altE Store Review – In-Depth Look at this Popular Renewable Energy Equipment Retailer

Oliver

Written by Oliver. Last updated:

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Residential solar power systems often involve a significant upfront cost. The equipment can be expensive to purchase and install, especially if you are looking to assemble a large-scale solar power system that can supply power to your entire home. Fortunately, like any investment, you should be able to see a return on your money and effort over time; however, this can only occur if the equipment you purchased was sold at a reasonable price and if it was designed for longevity and efficiency.

 

This is why we believe it is critical that we do our part by reviewing as many solar retailers and manufacturers as possible. With the growing popularity of residential solar power systems, it is now more important than ever to know which retailers can actually deliver high-quality products at fair prices.

In the past, we reviewed the EcoFlow Delta 1800 and found it to be an extremely impressive and capable unit. It remains one of our favorite solar generators, and it continues to be one of the best-selling units on the market today.

We are incredibly excited to take a close look at EcoFlow’s updated and expanded version of the Delta 1800 – the EcoFlow Delta Max. Not only will we review the upcoming EcoFlow Delta Max, but we will also take a look at some of the exciting accessories EcoFlow announced alongside the Delta Max.

How Can We Help?

Whether you are new to solar and other types of renewable energy systems, or you have years of experience with this type of equipment, you have probably come across altE Store at some point during your research. As it stands, they are one of the largest and most well-known retailers of renewable energy equipment in the United States.

By taking an in-depth look at altE Store’s history, reputation, and product line, you will be a much more informed consumer. Once we have reviewed altE Store and given our overall impression of the company, we will go over some alternatives, which, depending on what you are looking for, maybe a better fit for your unique needs.

Who is altE Store?

As mentioned above, altE Solar is one of the largest retailers of renewable energy equipment in the United States, so there is a good chance that you have already heard of them. The company was founded in 1999 and started out by selling basic off-grid solar equipment.

Since then, altE Solar has gone on to become a major retailer of renewable energy equipment. Not only do they continue to sell solar panels and other individual solar equipment components, they now package full solar power systems together in convenient kits.

In late 2019, altE Store acquired Real Goods Solar, which, prior to this point, was one of the oldest and more recognizable small-scale solar equipment retailers in the United States. Given that Real Goods was founded in 1978 and specialized in supplying off-grid equipment to homesteaders, its acquisition was a major feat for the altE brand.

To this day, they have sold solar equipment to over 100,000 customers.

Unfortunately, some long-standing customers of Real Goods Solar feel that the takeover actually hurt Real Goods, as they now tend to just carry the same products as altE Store, rather than carrying their own product line.

What Does alteE Store Offer?

The altE Store slogan is ‘Making Renewable Do-able, which is actually very fitting. They sell renewable energy equipment for just about every need. Where most of the retailers we review to focus exclusively on solar equipment, altE Store also carries small-scale wind turbines, water pumps, voltage converters, and much more.

Not only do they sell equipment and kits that are designed for residential use, altE Store also carries renewable energy equipment that is specifically designed for RVs, boats, and even child-friendly science projects! Essentially, they are a one-stop shop for all things renewable.

Another thing we like about altE Store is the fact that they put a great deal of importance on only carrying renewable energy components that are of a reasonably high standard. Where some retailers carry just about anything they can get their hands on, altE Store focuses on carrying equipment from leading brands, like SimpliPhi, Canadian Solar, Sol-Ark, and Ameresco Solar.

While they do not carry some notable solar brands, like EcoFlow, Bluetti, or Lion Energy, the brands they do carry are known for offering high-quality components.

Do They Offer Educational Resources?

Another thing that has helped to increase the popularity of altE Store is the sheer volume of educational articles and videos that they release on their website. These beginner-friendly resources can be incredibly helpful for those that are just starting out with residential renewable energy systems.

altE Store Today

Today, altE operates under two distinct arms – altE Store and altE Direct.

altE Store is the company’s retail arm, which is what we are primarily focussing on today. They sell renewable energy components to individuals looking for off-grid power equipment, as well as to hobbyists and even students. This is done through their online store, which carries a wide range of products and packages from numerous brands.

altE Direct acts as the altE company’s wholesale division. They supply renewable energy equipment in bulk to professional installers and system integrators. While altE Direct can be a useful resource if you are looking to outfit multiple homes, or you run your own renewable energy installation company, it is of little use to individual consumers.

