Unbound Solar Review – Taking an In-Depth Look at This Popular Solar Power System Outfitter
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There are plenty of reasons why so many people choose to embrace solar technology each year. For starters, installing a residential solar power system can safeguard your family against ever-rising electricity costs.
There are also numerous non-financial reasons why making the choice to go solar is growing in popularity at such a rapid rate. For many, concerns about global climate change can act as a powerful motive. Making the decision to power your home with renewable energy, rather than electricity that is sourced from the grid, can help you feel as if you are doing your part to protect the environment.
Then there is the fact that the lengthy blackouts and power failures that have plagued the nation over the past few years have exposed the fragility of the American electrical grid. This has left many American homeowners craving the security and energy independence that a residential solar power system can provide.
Regardless of your specific reasons for wanting a residential solar power system, it is important to know which retailers can supply the most efficient and reliable equipment at the best prices. This is why we feel it is our responsibility to review solar retailers, rather than strictly reviewing individual pieces of solar equipment.
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?
To help you better understand your options, we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the top solar power system providers in the United States – Unbound Solar.
Over the last few years, the increased popularity of residential solar equipment has led to an explosion in the number of solar retailers on the market. While this competition may sound like a good thing for consumers, it can make it difficult for individuals to know which retailers can actually deliver what they promise, and which have overinflated prices and low-quality products. This is where we can help.
By taking a close look at Unbound Solar, we can determine whether or not they are worthy of your consideration. We will start by taking a closer look at the brand and its history. From there, we will examine their product catalog and other offerings to determine if they have what you need.
As we always say, a residential solar power system is a major investment, so taking the time to research manufacturers and retailers before you make that investment is incredibly important.
Who is Unbound Solar?
The company was originally founded in 1992 under the name Wholesale Solar; however, in October of 2020, the decision was made to rebrand the company as Unbound Solar.
As its original name suggests, the company started out as a wholesale distributor of solar equipment and complete solar power systems. While they originally focussed exclusively on off-grid solar components and systems, they have now branched out into a much wider range of products, including grid-tied solar power systems and other energy independence products, like high-capacity battery banks.
Today, Unbound Solar continues to operate as a 100% employee-owned company. They also continue to operate domestically out of the American Pacific Northwest. Under the direction of the company’s current CEO, Wil VandeWiel, Unbound Solar continues to be one of the nation’s leading solar power system retailers.
What is the Brand Mission for Unbound Solar?
Unbound Solar’s slogan, “Do it Your Way”, perfectly encapsulates the entire company’s vision. Basically, it is their aim to work with customers to help them design the perfect solar power system for their unique needs.
Whether you are looking to install a small-scale solar power system yourself, or you are looking to convert your entire home over to solar power by hiring professional installers, Unbound Solar gives customers the power to choose the exact equipment they need for their specific project.
What Does Unbound Solar Offer?
Unbound Solar places a great deal of importance on only working with the best manufacturers in the industry. Their main selling point is the fact Unbound Solar does not work with you during installation, so they can offer solar equipment at much lower prices than full-service, turn-key installers.
Essentially, the customer acts as the project manager and decides for themselves what they need. Once Unbound Solar delivers your solar equipment, you can choose to install it yourself or hire local contractors to help with installation.
By keeping upfront costs relatively low, the buyer can see a much faster return on their investment. In other words, the money invested into the solar equipment you purchase from Unbound Solar will begin paying for itself much faster, as it will be far less expensive than if you paid for a full-service solar installer to do everything for you.
What Happens When You Buy from Unbound Solar?
Unbound Solar’s buying process is fairly straightforward, as they leave the installation up to you. Once you have made the decision to buy from Unbound Solar, you work with the company to choose the exact solar components you need for your preferred solar power system. Once you have made your choices, you place your order and Unbound Solar will package and ship your solar equipment to you.
Once you receive your solar equipment, it is on you to determine how you will install it. As mentioned, you can either install it yourself or find a local installation company to work with. After you have received the equipment and installed it your way, Unbound Solar will offer ongoing support, which means they can help answer any questions or concerns you have about your new solar power system, even if it was purchased many years earlier.
What Types of Solar Power Systems Do They Sell?
Unbound Solar sells both off-grid and grid-tied solar power systems, so customers can choose what works best for them.
They even offer several solar kits that are specifically designed for RVs and boats. This RV and marine solar power systems are limited in terms of output power, but they can be a great option for those that are looking for a small-scale system they can mount directly to their RV, camper van, or boat.
