CLAYTON, NC — A North Carolina-based solar energy company promised its customers big savings on their electricity bills, then sold them expensive solar panels that didn’t work, customers told WRAL’s 5 On Your Side .

Phillip Harris, from Clayton, installed Pink Energy’s solar panels a year ago. He said he’s paying off his $39,000 solar system and still has a regular Duke Energy electric bill.

“It was supposed to be a guaranteed investment and it wasn’t,” he said.

Pink Energy, formally known as PowerHome Solar, told Harris that his solar panels could produce enough electricity to reduce his electricity bill by 96%. But currently, only six of his 18 panels are working.

“I thought it would be better [and] help with my payments,” Harris said.

Nine people have complained to WRAL’s 5 On Your Side about the same energy company in the last three months.

Jayson Walker, Pink Energy CEO and co-founder, said the problem was a faulty component made by a third party.

Pink Energy received one of their parts, called SnapRS, from the manufacturer Generac.

“If we don’t do the part, we can’t fix a part that keeps failing,” Waller said.

Waller wants to take SnapRS back from Generac.

“If the government participates in a recall, customers will be reimbursed in full,” he said.

However, in a statement to WRAL’s 5 On Your Side, a Generac spokesperson Tami Kou blamed Pink Energy’s installers for the bad part.

“We are aware of instances where Pink Energy has failed to install products in compliance with NEC (National Electrical Code) guidance, as required by our installation instructions,” he said.

Waller said his company guarantees installation systems for 10 years, but problems with individual parts are guaranteed by the manufacturer. He said Pink Energy mandated all SnapRS warranty claims with Generac.

Kou said the process slows down their ability to respond to customer complaints.

“Pink Energy – the installer and service provider – has made the unilateral decision to stop offering Generac warranty support,” he said. “Instead of helping expedite the resolution of their customer complaints, they are asking Generac to simply assume this responsibility.”

Customer Harris tried to go through Generac for repairs, but he said the list of contractors provided by Generac was nowhere to be found.

“Of the five contractors, three didn’t respond, one responded and said Generac wasn’t paying enough, the fifth responded and said they were an installation and not a service company,” Harris said.

We asked Generac about that, but they did not respond in their response.

“We understand that consumers are frustrated with Pink Energy and their inaction. However, Generac remains committed to our customers. We have contracted with high-quality third-party providers to perform the services of warranty on Generac products, now that Pink Energy will no longer provide this service to its customers,” said Generac spokeswoman Tami Kou.

Pink Energy and Generac have terminated their employment relationship over this dispute.

The solar energy company is now suing Generac, claiming these issues cost them $155 million in sales and the company’s $1 billion dollar valuation fell by more than half.

Generac called the lawsuit and Waller’s inflammatory public statements a distraction tactic.

Pink Energy also said it will have to lay off 1,100 employees, 300 of which are based in North Carolina.

While the two companies battle in court and in public, there are thousands of customers like Harris who are waiting for a fix or some relief.

“Until it is decided who is guilty, the payments should be stopped. That’s all,” he said.

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