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SolarCity Corporation (Headquarters)

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(888) 765-24893055 Clearview Way, San MateoCA 94402-3709

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Description

SolarCity offers solar power system and energy efficiency design, installation, financing, monitoring and related services for homes and businesses.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 03/28/2007

BBB has determined that SolarCity Corporation meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

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Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised SolarCity Corporation's rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 89 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

89 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 56 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues21
Billing / Collection Issues6
Delivery Issues3
Guarantee / Warranty Issues4
Problems with Product / Service55
Total Closed Complaints 89

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (89)BBB Closure Definitions
06/25/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue

Complaint: $15.00 discount for automatic payment
On my contract line 5-d-ii states Automatic Payment Discount: Automatic Payment Discount: All prices include a $15 monthly discount for using automatic payment. You will not receive a $15 monthly discount if you do not make automatic Monthly Payments through your checking or savings account. My monthly payments are being automatic withdrawel from my checking acount and I'm yet to see the discount. So I called Solarcity and was told I have to speak to a manager about the issue. Today I spoke to a manager by the name of ******** XXX-XXX-XXXX xXXXXX she stated that I'm not the only customer that has complaint about the $15 discount but that there is NO discount that their legal department choose to word the $15.00 fee that way and they have no plan in changing it.

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding this valuable feedback.
SolarCity has explained the contract and pricing to *****.

This part of her contract explains: On my contract line 5-d-ii states Automatic Payment Discount: Automatic Payment Discount: All prices include a $15 monthly discount for using automatic payment.

All pricing already includes the $15 monthly discount for using automatic payment.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

06/17/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Improper or inferior repair

Complaint: In process of solar install roof was damaged and is yet to be repaired completely.
After install of solar panels roof was left with numerous broken tiles. Even though told by supervisor of the operation that 45 tiles were damaged and needed to be replaced. After job was completed my wife and I could see numerous tiles where the ends were chipped off or pieces missing still on roof. We informed them, they sent someone out while we were gone to fix the matter. Again we could see many broken tiles. It appears they don't have the proper skill set to repair the roof they damaged and although we have sent pictures to show them they have yet to correct the problem or hire an outside service to correct it.

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding the valuable feedback from ******* ******* regarding BBB Case # XXXXXXXX. It's always been our goal to exceed our customer's or potential customer's expectations. Direct feedback, positive and negative, is key to identifying areas where we can improve.

We reviewed all the information in this matter from ******* and made prompt contact via the BBB site.
We have confirmed that his roof tiles have been repaired.

We value the trusted relationship we maintain with each of our customers and potential customers. Their continued satisfaction is one of our top priorities. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Care team at ************

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

06/12/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices

Complaint: The sales representative promised a promotion of $650 as an incentive to sign up. This incentive has not been met and the company denies offer.
When signing up for service with SolarCity, sales representative ****** ******* advised me that a $650 signup incentive was included in the deal. Most of our communication was via telephone conversation. The only email correspondence between us was when I sent Mr. ******* a copy of our energy bill from PG&E.

My wife and I agreed to the service and signed our contract via the company's web site, never actually receiving a physical copy of our contract.

I believed that the Company would be filing for the federal tax incentive after installing the solar panels on our house. I know that this can take time and I was not surprised when we did not immediately received our promised incentive.

After almost 6 months have passed. I contacted the company to ask about our $650 incentive. The business advised me that there was no incentive/promotion attached to our contract and further, Mr. ******* is not longer an employee of the company. Therefore he can neither confirm nor deny his offer. The company also stated that they would not honor any promotional offer given by their former employe unless it was in writing.

The fact is, this company does none of their business in writing. All document are completed electronically via their web site. I never received any written statement of promotional offers or even my service contract for that matter. My contract is not even available for review on their site. Also, all of the promises and explanation of service were explained to me by Mr. ******* over the telephone. All have been met by the company, excluding the $650.

I was very excited about SolarCity's business plan and the offer they made. As such, I shared our experience and the details of the company's offer with many of our friends and family during the sign-up process. I am now embarrassed of our choice.

I believe it is a bad business practice to conduct all of their business either electronically or via the telephone and then require something in-writting from their customer, in order to honor a promise made. How exactly do I gather a telephone communication "in-writting".

This business practice seems very convenient for the company but as I have found out, puts the customer in a very big disadvantage when the company decides not to honor their word.

Initial Business Response
We have made contact with ******* reagrding case # XXXXXXXX via phone and email. We have come to an agreeable resolution with him.

Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)

Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.

05/30/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation used high pressure methods

Complaint: Very aggressive, after original meeting. No help understanding the document. After Document was signed. Other charges than verbal agreement listed.
I signed up for solar city via a friend. Very enjoyable process. Then I was passed to the sales department. It took some time to get things going on my end. They were very aggressive, even after I said I would take care of it in time. All the inspections were done and they sent the documents over, via docusign. Saying sign this today. "emails to prove". Not providing any assistance on the huge contract. I missed something in the contract.

(d) The pricing in this contract assumes that you will apply for the State of Oregon Renewable Energy Tax Credit (''RETC''). SolarCity will assist you in your application for the RETC. Depending on the timing of your installation and the value of incentives available, SolarCity may apply on your behalf for volumetric incentive payments under the State of Oregon's Solar Photovoltaic Systems Pilot Program (the ''FIT'') . I later received a note saying sign up for RETC. Which sounded great. I now have 48 months of $75 fees on my bill. When asking about it no one at the 888 number could help. I couldn't get in touch with an Oregon office. I spent a total of 20 mins on hold during two phone call. I am doubtful I will get out of this but it is really unfortunate. I called Oregon Department of Energy and they said SolarCity used to just give the RETC out to customers. Now I have to pay 75 dollar a month before I even get the credit. It's like I am giving them a loan which the ODE is paying back.

Also, They get 3600 dollars of the 6000 credit.

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding the valuable feedback from **** ***** regarding BBB Case # XXXXXXXX. It's always been our goal to exceed our customer's expectations. Direct feedback, positive and negative, is key to identifying areas where we can improve.

We reviewed all the information in this matter with **** and made prompt contact via phone and email.

We did explain the way the RETC program works and answered his questions. He will follow up with his tax advisor.

We value the trusted relationship we maintain with each of our customers. Their continued satisfaction is one of our top priorities. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Care team at *************

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

05/26/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Invalid or false contract

Complaint: Misleading information given to acquire signature. Full contract not disclosed before signature.
We were approached at our front door by a salesman from Solar City. He asked for a few moments to explain how their lease process works and determine if solar was an option for us. He asked for 3 things, internet connection, south facing roof with minimal shading, and credit score of 650 or above. He explained the system and went through a few places who have solar installed, explained a no money down finance option, Solar City responsible for installation, maintenance, insurance, roofing, wiring, etc for a monthly fee. There was no final price discussed, monthly payment amounts, only "estimated" costs and savings. The man suggested a site audit to evaluate our roof, sun exposure, and measure and design a system to meet our solar needs which he stated required a signature for the permission of Solar City to come to the property and inform above inspection/design. Signed an IPad on the line which only read owner's name, signature and date; only to receive in my email 1 hour later an 18-page document outlining terms of a power purchase agreement at a rate of 11.20/kWh for 20 years. Enclosed was also a sheet requesting bank information to deduct automatic payments. Thankfully, there was also a notice of cancellation document which I quickly signed and faxed to them. I was NEVER informed during this meeting I was making a purchase agreement. I WAS told it was an information session. There were no terms discussed, only "estimates" of savings on solar usage versus electric utility costs. If I was to sign into a monthly contract I would expect to know who much my total costs would be, a monthly payment, terms of the payments, etc and CERTAINLY did not give them my signature for a power purchase agreement. This is very misleading and fradulant practice that needs to be amended by Solar City. If they seek signature for allowance of property inspection it should be a paper document spread out before each consumer to thoroughly read and then sign if terms are agreeable. Shady business practice to gain a signature under false pretense.

Initial Business Response
It is never SolarCity's practice to be misleading to customers in any way. We have recieved *******'s complaint and we are looking into what happened.

We are looking at ways to improve our customer's experience. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

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07/18/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue

Complaint: Not replacing a faulty meter main panel
During the installation of a solar power system. My meter main panel was outdated and was known to possible cause a fire once the solar panel system was installed. Solar City informed me that thje panel was okay. Severl months after the installation, I experienced several power outlet fires and was informed by an electician I hired (*****) that my current panel was a fire hazard and the Solar City should have never installed this without a new meter main panel. This was also agreed upon by the City of ***** *****. I also learned that my neighbor who had the same system installed had a new panel installed at no charge. The cost of my new meter main panel was $6,576.89

Business' Initial Response
Thank you for informing us about this issue. We are in contact with *****and are in the process of resolving this complaint.

Consumer Response
This was never resolved.