In terms of individual components, Unbound Solar offers a wide range of products. For starters, they offer individual solar panels from Astronergy, Heliene, and Solaria, which happen to be some of the best residential solar panel brands on the market.
Although the three types of panels they offer are all made by reputable manufacturers, so they are all built to a high standard, we were a little bit disappointed that Unbound Solar does not offer bulk discounts when you purchase more than one solar panel at a time. While this is fairly standard for online solar retailers, there are a few companies out there that will offer discounts depending on the number of panels you purchase.
They also offer a variety of deep-cycle solar batteries, various solar panel racks, and several types of power inverters. While they will not appeal to all customers, they also offer several natural gas-powered generators. While these can be really helpful as a source of backup power, they are not powered by a renewable energy source.
Strangely, they do not carry solar generators, which we found somewhat disappointing. Given the fact that solar generators can act as a beginner-friendly, all-in-one solar power station, it is a shame that Unbound Solar does not carry them. Fortunately, those that are looking for a portable source of solar power can choose from several reputable retailers that carry solar generators.
What Do We Like About Unbound Solar?
Now that you know a little bit more about the company, we can take a look at some of the things we really like about Unbound Solar.
One of the things we liked most about Unbound Solar is the fact that they work directly with a wide range of solar manufacturers. Some of the smaller retailers only work with a small number of manufacturers, which can severely limit options for consumers.
Given that Unbound Solar works with over 50 manufacturers, we find that it is fairly easy to find the exact equipment you are looking for through their online store. The ability to build your own custom solar power system by mixing and matching components from various manufacturers really allows you to build and install a system that matches your preferences. This is another way that Unbound Solar lives up to its slogan, “Do it Your Way”.
Dedication to a Positive Environmental Impact:
While offering their customers high-quality components at fair prices is certainly Unbound Solar’s primary goal, the brand has always remained dedicated to making a positive environmental impact.
According to Unbound Solar’s website, since they first started, the 20,000 residential solar power systems that they have sold have generated roughly 100 Mega Watts of clean electricity. When you consider the fact that over 140,000 tons of CO2 would have been emitted if the same volume of electricity was sourced from a conventional electrical grid, their products have had a very significant environmental impact. Reducing carbon emissions by 140,000 tons is the equivalent of saving 92.3 acres of trees!
At Ecotality, sustainability has always been one of our primary concerns, which is why we always check to see what efforts solar manufacturers and retailers take to make sure that their products are eco-friendly. While you may assume that all solar equipment is eco-friendly, the truth is, some of the lower quality products are not made to last. When solar equipment is made, the manufacturing process can result in fairly significant carbon emissions, so the equipment must last long enough to generate the power required to cancel out what was emitted while it was being made.
Fortunately, Unbound Solar makes sure that they only carry solar equipment that can make this difference!
On top of this, Unbound Solar donates a set percentage of each sale to one of fifty non-profit organizations. The customer chooses which non-profit they would like the money to go to. One of the top organizations Unbound Solar donates to is One Tree Planted, which works towards reforestation efforts around the world. For every dollar they receive, One Tree Planted will plant a tree. Currently they have planted over 4 million trees!
Personalized Assistance and Lasting Support:
For those that are interested in purchasing a complete solar power system, rather than just a few individual components, Unbound Solar will offer lifetime support on your system. To do so, they help you understand manufacturer warranties and they can even help you get in touch with local equipment technicians.
Their team of solar experts will also help walk you through the buying process by answering questions over the phone. While this type of support might not be of much use to those that have experience installing and using residential solar power systems, it can be a real benefit to beginners.
Each of the complete solar power systems they sell also comes packaged with a basic electrical diagram, which will explain the basics of wiring a solar power system together. For an extra fee, you can even receive customized diagrams that will be tailored to the specific components within your newly purchased solar power system. While we would have preferred if this service was provided at no cost to the customer, it is still really helpful for those that are eager to install their solar power system on their own.
Would We Recommend Unbound Solar to Our Readers?
There is plenty to like about Unbound Solar. The fact that they have been in business for 30 continuous years is a massive achievement in itself, especially when you are talking about an industry as young as the residential solar power industry. Selling over 20,000 complete solar power systems is also a testament to their enduring quality, as few solar retailers can come close to these numbers.
We also really like that Unbound Solar focuses on helping its customers find tailor-made solar solutions that actually fit their specific budget and power requirements. They really do seem committed to their “Do it Your Way” slogan; however, we would have preferred if they did not charge extra for custom wiring instructions. With that being said, the base prices for their solar power systems are very competitive, so we cannot really argue with the extra fee too much.
