I debated long and hard how to rate my experience with Sunlux. In the end, I believe I got the high-quality product I wanted with excellent installation, but the process of getting there was slow and very frustrating at times.
Here’s the short version:
Pro: I was happy with the quality of the components used.
Pro: I was very happy with the installers. They did a quality job, used every best practice I am aware of, and were great about answering questions.
Con: The install took nearly three times as long as they indicated. (I was told they had a good chance of completing the install in 2018, and it was late April 2019 when it powered on).
Con: Response to questions was often horrible. Questions would often take weeks to answer, or they would never put the answer in writing at all.
Big Con: Despite being told my system would include an integrated EV charger in the inverter, having this in writing in multiple emails, and having it as part of the spec sheets submitted with the building permit, that actual install was missing this. Because the contract said “inverter” rather than “EV inverter,” they wouldn’t install the charger until I paid half of the extra cost.
So I guess the bottom line is that I am happy with the final product, but would only recommend signing a contract with Sunlux if every detail of the system you want is explicitly called out in the contract.
If you want to read the details, read on:
To give an idea of the time involved, I was hoping to get my system installed by the end of 2018 to make use of the 2018 federal tax credit. When I asked about this in late October, I was told that I had just missed the guaranteed 2018 install, but that there was a good chance my system could still be installed by the end of the year. At that point I rushed the contract process a bit to get things moving quickly (something I regretted in hindsight). Despite the rush, the system finally received PTO (powered on with PG&E) on April 23, so as you can see the Sunlux missed the end of 2018 big time.
I believe Sunlux is having growing pains. They are based out of Southern California, but I am in Northern California. Over the course of my project I went through three different project managers, and my install crew drove up from Southern California. My impression is that they just didn’t have the staff (especially in Northern California) to properly deal with a customer who had a lot of questions.
On the positive side, I was very happy with the installers and the equipment used. I believe they used top-of-the-line equipment (including mounting hardware), they happily answered all my questions during the install, and all of the install techniques matched any best practices I had researched. So I’m very comfortable with the system I ended up with.
Now for the frustrations. The contract itself wasn’t very specific about the equipment to be used. The model number of the solar panels was called out, but beyond that, it only listed manufacturers and quantity as in “Inverter - 1 SolarEdge Technologies” or “DC Optimizer - 20 SolarEdge Technologies.” As a result, during the engineering and building permit process I pushed to get additional details. Unfortunately getting these details was very hard. I’d ask for something, and then after not hearing from them after a week or two I would ask again. The sales team would promise someone would get back to me, but I just couldn’t get a list of what was being used in writing. I was able to get a copy of the plans and spec sheets submitted for the building permit, and ended up trying to use that as the approved equipment list.
During the engineering process I decided I wanted a mount with an elevated water seal, and started asking if I could see a sample of the mounting block they would use to see how it compared with the QBlock design made by Quick Mount PV. I was told they could use the Quick Mount PV, but it would be extra cost because they would have to submit a new set of design plans. After weeks they were never able to show me a sample of what they were planning to use. I looked at the design of the Ecofasten flashing shown in the plans submitted for the building permit, but the spec sheets they kept sending me were for a Solarhooks product. Finally the right person at Sunlux looked at this and told me that their engineer had grabbed an old set of plans containing the Ecofasten mount even though they actually used the Solarhooks product. At this point they agreed to use the QBlock mounts for no extra cost, and they never submitted a new set of plans for this.
The other major issue was when the installers showed up with the wrong inverter. Before signing the contract the salesperson offered to upgrade me to a SolarEdge inverter than had a built-in EV charger, and I said this was what I wanted. However, the installers showed up with an inverter without the EV charger. During the design process I had 3 emails confirming I was getting an inverter with EV charger from the project managers. Every spec sheet they sent me (including the one with design plans submitted to the county) was for the inverter with an integrated EV charger, and I confirmed the model number of the inverter on the plans against the spec sheet. However, for some reason SolarEdge thought it was a good idea to put the identical model number on the inverter with and without the EV charger, so the installers showed up with the correct model number but no EV charger. I flagged this before they installed it, but they proceeded with the install anyway because they said the EV charger wasn’t in the contract.
Before the install was done, I provided all the email evidence for the inverter/EV charger Sunlux said they would install. I was told they would get back to me before the end of the week. Despite multiple phone calls and emails from me, it was 2.5 weeks before their COO back to me. By this point we were five months after the contract was written and the salesperson claimed no memory of agreeing to give me an EV charger. Further the COO explained to me that my contract listed the inverter as “1 SolarEdge Technologies,” but with the EV charger it needed to be “1 EV SolarEdge Inverter.” I have no idea how a customer was supposed to know this. The COO offered to split the cost difference with me, but would not install the EV charger otherwise despite my three email communications listing it as included. (He said he would do it for free if I had an audio recording from the salesperson confirming the inclusion of the charger, but I had not recorded those conversations.) I finally agreed to pay half the cost just to get things moving, and after that the correct inverter was installed in under a week.
So this brings me back to my bottom line that I am happy with the final product, but would only recommend signing a contract with Sunlux if every detail of the system you want is explicitly called out in the contract.