The company never delivered back my stolen goods

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

07/07/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation used high pressure methods

Complaint: I opened an email to view an alleged "agreement" and upon doing so initiated a signed contract that accepted their offer.
On 5/13/2014 an email was delivered to me from SolarCity. In the first part of the email it was stated that my signed document has been received by SolarCity and the contract is now being countersigned by SolarCity. I've never asked for a contract. This is a strongarm move used by SolarCity to automatically sign up unwitting individuals to their program. This must be some kind of illegal practice. I've never signed any contract with SolarCity nor intended to sign a contract on paper or electronically. I feel cheated, misled, and irritated that a business would send such a bold email stating that the "agreement" has been signed and then upon opening the email to investigate further an automatic electronic signature is applied to a contract.

Initial Business Response
Please accept our sincere apology. We have since ammended the door to door policy and are working on training and develpoment to ensure this does not happen again.

Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Its not the Door-to-Door policy that my complain is based upon. It is the flagrant misuse of email marketing that seemingly forces an individual into a contract. There's probably a dozen solar companies that go door to door. My complaint is clearly defined with your deceptive email practices. I only opened an email due to the subject line, "Your signed contract is attached." That is where Solar City's integrity, class, and my any potential business went into the drain.

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

06/10/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Unauthorized changes to the contract or agreement

Complaint: On 2/27/2014 we signed a lease agreement with Solar City and agreed to the terms.

The sales lady explained everything to the cost, the way the panels roof would look like and had to get Home association approval.
They had done a site analyzes with 32 panels and 110% of our electric usage.
On Friday 04/18/2014 we received a call stating we still needed to sign one more document and if we could sign and send back by fax in one hour.
The person that called ***** **** never stated that this was a complete rewrite of the contract. Just that it needed to be signed and the installation would be Tuesday 4/22/2014.
I called Solar City on Wednesday 04/23/2014 and asked about the discrepancy of panels from 32 to 19. I was told I signed the contract and now would only get a 78% coverage of total bill.
I would never have signed that contract if I had known about the rewrite. I did not know a national company would trick their customers.
My wife sent an email complaining about the deception and never received a reply. I feel the reason that they changed the contract was because they would have had to reinforce the roof from the attic and that would have been a lot of extra time and money for them. I think they deceived us into signing the final document. They never once mentioned that we were being sent an amendment that would reduce our panels by so much. We would hope that other customers were not treated like this.
Our home association never agreed to the new proposal.

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding the valuable feedback from ***** ***** regarding BBB Case # XXXXXXXX. It's always been our goal to exceed our customer's expectations. Direct feedback, positive and negative, is key to identifying areas where we can improve.
We reviewed all the information in this matter with **** and ***** and made prompt contact via phone. We explained the amendment that they signed and agreed to. Their bill was also reduced to reflect the changes. We explained we could not add more panels due to structural reasons.
We value the trusted relationship we maintain with each of our customers. Their continued satisfaction is one of our top priorities. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Care team at *************





Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The reduction from 32 panels to 19 which is a 40% reduction
The original price was $74.22 and lowered to $59.68, which is only a 20% reduction. The new amount should have been in the 44.53 amount, which is 40% of the original price.
It will take a month or 2 to have the electrical company hook up the system. Will not be able to make a good judgment till the system has been working for at least 2 months, to compare pricing and know if we are coming out ahead or not.
We both still feel that the new contract was never explained to us. It was rushed through and we did not know about the changes till after the panels were installed.
Thank You **** and *****

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

06/09/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices

Complaint: SolarCity sales rep. misled me with signing up with them. I was told that the down payment will be 100% refunded by State tax return.
SolarCity sales rep. misled me with signing up with them. I was told that the down payment will be 100% refunded by State tax return. After signin the Lease I found out it's only 25% in state of New York. I'm requesting 75% of my downpayment to be refuned to me.

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding the valuable feedback from ***** ***** regarding BBB Case # XXXXXXXX. It's always been our goal to exceed our customer's expectations. Direct feedback, positive and negative, is key to identifying areas where we can improve.

We reviewed all the information in this matter with ***** and made prompt contact via phone.

***** explained he had a written document from his sales person stating that he would receive his down payment back. We explained if he provided this document we would be able to look into his request. ***** is not able to provide the document.

We did offer to take some money off for his dis-satisfaction; however, this was not acceptable to *****. We regretfully could not assist him with his request.

