Going green with solar panels costs more money for some NC residents, due to a number of complications

Lillington, NC (WTVD) — “Instead of saving money, I pay more money.”

Michael Hule is a Harnett County homeowner who went solar to save money, but it ended up costing him more money.

“They say it’s going to work, but I haven’t seen anything on the electric (bill) to date,” Howell said.

Howell decided to go solar in January 2021. A salesman from North Carolina-based solar Power Home Solar, who renamed his company Pink Energy, came to his Harnett County home and made a big promise.

“They said it would work fine with our house on the street in front and everything else. By putting it on the back roof, we could probably get up to 100% energy,” Howell recalled.

In addition to energy savings, there will be tax incentives.

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“They said once we installed them we could get a 12% tax credit.” Howell electronically signed a 37-page contract with Generac Battery Cabinet for the 13 solar panels at a cost of more than $47,000.

The sellers said that this will give it more protection.

“They say that if the power goes out, I can turn it up two units and run it, but I haven’t been able to do it yet,” he said.

Additionally, the new system stopped working shortly after installation.

“They tell me he’s going to fix it, and they send people over here and it still doesn’t work.”

He said he saw no savings on his energy bill month-to-month, but still had to pay $171 each month on the system. Howell said the company paid some of the monthly fees for the solar panels, but his biggest frustration was the lack of savings he saw after going solar.

“I haven’t done anything except be out of pocket, and I’ve tried to save money,” Howell told Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

Hawley isn’t alone, Wilson has heard from more than a dozen PowerHome Solar/Pink Energy customers in North Carolina and they all say they have systems that don’t work or see no difference in their energy bills since sunrise. .

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The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has filed more than 110 complaints against the company. More than 1,100 complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau in the past three years, and the BBB has issued a complaint-type warning to the organization.

NC State Board of Electrical Contractors Examiners In 2019, it took action against PowerHome Solar, placing the company on one-year probation for failing to respond to complaints in a timely manner, failing to complete projects, multiple expired permits and misconduct or unethical practices. Use of the license. The director general of the board said he had received other complaints as part of an open and ongoing investigation.

As for Pink Energy owner Jason Waller, he has been very vocal about the complaints and issues customers are facing on his Facebook page. He blames it on a vendor the company worked with: Generac.

A Pink Energy company spokesperson said: “Pink Energy has experienced a significant increase in customer service issues due to a faulty product by our previous supplier, Generac. The majority of Pink Energy service calls are related to this issue and this is negatively impacting our customer service capabilities. Generac National We strongly urge our customers to issue a product recall and contact Generac.

In August, Pink Energy filed a federal lawsuit against Generac alleging defective products, which affected Pink Energy’s business and reputation. However, Rose Energy did not start working with Generac until two years ago, and many of the customer complaints against the company were filed before this partnership. Pink Energy didn’t keep that.

A Generac spokesperson said in part: “In certain circumstances, particularly if product installation guidelines are not followed, such as with some Pink Energy installations, customers may experience specific problems with a specific Generac component of their solar system. – We have introduced the SnapRS 801 or 801A, a new generation quick release device, which has been designed and improved to the highest reliability standards and we are committed to making those upgrades and warranty replacements available as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Pink Energy, as an installer and service provider of such products, has discontinued Generac’s warranty support for parts, and instead of helping to quickly resolve their customer’s complaints, Pink Energy has asked Generac to take this responsibility alone. With these customers’ needs first, Generac – and always will – stand behind our products and honor our customers’ promises.

Customers like Houle are stuck in the middle as the two companies battle it out in court. Pink Energy says Howell’s issues are due to Generac equipment failures. For its problems, Pink Energy said it has made 11 payments and is now expediting three more payments due to service delays. Pink Energy also claims that the solar system is working properly and is waiting for a solar panel replacement, but that is not the case.

“I’d be happy if they came and took it off my roof. That would be nice, then I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” Howell said.

In addition to the frustrations of Pink Energy customers, company employees shared with ABC11 the letter they received from Pink Energy management. The letter informs that the employees are being laid off and that the company will be closed permanently.

Both the NC Attorney General’s Office and the BBB said they are working with Pink Energy to resolve customer complaints.

If you want to go solar, do your research on a company to protect your money, look at complaints and what others are saying. You can’t just go by what a salesperson says, you should read all of this fine print before signing anything, especially if you’re signing electronically.

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