What you can do if a solar company leaves you hanging

Over the past few months, our Action Line volunteers have fielded more than half a dozen complaints about solar companies either going out of business or not living up to customers’ expectations.

The Hawaii Better Business Bureau says one of the most common complaints from customers is about getting a company to honor a warranty on a solar power system. In at least one recent case, a woman says a company that installed her panels went out of business.

“You could be left searching for someone to take over this warranty, and there are companies out there that will do that. They’ll take over service and warranties of panels that aren’t their own,” said Hawaii Better Business Bureau marketplace manager Jason Kama.

The Hawaii Better Business Bureau says the manufacturers of the panels, not the solar company, often offer warranties, but you need to look at your warranty to find out exactly what it covers and work with the solar company to resolve any issues.

In several other cases, homeowners claim they’re paying electric bills higher than what they expected, and are having problems getting the company to respond to their concerns.

“Our recommendation is to funnel any complaints into the BBB and let us follow up with that for you, because what we can do is when a complaint comes in and we follow up with the company, we’ll take the onus of following up and making sure that that communication gets back,” said Kama.

Also, customers are reporting having problems getting their panels serviced or repaired.

The BBB says make sure you notify the company immediately if you notice something is wrong, and they say, homeowners should be monitoring their systems regularly to ensure it is working properly. That includes paying close attention to your electric bill for any irregularities.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222, weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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