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Rethink Electric

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LAST UPDATED: November 4th, 2020

Rethink Electric is a full service, professional solar installer in Chicago and the surrounding Illinois suburbs. It has been installing residential solar panels since 2014 and currently services both residential and commercial customers. It offers customizable engineering, procurement and solar panel construction (Solar EPC) packages installed on a reliable timeline. The company will get your project permitted, built and interconnected while ensuring things run as smoothly as possible

Rethink Electric’s process is straightforward. Customers fill out an online form to receive a free quote. It will then determine your home’s solar potential and will outline a broad picture of your potential energy cost savings. Once a site design is agreed upon, Rethink Electric will order your panels and components and schedule an install date. It will also connect your new system with your local utility. 

One of the larger financial benefits of installing solar panels on your residence or business is accessing tax incentives and credits. Like many competitors, Rethink Electric will complete all of the incentive applications (for rebates) in your area, as well as help you maneuver around the federal tax credits. 

Rethink Electric services both residential and commercial customers. This sets it apart from some solar companies that choose to focus solely on one or the other. It has impressive examples of its work for large commercial customers such as Extra Space Storage for which it installed solar panels at 24 locations. 

The company has an impressive list of memberships and associations. This is important when selecting a solar installer to work with. It is recommended that you only work with companies that are certified solar installers. Rethink Electric is a member of International Code Council, Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), and the American Solar Energy Society. Its ISEA membership demonstrates its commitment to education and solar energy policy in Illinois and also offers homeowners a complaint resolution process. Most importantly, it is NABCEP Certified. This is the gold standard for solar installers. NABCEP Certified installers have significant knowledge and experience and can build any system. 

Rethink Electric has also won awards. Solar Power World has the largest engaged online audience of any solar industry magazine, and it rated Rethink Electric #3 in the state of Illinois for kilowatts installed in 2019.  Solar Panel World’s annual "Top Solar Contractors" list is the most recognized listing of solar companies in the United States.

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The Good

  • Purchase and Loan Option
  • No Subcontractors
  • Uses Top Brands like Sunpower
  • Good Customer Reviews

Purchase and Loan Option

Rethink Electric offers its residential customers two financial options: a loan through its financial partner Sunlight Financial or purchasing the system. While there are larger companies that offer additional financing options, it is good that Rethink Electric works with a financing partner. Sunlight Financial can offer qualified customers full financing packages that don’t require any money down. The company also allows customers to pay off the loan early with no penalties. 

For those looking to maximize their return on investment, Rethink Electric obviously allows customers to purchase the system directly. Purchasing the system means that you can maximize your savings and take advantage of tax-deductible home equity loans. But solar systems are expensive, and this will not be an option for all customers. 

No Subcontractors

Many solar companies hire subcontractors to install panels for customers. Rethink Electrical is a full service installer with electrical expertise ranging from solar installations to whole home electrical rewires and EV charginging station installs. Its teams are NABCEP Installation Certified. This electrical expertise is a great aspect of working with its team and can be hard to find in a solar company.

Uses Top Brands Like SunPower

Rethink Electric works with and installs top solar panel brands. It is important to work with a solar installer that knows these top quality brands to ensure you get the most efficient solar panels and best return on your investment. One of the brands that it works with is SunPower Corporation, a solar company that is known for its top-quality and high-efficiency solar panels.  

Other top solar panel brands that it installs include: CanadianSolar, LG Solar, Panasonic, and SilFab Solar.

Good Customer Reviews

While the company does not have a large number of online reviews, Rethink Electric customers seem pleased with the service they received. Customers were happy with the installation process. Many observed that the Rethink Electric installers were dedicated, professional, and friendly. Customers also noted that the company's quote process was detailed and fair.

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The Bad

  • No Lease Option or PPA
  • Lack of Information on Warranty or Installation Timelines

No Lease Option or PPA

Many solar panel installers offer additional financing options that Rethink Electric does not such as a lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little or not cost. The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed, lower rate than the local utility’s retail rate. Many customers may be interested in this financial arrangement due to the minimal cost. 

Rethink Electric also does not offer a lease option, another affordable way for a customer to install a solar system on their property. With a lease option, the installer owns the system and the customer rents the system via a monthly payment. 

Lack of Information on Warranty or Installation Timelines

Rethink Electric’s website does not provide some significant information such as the warranties it offers on its installation work and panels. You will want to verify what the manufacturer performance and equipment warranties are as well as what the installer warranty will be from Rethink Electric. Installer warranties are typically for a fixed period ranging from one year and up to five years. 

It also does not provide any information on its typical installation timelines. 

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The Bottom Line

Rethink Electric is a professional solar installer with NABCEP certification that installs residential and commercial solar energy systems in the Chicago metro area. It only operates in the Chicago area, so you will need to keep that in mind when looking for a solar energy installer. We were impressed with the long list of large solar energy systems that it has installed on commercial buildings. The company also has a lot of happy customers who have left positive reviews of their experience with Rethink Electric’s residential installations. 

If you are looking for financing options Rethink Electric does work with a financial partner to offer a $0 down loan option to finance your solar energy system if you qualify. It does not, however, offer a lease or PPA option. With all loans and leases, be sure to read the fine print of the agreement with respect to selling your home and end of lease. You want to make sure they are transferable in the event you sell your home.

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