Review for Unique Solar
Solar panel installation review by an electronics engineer
I am an retired electronics engineer that decided to have a solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation system (hereinafter called “solar system”) installed on my south facing second story roof. I researched reputable companies that install solar systems and decided to get bids from SolarCity, ASI Hastings Heating & Air, Palomar Solar, Sullivan Solar Power, and Unique Solar. All these companies were very professional in their sales approach to me, and all were technically knowledgeable. All the companies, except SolarCity, provided sufficient contract detail to allow a good comparison between the proposed solar systems. I feel any of these companies would have been able to successfully install a solar system meeting my needs, and my decision came down to what I technically desired and the cost.
As the solar contractors will clearly explain to their customers, there are basically three types of solar systems: (1) microinverter, (2) string inverter, and (3) string inverter with power optimizer. ASI and Palomar Solar install microinverter solar systems, but not string inverter solar systems. SolarCity and Sullivan Solar install string inverter solar systems, but not microinverter solar systems. Unique Solar installs all three type of solar systems, based on what is best for the particular customer. Each of the three solar systems have unique advantages and disadvantages. The companies that install only one type of solar system will clearly point out the disadvantages of the other type of solar systems, but not so much the disadvantages of the system they are trying to sell. Choosing which solar system configuration to install involves a fair amount of research, and personal preference. For me, I decided I wanted the microinverter solar system because I wanted to monitor the individual power generation of each solar panel. This decision allowed me to narrow the contractor I would use to ASI, Palomar Solar, or Unique Solar.
It turned out that the decision was fairly simple. All three companies proposed identical solar systems, i.e., LG290 solar panels, Enphase M-250 microinverters, Envoy Gateway, all the drawings, permits, etc.. It was interesting that the ASI and Palomar Solar total contract price differed by only $150. Unique Solar came in significantly less than the ASI and Palomar price, so I decided to sign a contract with Unique Solar. I did upgrade the solar panels to the LG295 from the LG290, for a total contract increase of $200.
The owner of Unique Solar is Ulf Waldmann (858.353.7478) and is the person I met with initially and throughout the installation process. Mr. Waldmann was professional, very knowledgeable in solar panel and inverter technologies, and provided the greatest detail on what I call the solar system “POA&M” (plan of action and milestones) of the three solar contractors. I think the information provided by the other contractors was adequate for most customers, but I tend to like more engineering detail. Since the solar panels are likely be operational for 25 years, I wanted to re-roof where the solar panels were being installed in order to ensure my roof would not leak for the 25 years, vice the 10 year warranty provided by the solar contractors. Without any involvement from me, Unique Solar and RC Roofing (Rick Clark; 858.337.6908) coordinated a schedule between them where the old roof would be removed by RC Roofing, the stanchions (used to mount the solar panels to the roof) would be installed by Unique Solar, and then the new roof would be installed by RC Roofing. The re-roofing job was accomplished without a problem. Mr. Waldmann kept me informed of all events that went on, and there were no surprises in the solar system installation process or the payments requested. I was also pleasantly surprised with the craftsmanship of the solar system installation, e.g., end caps on the rails, the conduit being grounded properly and straight, and cable routing. The solar system installation took less than six weeks from the day the contract was signed to the day the installation was completed.
The City of San Diego inspected the solar system installation on 24 March 2014 and signed off on the inspection record with no problem. The San Diego Gas and Electric company gave permission on 25 March 2014 to activate the system. My solar system is now up and operational, and I am able to easily and remotely monitor all parameters of the system. In summary, I recommend Unique Solar without reservation.
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4,720 kW DC PV solar system
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