As solar companies fail to compete, consumers may be left with incomplete installs
SANDY, UT —
(KUTV) To look at Eileen Hawke's home, you'd assume she generates some of her own power what with the solar panels on her roof and all. But she doesn't.
Way back in May of 2016, she contracted with a company called Solei Solar, paying $29,429. Solei dispatched an installer, Centrair Electric, which installed the panels.
But Centrair, essentially, never plugged the panels in.
Hawke says she called multiple times asking that Centrair return to get the panels working. When that didn’t work, she says she called Solei - then something strange happened.
Out of the blue, she got a $500 check from Solei with a handwritten note in the memo column reading, "Satisfaction of any and all solei solar responsibilities for Eileen Hawke."
Hawke says she simply wants her panels hooked up but now neither company will respond.
“All of the numbers are disconnected,” she said. “Their corporate numbers are all gone."
Get Gephardt tired multiple tomes to reach both Solei Solar and Centrair Electric. All numbers were disconnected and Solei’s Pleasant Grove headquarters has been closed.
Ryan Evan, President of the Utah Solar Energy Association says, unfortunately, stories like Hawke’s aren't unique. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who are trying to get into the business.
“The solar industry is booming,” he said. "In the state of Utah, we have about 4400 employees from about 100 different solar companies."
But he warns that consumers should beware who they chose to hire because, with all that competition, some businesses just can't make it work. Some fold, leaving customers with little recourse.
After Get Gephardt told Evans about Hawke, he reached out to another solar company, Alliance Solar, which went out to Hawke’s house to take a look.
"It needs some work. It needs some T.L.C. to get it going but it looks like it's just going to take some man power and a few parts," Evan said.
Hawke says is now working with Alliance to get her system up and running. Alliance is doing the work free of charge, Hawke says. She is grateful.
If you find yourself on the bad end of a solar deal, the solar energy association says they would like to hear from you, too, so they can try to help where they can.