Real Goods Solar:

In late 2019, altE Store acquired Real Goods Solar, which, prior to this point, was one of the oldest and more recognizable small-scale solar equipment retailers in the United States. Given that Real Goods was founded in 1978 and specialized in supplying off-grid equipment to homesteaders, its acquisition a major feat for the altE brand.

As we will explain in greater detail, it also means that the Delta Max is compatible with the new EcoFlow Smart Generator, which can efficiently and automatically charge your solar generators using gasoline when they need a boost.

Unfortunately, some long-standing customers of Real Goods Solar feel that the takeover actually hurt Real Goods, as they now tend to just carry the same products as altE Store, rather than carrying their own product line.

What Products Does altE Store Carry?

Solar Power Systems:

Although altE Store may have started out only selling individual components, they now carry five different types of complete solar power systems. These include battery backup systems, off-grid solar power systems, off-grid cabin solar power systems, grid-tied solar power systems, and solar power systems that are specifically designed for tiny homes.

The fact that they have several subcategories of solar power systems really helps those that are just starting out and don’t know where to begin. While the selection is fairly limited within the five subcategories, all of their complete systems come with high-quality components.

There certainly is a lot to like about their solar kits, especially the grid-tied systems, by they do explicitly state that some parts and materials you will need must be purchased separately prior to installation. This is not uncommon for solar retailers, as few actually offer complete kits, so it is not a reason to avoid altE Store, but it is certainly worthy of note.

Whether you have concerns about natural disasters or want to ensure that occasional power outages and grid failures do not disturb your lifestyle, this new feature offers a real improvement over the previous EcoFlow generators.

Individual Components:

They also offer a wide range of renewable energy components as individual items, which is really helpful if you prefer to build your own custom system. It is also helpful if you need to replace or upgrade a specific component within your existing system.

As mentioned, their product catalog is quite impressive and most of the products they sell are from leading brands. Along with other pieces of renewable energy equipment, customers can find the following on the altE Store online shop:

Given that this would take the Delta Max’s battery capacity up to nearly five times the capacity of the Delta 1800, it is a really useful feature!

  • Individual solar panels and solar panel mounts
  • Charge controllers
  • Power inverters
  • Deep cycle batteries
  • Solar cables and wires
  • Heat pumps and solar water pumps
  • Voltage converters
  • Wind turbines

Within each category, you will find numerous options. Another thing we like about their online store is the fact that each product has a detailed description, which helps you know what you are buying. The products are also available at fair prices, as they often match, or come close to, what the manufacturer charges through their own online store.

As an added bonus, they even offer backup power supplies that are specifically packaged to be of benefit to those living in Puerto Rico. Given the power issues the island has dealt with in recent times, it is encouraging to see a company tailor a specific section of their online store to the unique needs of Puerto Ricans. For added convenience, they even write product descriptions in Spanish!

What is altE Store Missing?

While there is no doubting the fact that altE Store carries a wide range of renewable energy products and packages, we were surprised to discover they do not carry some really useful products that can be found through other retailers.

The main surprise was the fact that altE Store does not carry any solar generators. While they do have some portable rechargeable batteries, these do not offer anywhere near the same level of convenience you get with a high-end solar generator.

We also would have liked it if items that are rarely purchased one at a time, like solar panels, were available at discounted bulk rates. For example, some online stores will offer a single 12V 100W monocrystalline solar panel for roughly $150 but will offer two of the same solar panels for $275. The more solar panels you add, the lower the price is per panel.

Unfortunately, altE Solar does not offer these sorts of discounts, which can make them a more expensive option for those that are planning to install a full solar array.

What is Our Overall Impression of altE Store?

We found plenty to like about altE Store. The fact they have been around for so long is always an encouraging sign, especially given how many new companies are popping up each year to meet the increasing demand for renewable energy products. As you would expect, some of these newer retailers lack the expertise and reputation to be trusted with shipping fragile products that can be incredibly expensive.

