owned by CNET's parent company.

Other incentives from state, county, and local governments, and sometimes even from banks and credit unions, could lower overall spending even more. This shows an analysis from Wood MackenzieThe average starting price for installed solar was $2.99 ​​per wattsfor et 8 kW system.

Of course, the numbers above only reflect national averages, and the United States is a country with very different geographic and economic conditions. Be sure to compare prices in your area before signing a contract.

Hultberg said the company doesn't make it a practice to offer a price match, but that installers have price limits they can't go above or below.

What financing options does Sunnova offer?

Sunnova offers power purchase agreements and various options for the purchase, leasing or financing of solar systems. Hultberg noted that not all states allow leases, and other programming offerings may vary from place to place.

Sunnova emphasizes that it can often work well to get customers up and running with a new solar system with no upfront costs, although the savings over the life of a purchased system are typically greater than with leases, PPAs or other no-payment options .

Does Sunnova work in my state? How do I order?

Sunnova works with local distributors in all US states and territories.

The ordering process starts with contacting an authorized Sunnova dealer or installer, either via Sunnova's website or by contacting a dealer directly.

The local dealer interviews the customer, inspects the property using satellite imagery, assembles an equipment package from Sunnova's approved list and presents it to the customer for approval.

Dealer will discuss options such as batteries etcChargers for electric carsas well as. The final system design is quality checked and approved by Sunnova. This triggers the process of initiating new solar cells, including approval, installation and final account activation and electron flow.

"Then we will work with you for the next 25 years to make sure the system works and produces energy as we promised," Hultberg said.

Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (8)

Is Sunnova the best choice?

Sunnova offers a simple approach to equip your home with solar energy and guarantee the output of your system for a quarter of a century.

It all sounds pretty good, but keep in mind that we haven't received any significant information about pricing and the equipment offered. We're also not keen on the dealer model, which essentially doubles the research effort - you'll want to make sure both Sunnova and the local installer you're dealing with are companies you're familiar with.

The Better Business Bureau has also identified a pattern of complaints against Sunnova that worries us, although the company assures us that the vast majority of its customers are satisfied and have resolved all complaints.

As far as we know, Sunnova also seems to have quite a few satisfied customers, so it's definitely worth checking out.

Keep in mind that CNET has not yet reviewed the ordering or installation process with Sunnova. Be sure to do your research before making a commitment that is designed to last at least 25 years.


  • 25 year service guarantee
  • Many financing options
  • Customer-centric approach
  • Recipients of DOE funds for those with lower credit ratings


  • Necessary to traverse the network of installers
  • A complaint template according to
  • No price match

Sunnova reviews: what do customers say?

It can be hard to put much value on online reviews these days. It is easy to find both positive and negative reviews of Sunnova. But we take that into account in particularBetter Business Bureau's "Complaint template" for the company.

"Customers complain of deceptive sales practices and poor customer service, as well as reporting installation and repair technicians not arriving as scheduled," he saidBBB reports.

Sunnova's BBB accreditation has not been renewed in 2019 due to the series of complaints - including over 500 in the last 12 months - and a government case against the companyi Puerto Ricoit is now settled.

"Consumer complaints indicate that Sunnova has deployed solution specialists who are unavailable by phone or email, causing delays in diagnosing and repairing modules that are underperforming or not operational at all," reads a BBB warning. "While Sunnova Energy Corporation has responded to complaints and many of them have been closed as resolved, (customers) felt their concerns were only addressed after filing a complaint with the BBB."

Sunnova Solar Review: Set it and forget it for 25 years (9)

Sunnova told CNET that it "had approximately 1.3 million interactions with existing customers via email and voice calls. Of those interactions, only 537 (0.041%) were associated with BBB cases."

Sunnova and BBB confirmed that nearly 99.9% of the above cases are currently considered resolved.

"We are working closely with the BBB to restore our accreditation," a Sunnova spokesperson told CNET.

The company also says it recently invested in a new national operations control center that will provide "real-time monitoring, optimization and control of our entire fleet of 300,000 solar and battery storage systems across 55 states and territories across the U.S. to detect problems with unprecedented speed and efficiency and.” to respond to it.”

Don't be afraid to ask specific questions when talking to solar companies. You can even ask them what they did to fix the problems you saw on the BBB website. It doesn't hurt to find out eitherCurrent scams in the solar industry.

This is how we rate solar companies

It is difficult to evaluate solar companies in a practical way. It is impossible to account for all the differences from project to project. To provide a useful assessment, we have focused on what we can measure and meaningfully compare between companies.

We focus on three criteria areas: Equipment, Warranty and Service.

Within the "Devices" category, companies receive points for the modules, inverters and batteries they have installed. Warranties include warranties on the panels, workmanship and weather resistance against leaks. Companies earn points for service when they offer price matching, meaningful price transparency and a well-reviewed solar production monitoring app. You will lose points if there are serious problems with customer service (lawsuits, investigations or a clear reputation for poor service). These issues are always detailed in the review.

You canRead a detailed look at how scoring is done.

We do not take the average price of a company's installations into account in the assessment. This information is hard to find and difficult to compare between different service areas (and even from roof to roof). Companies are also often slow to disclose this. We also omit information that is easy to find but not useful, such as the number of states in which a company operates.

Is Sunnova worth it?

Optionally. If you are looking for a solar solution where you can set it up and forget it, Sunnova promises 25 years of worry-free energy production for your home.

What panels does Sunnova use?

A sample. Be sure to ask detailed questions about what they can offer you for your situation.

Does Sunnova offer financing options?

Yes, as well as rental agreements and power purchase agreements. The company is happy to propose a financing plan that allows the installation of a solar system with no down payment. However, be sure to review the numbers and read the fine print before you sign anything.

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