We value the trusted relationship we maintain with each of our customers. Their continued satisfaction is one of our top priorities. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Care team at *************




Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I will be happy and satisfied, if the second down payment is waived off.. I have already paid the first down payment for amount of around $2200.00..


Final Business Response
SolarCity cannot waive the second half of *****'s payment. We did discuss with ***** what we could do for him. He did not accept our offer.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
What Solar City Sales personal did was a bad sales tactics, it was unethical and I was lied to signing in with them. Now I'm stuck with Solar panels on my roof and a 20 year lease contract. I have no choice but to start a legal proceedings. It's not matter of few thousands of dollars anymore, it's now matter of principal. Again, I feel like I was cheated and lied to and they are taking my hard earned money.

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

05/14/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Failure to correct billing errors

Complaint: harassment for payment of cancelled contract
Solar city cancelled contract due to negligent site planning and continued to harass via phone and email to collect $100 fee

Initial Business Response
Thank you for forwarding the valuable feedback from ******* ******** regarding BBB Case #XXXXXXXX. It's always been our goal to exceed our customer's expectations. Direct feedback, positive and negative, is key to identifying areas where we can improve.
On 5/31/2012 SolarCity received a signed contract to perform a Home Energy Evaluation at a cost of $100.00.We performed the service and has since been unable to collect payment. We did contact him on 1/24/2013, he asked that we mail the invoice on 1/28/2013 which we did, and SolarCity then left a voice mail on 2/21/2014, 2/26/2014 3/05/2014, 3/12/2014 and received no response from *******. On 3/13/2014 we did send for collections.
We value the trusted relationship we maintain with each of our customers. Their continued satisfaction is one of our top priorities. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Care team at *************




Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The original contract with Solar City was cancelled due to the inability of Solar City to meet the minimum requirements of signed contract.

Final Business Response
SolarCity did provide the Home Energy Evaluation and that is what the $100 charge was for. SolarCity did try to contact ******* several times to take care of.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
SOLAR CITY has little desire to maintain fair business practice with homeowners concerning contract agreements. SOLAR CITY employs good people and implements bad policy. Almost 1 year after cancelled contract, SOLAR CITY has only sent written confirmation of their service via a collection agency for an evaluation that lacks value....SOLAR CITY has even neglected to send written proof of this service after it was paid. This is why I am contesting the $100 charge. At this point my confidence with SOLAR CITY has not improved.

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

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Industry Comparison| Chart

Solar Energy System Design & Installation, Furnace Sales & Service, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Supplies & Parts, Solar Energy Products - Retail, Solar Energy Products Service & Repair, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Manufacturing & Distribution, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Dealers, Pumps - Supplies & Parts, Pumps - Dealers, Pumps - Service & Repair, Energy Management & Conservation Consultant, Air Conditioning Repair, Energy Audits, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation Products & Services, Insulation Materials, Air conditioning & Heating Contractors - Residential, Heating & Air Conditioning, Contractor - Spray Foam Insulation, Contractor - Insulation, Air Conditioning Contractors & Systems

Additional Information

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BBB file opened: 03/28/2007Business started: 07/01/2006
Licensing

This company is in an industry that may require licensing, bonding or registration in order to lawfully do business. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Dr
Sacramento, CA95827-1703
(800) 321-2752
http://www.cslb.ca.gov

BBB records show a license number of 888104 for this company.

Type: Contractor's License Board

Check License Status: Click here to view license info

Please note that governmental licensing information may not be current.

Type of Entity

Corporation

Incorporated: September 2006, DE

Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Lyndon Rive (CEO)Ms. Breanna Larrazolo (Quality Control & Service Levels Manager)Ms. Leela Voges (Director of Marketing)
Number of Employees

3500

Business Category

Solar Energy System Design & Installation, Furnace Sales & Service, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Supplies & Parts, Solar Energy Products - Retail, Solar Energy Products Service & Repair, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Manufacturing & Distribution, Solar Energy Equipment & Systems Dealers, Pumps - Supplies & Parts, Pumps - Dealers, Pumps - Service & Repair, Energy Management & Conservation Consultant, Air Conditioning Repair, Energy Audits, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation Products & Services, Insulation Materials, Air conditioning & Heating Contractors - Residential, Heating & Air Conditioning, Contractor - Spray Foam Insulation, Contractor - Insulation, Air Conditioning Contractors & Systems

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Map & Directions

Map & Directions

Address for SolarCity Corporation

3055 Clearview Way

San Mateo, CA 94402-3709

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Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

*SolarCity Corporation is in this range.

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