Email from SunPower this morning...
Thank you for your comments. Fundamentally they make sense, however in the leasing business there are tax related issues in regards to each transaction with SunPower and our funding sources. There are many accounting related activities that happen behind the scenes in regards to tax matters that the government requires us to comply with. That is why NTP cannot happen at the exact same time with our inspection. We are continuously adding new funding partners which allow us to continue to offer the leasing program and the NTP delay is in regards to accurately satisfying the tax process with those partners.
We appreciate your patience during this process."
This to me proves the process is not mature yet. The technology has made great strides but, it is being held back by paperwork.
I want SunPower to get this right so, I fowarded these suggestions with the following email to SunPower's CEO. Note, I forwarded last night this prior to the above email.
I am sending this a so that you may improve your company.
You don't know me but, I am trying to be one of your customers and advocates. I was excited about your leasing plan. But, I am at 60 days+ from the time I signed a lease and 20+ of those days are directly because of SunPower's own leasing department. Some just to countersign my lease and get the process rolling (took 13 days to countersign the lease) and the over a 8 days from installation and inspection so far I still don't have a notice to proceed from SunPower. For a company that has such great tools for monitoring PV power production you have no good way of seeing what is the paperwork holdup (so, I emailed and was persistent and wanted so see what was the holdup).
In the beginning I started to blog about my excitement for one of your systems but, now I blog about the process flow while I wait and wait. I have it on my roof and inspected (the installers were great) but, SunPower's own process is holding up the process and that negatively effects the company and in my view residential solar. I was trying to detail the process for the others who follow my blog. So to detail the flow I contacted my installers and they said it was in SunPower's hands so to learn more I contacted the company. Your customer service folks did a good job trying to find out what was the holdup and with that I figured out it was caught in process that in my view is either broken or way too slow. Heck, SCE seems to be moving faster than SunPower's leasing process.
In a world where I can lease a car on the spot and drive it out the door the same day it should not take this long for a Notice To Proceed. My last home refinance took about a week. I have several other folks I am working with I recommend they look at the lease but, this makes the company not look so good.
To make it clear this is a process problem. Once a customer has the system installed the notice to proceed should not take more then a day after the city or county inspector is done. You should have an online system so an end customer can see where the application is in the process and who's desk it is on with accountability to the end customer. SunPower should not be the bottleneck to it own process. The leasing department should have all the paperwork ready prior to installation so, that once they get the inspection complete they can get the the Notice to Proceed out within a few hours. If they can not do this they should allow the installers to get permission to operate without waiting for the other papers.
I truly hope SunPower can fix its process and lease or sell more systems. No customer should have to wait for SunPower to get its paperwork in order if a system is ready to roll."