I bought a new Lennar home in Colorado. It hasn’t been built yet, but I’m doing my research into the solar panels that are “included” on the new home. Let me be clear, buyers do not have the choice of whether or not to have solar installed. The only choice is whether the homebuyer purchases the panels or enters into a Purchase Agreement or PPA. The purchase price is higher than what other solar companies charge for a similar system, in my case the cost for Sunstreet Solar is about $12,000. The purchase of the solar panels cannot be wrapped into the new mortgage and must be paid in full at close of the loan, which is odd because Lennar owns Sunstreet and the mortgage company. The PPA is more affordable at the outset because there is no out of pocket cost for the system because Sunstreet owns the panels. Since Sunstreet owns the panels under a PPA, a lien is placed against your new property for the first 20 years and then longer if you decide to continue your contract after the first 20 years. When trying to sell or refinance the home, the homeowner must pay a fee to Sunstreet for a document that allows the homebuyer to refinance or sell. If you sell your home within the 20 agreement timeline, the buyer must assume the PPA or you must pay the balance of the agreement.
Most of this is explained if one were to ask, but there is so much information being exchanged when a new home is purchased that most people either don’t ask or don’t know to ask. In researching complaints made to the Better Business Bureau, (Sunstreet has no BBB rating), there are complaints about paying higher rates than what Sunstreet promised and different from how they said the rates would be calculated. Plus, the panels are never sufficient to cover all of the energy needs of the home; only 50 to 85% of the energy needs are generated by the solar panels.
Do your homework before purchasing a Lennar home with solar “included” and be sure you know exactly what you’re buying or contracting for, it will save you a lot of grief later on. My reviews for quality, service and responsiveness are based only on the information I’ve received thus far and my experience with customer service in seeking additional information about the system.