SolarMax is the first California solar installer to design, engineer, and assemble their own solar panels, establishing themselves as a one-stop-shop for solar panels and system installation. Through their five-step process, SolarMax equips homeowners with the knowledge and resources needed to incorporate a solar system into their home. Read our review on SolarMax services, products, warranties, and customer support to determine if they’re the best solar provider for your home.
If you’re considering solar, we recommend getting a few quotes. Use this tool to get matched up with local providers.
Is SolarMax Worth It?
SolarMax has a variety of solar panel offerings and educates its customers on the benefits of solar through their lunch and learn program. Their five-step installation process and in-house financing options make them a good choice for customers who are new to solar energy.
Compare the advantages and disadvantages of SolarMax below:
Pros and Cons of SolarMax
|Provides lunch and learn programs to California businesses||Only available in California|
|Gives customers the choice of four solar panel brands||Must provide phone number during quoting process|
|Offers in-house financing options|
SolarMax Solar Power Services
SolarMax offers solar storage and solar panel installation for residential and commercial customers.
From consultation to installation, SolarMax follows a five-step process for getting a solar panel system running for residential solar customers.
- Consultation—Before providing a quote to customers, SolarMax requires a free consultation to analyze your home’s energy consumption and solar readiness. A SolarMax solar consultation will typically include property and solar savings analysis and a discussion about energy goals and consumption.
- Financing—SolarMax offers a variety of solar financing options, including in-house loans and third-party financing, and discusses financing before entering the design phase.
- Design—SolarMax assigns an experienced solar panel engineer to your home to design a system that contours to your roof and energy needs.
- Permitting—Since a permit is required before installation begins, a SolarMax energy consultant will obtain this permit for you by submitting the necessary applications and paying the required fees.
- Installation—Once your system is designed and the necessary permit is acquired, a technician can begin the installation.
SolarMax also offers commercial installation that provides solar energy systems for businesses of any size. Similar to residential solar panel installation, an analysis of your business’ electricity consumption is required before designing a system that’s ready for installation.
Solar Battery Backup
In addition to installation services, SolarMax offers energy storage for residential and commercial customers. For residential customers, solar batteries provide a way to harness excess energy during a blackout or other emergency.
SolarMax offers an LG 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) home battery that provides customers with the following benefits:
- Accessible energy that automatically switches on when power is lost
- A rechargeable battery that’s powered by your solar panels
- 10kWh worth of backup power capable of keeping essential appliances and lights on during an extended blackout period
Note: Commercial solar energy batteries require more customization to give commercial customers the correct energy storage to fit their business needs.
How Much Does SolarMax Cost?
Although SolarMax doesn’t provide pricing details on their website, the cost of your solar panel system can be affected by a variety of factors, including:
- Household electrical demand
- Size of your roof
- Choice of solar panels
- Cost of labor
- Solar incentives in your area
SolarMax Payment Options
SolarMax offers multiple purchasing options on their website but only details a few of the plans. Here are some ways you can fund your solar-powered system:
- Buy—If able, purchasing your system outright allows you to forgo monthly payments and earn tax rebates.
- Finance—Financing gives you the benefits of owning the system but comes with monthly payments that include the cost of borrowing money to finance the system. SolarMax offers financing terms from 10 to 20 years with rates as low as 2.99% APR.
- Third-party PPA—SolarMax partnered with Sunrun to provide a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) for customers, which allows them to lease their solar panels and pay based on the solar electricity generated.
Types of Solar Panels Offered by SolarMax
SolarMax offers four different solar panels, including its own SolarMax SMX solar panels. In addition to its solar panel offering, SolarMax sells LG, QCELL, and Panasonic solar panels that come with their own distinct benefits.
- SolarMax SMX—This high-quality 300 monocrystalline solar panel is designed, engineered, and assembled in the U.S.
- LG—The LG solar panel is known for its high-powered output and enhanced performance warranty.
- QCELL—This solar panel provides high efficiency and weather ratings for extreme weather.
- Panasonic—The reputable Panasonic solar panel has a low, long-term degradation and is highly efficient.
SolarMax Customer Service
Most SolarMax offices are available by appointment only, except the Riverside location which is available via phone, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 7 pm PST. Additionally, SolarMax allows customers to send personalized messages to each of their locations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SolarMax protects its customers with three distinct warranties, each spanning 25 years:
- A 25-year solar panel warranty
- A 25-year inverter warranty
- A 25-year workmanship warranty
If you live in California cities like Los Angeles or San Diego, we recommend SolarMax for its comprehensive warranties and extensive solar panel offerings.
If you’re considering SolarMax, we recommend using our comparison tool to get matched with quotes from local providers.
Compare SolarMax to Other Solar Providers
|Providers||SolarMax||Semper Solaris||Vivint Solar|
|Providers||SolarMax||Semper Solaris||Vivint Solar|
|Solar services||Solar panel sales and installation, solar battery installation||Solar panel installation, battery back-up installation, solar maintenance services||Solar panel and battery installation|
|Service areas||California||California||Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C.|
|Panels offered||SolarMax, LG, QCELL, Panasonic||Silfab, LG, Panasonic, Solaria||N/A|
|Warranty length||25-year solar panel, inverter, and workmanship warranty||25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty||10-year workmanship, 20-year power (lease and PPA plan only), 25-year linear performance warranty|
|Payment options||Buy, finance, power purchase agreement||Buy, finance, power purchase agreement||Buy, finance, lease, power purchase agreement|
- Company name: SolarMax Renewable Energy Provider, Inc.
- Company type: Private
- CEO: David Hsu
- Years in business: 12
- Address: 3080 12th Street Riverside, CA 92507
- Phone: 1-855-279-2103
- Website: www.solarmaxtech.com
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Energy
What is a solar tax credit?
When purchasing and installing a solar panel system, you may qualify for federal and state incentives. At the federal level, solar owners in 2021 receive a tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of their solar energy system.
How long does it take to install solar panels?
Installing physical solar panels requires a couple of days of labor. What typically delays the installation process is the steps required to begin the installation, like conducting inspections and acquiring permits—this process could take over a month.
Does solar energy increase a home’s value?
According to a Berkeley Lab study, home buyers view solar panels as an upgrade and are willing to pay about $15,000 more for a home with an average-sized solar array system.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar panel companies and installers is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:
- Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of those four options it provides.
- Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company also monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance. The more options available, the higher the score.
- Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. We score solar companies based on the number of warranty options available. The more warranties a solar company offers, the higher the score it receives.
- State Availability (10 points): We award the most points to solar companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
- Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.