We also really like that altE Store carries such a wide range of products. The fact they sell wind turbines and solar panels alongside one another is a big plus, especially for those that are looking to go completely off-grid.

While we would have liked it if some of their solar power packages were more beginner-friendly, there is no denying that they come with high-quality components. Unfortunately, many of these kits are fairly complex, so they may not be appropriate for beginners or DIYers, unless, of course, they were willing to pay for professional installation.

We also found it really surprising that they do not carry any solar generators, or solar generator kits, but there are plenty of reliable solar retailers that do carry these, so it is not a major loss.

Overall, we would certainly recommend taking a look at altE Store if you are looking for individual components for your solar power system, or you needed a water pump that could work with a renewable energy system. Their complete solar kits are not the best option we have seen, as they are a little bit expensive and involve a fairly complex installation process, but they are certainly worth taking a look at, as they might fit your needs.

altE Store Pros & Cons:

Pros

Cons

As you can see, there are many reasons why altE Store is a great source of renewable energy equipment, but the company is not without its faults. Certain customers will really enjoy their extensive catalog and the fact that they carry wind turbines, rather than just solar components.

If you are looking to upgrade or expand your current setup, you should certainly browse their online store; however, if you are looking to purchase a complete solar kit, or you have any interest in a user-friendly solar generator, you may want to look elsewhere.

What are the Alternatives?

As mentioned, there are several other major retailers outside of altE Store and their sister company, Real Goods Solar. GoGreenSolar is a great option, but many of their solar kits also require professional installation, so they are not the most budget-friendly option out there. With that being said, they are a great option if you are looking for a roof-mounted system and you are not looking to install it yourself.

If you are looking for a do-it-yourself, beginner-friendly solar power system, we recommend ShopSolarKits. Not only are their solar kits packaged with everything you need to get started, they also include straightforward wiring guides and installation instructions. As an added bonus, they also offer solar generators, as well as solar generator kits, which package a state-of-the-art solar generator with an appropriate number of solar panels and expansion batteries.

Our Top Recommendation – ShopSolarKits

Where altE Store focusses on individual components, ShopSolarKits offers truly complete solar kits. Whether you are looking for a roof-mounted grid-tied system, an off-grid solar power system, a simple solar backup system, or a portable solar generator kit, they carry what you need.

This is mostly down to the fact that ShopSolarKits has a strict and specialized focus on solar equipment, rather than all types of renewable energy equipment.

Their pre-assembled solar kits range from beginner-friendly, plug-and-play kits, to large-scale whole-home and off-grid kits. As we mentioned previously, all of their solar kits come with everything you need to get started.

This includes everything from mounts and brackets, to solar cables and connectors. When you purchase a solar kit from ShopSolarKits, you know that you will have everything you need to start storing and using solar power. The helpful customer support and the custom, easy-to-read installation guides mean just about anyone can get one of their solar power systems up and running themselves.

Why ShopSolarKits?

They offer true lifetime customer support, which is predictably uncommon in an industry where most retailers assume every customer is already an expert. Whether you have purchased one of their complete kits, or you have only ordered a single solar panel, ShopSolarKits guarantees that they will be there to assist you throughout your solar journey.

We encourage you to browse their Solar Generator Kit Collection, which offers some of the best prices we have been able to find anywhere.

If you are looking to save some money, you can also check out their Deals and Promotions Page, which is regularly updated with new sales and discount codes.

Final Words

As is often the case with online retailers, altE Store has its advantages and disadvantages. They are certainly a reliable retailer and the fact they have been around for as long as they have is a clear testament to their trustworthiness.

With that being said, they are not the most affordable option we have found. Our best advice would be to browse their store and see if they carry what you are looking for at a reasonable price. If they do not have what you need, consider taking a look at one of their competitors, like ShopSolarKits.

No matter where you choose to purchase your renewable energy equipment from, remember that it should be seen as a long-term investment, so do what you can to care for your equipment and upgrade it when necessary!

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