RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Customers of a solar panel company which sparked a 10 On Your Side investigationn May find relief from the loan payments they owe on their financed solar panel systems.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jason Miyares asked several loan companies to suspend loan payments and accrue interest to customers who spent money buying solar panels from the company. Pink Energy. Miyares joined a coalition of eight other attorneys general in asking Dividend Solar Finance, GoodLeap, Cross Riverbank, Sunlight Financial, and Solar Mosaic to suspend billing.
Pink Energy customers began to bring their complaints to 10 On Your Side earlier this year, claiming that sales representatives promised that installed solar panel systems would help reduce – or even eliminate – their electricity bills.
Some customers shelled out more than $100,000 for their solar panel systems, many of whom financed their purchases through third-party companies, only to find that the systems did not perform as promised.
In September, Pink Energy closed for good and later filed for bankruptcy, leaving many customers feeling helpless.
“Many Virginians were caught off guard by Pink Energy’s sudden bankruptcy. As a result, affected consumers are stuck paying debts for ineffective or unusable solar panels on top of their electricity bills. -joining this coalition, we’re trying to ease the strain on Virginians’ wallets while actively monitoring the situation,” Miyares said.
Attorney General Miyares joined attorneys general from Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee in signing the letter.
See the letter here.
Ricardo Pistone was one of the customers 10 On Your Side interviewed for our initial investigation into the company.
“When they come into your house to sell you this product, they’re making it look like they’re the saviors of the electricity world,” said Pistone, who signed an $85,000 contract with the company — formerly known as Power Home Solar — in July 2021.
“Everything they said was very nice. They said my electric bill would be down to $13, $14 a month. It’s not like that at all,” Pistone said.
In their letter, the attorneys general explained that several complaints received by their offices allege that Pink Energy made “false representations about the capabilities of the systems and expected reductions in the electricity bill .”
As a result, consumers “who were led to believe that they made an environmentally friendly and financially prudent decision by purchasing a solar power system from Pink, are now stuck paying a loan for a bad one.” solar power system on top of their monthly electricity bill.”
For six months, Pink Energy refused our many requests for an interview with the company’s CEO, but on September 7 of this year, Jayson Waller spoke publicly for the first time in a press conference.
Waller acknowledged the increasing number of customer complaints and blamed what he called “faulty equipment” supplied by their partner, Generac.
“These faulty parts cause the solar panels to not produce the energy they are expected to produce, causing customer complaints and our sales team overselling and under-delivering,” he said.
Generac provides some Pink Energy customers with a device called a snaps, which is designed to shut off power to the solar panels when the voltage gets too high. Waller said the faulty snaps don’t allow the solar panel systems his company installs to function at their peak.
He then announced that Pink Energy had filed a lawsuit against Generac, claiming the company owed them more than $39 million for invoices related to calls related to their equipment.
In a written statement, Generac told 10 On Your Side that they “stand by their products” and that “in some situations, especially when product guidelines are not followed, as seen in the case of some installations of Pink Energy, customers may have experienced some issues with snap rs 801 or 801-a.
However, Waller blamed Generac for the customers’ frustrations.
“Our customers have been hurt, our employees have been judged unfairly, and our company’s reputation has been seriously damaged,” Waller said.
Immediately following the press conference, Waller also sat down with us for a brief one-on-one interview where he addressed some of the customer complaints in Hampton Roads – including those described by the owners at home aggressive sales tactics.
“We don’t have any issues with the marketing tactics. Our proposals again see that we don’t have issues with that. The issues go back to the Generac problem.
Waller added that the company is trying to monitor its sales – chasing customers mostly by phone, so the conversations are recorded.
“Everything is recorded so if there’s a question like ‘Hey Julie, we know you’re thinking this, let us send you the video so you know what’s going on,'” he said.
You can watch our full interview with Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller below: