Momentum Solar offers a complete solar package, including experience, if you happen to be in the right state.
Between inflation, increasing energy prices and the threat of grid outages, adding some solar panels to your property can provide savings and peace of mind in addition to some green credibility.
But there has been a veritable explosion of options when it comes to solar equipment, manufacturers and installers over the past 10 to 15 years. Powerful hurricanes, floods, drought and widespread wildfires have made it clear that the threat of climate change is real and upon us, spurring local, state and national governments to offer incentives for the installation of renewables.
The result has been a ramping up of research into solar technologies, plentiful panels and a dizzying directory of companies eager to help you get them on your roof. This all helps drive down the expense and adds ease to the process of going solar, but it can make the first choice of picking who to call a bit overwhelming.
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Momentum Solar is one of the few that's been there since the beginning of these boom times, offering an all-in-one approach to solar installations using certified employee installers and domestically manufactured components, although only in a handful of states.
The New Jersey-based company has been around since 2009, "which may not sound like a very long time," the company's vice president of sales, Chad Crescibene, told me. "But in the solar industry it might as well make us a senior citizen."
He notes that Momentum is also the relatively rare solo solar company, meaning it's been dedicated to solar installations from its inception rather than a roofing or HVAC company that simply added solar to a broader portfolio of adjacent services offered.
The company also handles all engineering, procurement and construction.
"We do all facets of a solar project, so it's not like we Frankenstein it together," Crescibene said.
In other words, Momentum works with customers to design the ideal solar system for their needs and gets it permitted by local authorities, and then the company's employees do the field installation.
Momentum scores around the middle of the companies we've reviewed so far. It scored high for the panels and inverters it offers. We also gave it top marks for its workmanship warranty and customer care scores. It fell below our standards for price transparency (which is true for most of the companies we've reviewed). We also wish it offered a few more battery options and a longer warranty against leaks in your roof (another industrywide shortcoming, in our view). We also like that all of Momentum's installation teams are in house and not subcontractors. However, this isn't reflected in our scoring methodology at this time.
Keep in mind that CNET has not actually gone through the full ordering, design and installation process with Momentum or other solar companies. We rely instead on publicly available information, speaking with the company and our knowledge of the broader market.
A solar installation is a big decision and investment and ultimately it's important to get multiple quotes from companies operating in your area. You can start by going through more reviews on CNET like this one before starting to develop your list of the best service providers and reaching out.
As Crescibene said, Momentum's employees and not contractors or third-party partners guide customers through the entire process from conception to checking out the state of your roof, through the local planning and permitting offices to installation and ongoing customer support.
As of 2023, the panels you'll get come from QCells, a subsidiary of South Korea's Hanwha that operates a manufacturing facility in the US state of Georgia; wattages can vary from roughly 100 watts to 365 watts per panel. The photovoltaics are combined with batteries and microinverters from Enphase, including the latest versions from the IQ series, which are also made in the US.
The panels and microinverters are warrantied for 25 years and the batteries for 10 years, both fairly standard.
The company warranties the system in a few different areas: 25 years for workmanship and the equipment itself. Crescibene said it also offers a minimum five-year aesthetic warranty that we haven't seen offered by other companies. The idea here is that if a panel were to fade or discolor but still worked properly, you might be able to have it swapped out for a prettier panel. There's also a five-year roof penetration warranty, which is on the low end of comparable weatherization warranties offered by other companies.
Momentum really emphasizes the fact that all of its labor is performed by in-house W2 employees who have been certified through its own internal training program.
"We don't allow anybody that hasn't [completed the training] on somebody's roof," Crescibene told me.
The program involves two to three weeks of training, both in the classroom and on a mock roof setup, where installers practice going through the entire process of putting in a new solar system.
Momentum also offers a mobile app you can use to track the process from the engineering visit to permitting and the installation schedule. Once everything is set up, the app tracks energy production and offers quick links to customer support. The app has received middling reviews from users on the Google (2.7 stars) and Apple app stores (2.5 stars).
Momentum Solar declined to share specific pricing information, but notes that each installation is going to be a custom system "designed with maximum savings in mind."
"It's bespoke in that we don't have a small, medium or large offering," Crescibene explained. "Every homeowner is going to be different."
According to saveonenergy.com, which is owned by CNET's parent company, the average cost of a solar system in 2023 is $31,558, and a 30% clean energy credit can bring that total down to $22,091. Your state, county or local government may offer additional incentives to reduce your total investment as well. A Wood Mackenzie analysis shows the average cost of installed solar power was $2.99 per watt for an 8-kilowatt system.
Keep in mind that prices and costs of installation can vary significantly from market to market; another reason to get multiple quotes from companies operating locally before moving forward.
Momentum will offer a price match in cases "when it's apples to apples" and a competitor offers a comparable design and components with certified in-house labor.
"In that specific instance we would institute a price match guarantee," Crescibene said.
The company offers cash purchase and loans as well as system leasing and the occasional power purchase agreement. Leasing is the most frequent arrangement with Momentum customers.
Momentum Solar offers solar installations in the following states, though not necessarily with battery installations. They'll soon install in Rhode Island, too.
|Only solar panels||Also installs batteries|
The best way to get in touch and start the ordering process is to put in a request via the company website or social media channels. Expect to be called the same day if not almost immediately. Typically a consultation takes place within 24 to 48 hours. This is followed by an engineering visit, final design, permitting and installation. The entire process typically takes about 60 days, and major milestones along the way can be tracked via the company's app.
Ultimately, each homeowner has the best sense of what's best for their situation, but you'll be better off spending some time surveying the local marketplace and getting multiple quotes from operators in your area.
Once again, keep in mind that CNET has not gone through the ordering or installation process with Momentum Solar.
What we can say is that Momentum's experience and vertical integration in the solar industry, including its sole reliance on certified in-house labor, makes it a company worth considering. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating. Unfortunately it only operates in a handful of states at the moment but is slowly expanding. It would be nice to see a few more online tools to help the consumer in the early stages of shopping around as well. Finally, if you're interested in a power purchase agreement, it might be one of the few things the company will need to bring in a third party to offer.