We also like that they sell both off-grid and grid-tied solar power systems, but we found that some of their off-grid systems are a bit underpowered. This could be because they are designed for smaller, off-grid cabins, rather than full-sized houses, but it is still something to consider.
Another thing we really liked is the fact that they feature a Solar Permitting System, which helps customers acquire the necessary permits to have a solar power system installed on their home. If you live in a jurisdiction that requires engineering stamps, they can even help you get your permit professionally reviewed and stamped (again, for an additional fee).
In short, we would certainly recommend Unbound Solar, but they will not be the perfect option for everyone. If you are comfortable purchasing a solar power system that will likely require professional installation, and you also know that there are qualified installers or contractors in your area, Unbound Solar is a great option. Remember, they did start out as a solar wholesaler, so most of their solar power systems will be similar to what you would receive if you went through a local solar installation company, but Unbound Solar’s prices should be better.
If you are more interested in a beginner-friendly, DIY solar power system that you can easily install yourself, you may want to look at another retailer, as this is not Unbound Solar’s specialty. The same can be said if you are looking for a convenient and portable solar generator.
Like Unbound Solar, ShopSolarKits is an extremely popular online solar retailer. While they are involved in the same industry, the two companies specialize in different types of solar equipment and complete solar power systems.
Where Unbound Solar’s main focus is roof-mounted, wholesale-priced solar power systems that often require professional installation, ShopSolarKits offers products that are more geared towards DIY enthusiasts that would prefer to install a solar power system without professional help.
This is because ShopSolarKits specializes in pre-assembled solar kits that range from beginner-friendly, plug-and-play kits, to large-scale whole-home grid-tied and off-grid kits.
What we like the most about this retailer is the fact that all of their solar kits actually come with every single thing you need. 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 in one package.
While complete solar kits are certainly their specialization, like Unbound Solar, they also sell individual pieces of solar equipment, so you have the option to upgrade or replace any component in your current solar setup.
One of the best things about ShopSolarKits is the fact that they offer true lifetime customer support on all purchases. Whether you have purchased one of their complete kits, or you have just ordered a few solar panels, ShopSolarKits guarantees that they will always be there to help throughout your solar journey.
While their low prices are certainly appealing, it is the impressive variety of solar kits they offer that really sets them apart. Whether you are looking for an off-grid power solution, or you just want to install a simple emergency backup power system for your home, ShopSolarKits has everything you need.
What Do They Sell?
They sell traditional grid-tied, off-grid, and hybrid grid-tied + battery bank solar kits, as well as complete solar generator kits. As we discussed above, solar generators are incredibly practical and convenient pieces of solar equipment. All you need to do is connect a solar generator to an appropriate number of solar panels and you have portable, off-grid power that you can reliably access from anywhere. This makes them perfect for campers and RV enthusiasts, as well as those that are looking for a source of emergency power for blackouts.
Fortunately, ShopSolarKits offers a wide range of these solar generator kits. They package solar generators from some of the best brands in the industry with an appropriate array of efficient solar panels. These kits are then offered at incredibly low prices. As an added bonus, they also come with wiring and installation instructions, so even the least experienced individuals can get them up and running in no time.
For example, their EcoFlow Delta MAX Quad Kit contains a highly versatile 2,016Wh / 2,400W solar generator and x4 12V monocrystalline solar panels. You also get all of the cables, plugs, and connectors required to get it up and running in no time. All of this is available for just over $2,500! This is ideal for beginners, those with basic power needs, and anyone that is on a tight budget.
We encourage you to browse their Solar Generator Kit Collection to find a wide range of kits that can meet just about any need.
For those with greater power needs, they also sell a variety of Whole Home Solar Panel Kits, which come with everything you need to convert your entire home over to solar power. They even come with high-capacity battery banks and power walls. While Unbound Solar also offers off-grid solar kits, they carry fewer options and their solar kits often require professional installation.
Overall, Unbound Solar is a trustworthy wholesaler of large-scale, grid-tied, and off-grid solar power systems. If you are comfortable with locating and hiring your own contractors to install your system, they are certainly a more affordable option than purchasing a system directly from a local installer.
On the other hand, if you are in the market for something that you can install yourself, or you are looking for something a little bit more budget-friendly and portable, like a solar generator kit, you may want to consider another retailer, like ShopSolarKits.com.