ORLANDO, Fla. - A local homeowner felt burned by a solar contractor that was supposed to cut his power bill in half.
Four months later, the system can't even be turned on and the company stopped returning his calls.
He turned to Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich who uncovered lots of complaints and found a way to end his solar nightmare.
The homeowner paid $47,000 to install a system of solar panels on his roof that four months later has not saved him a dime.
“I would recommend that company to no one,” Daron Curry said.
He said Setup My Solar, the contractor, convinced him the company’s system offered big power bill savings.
“My bill was like $300 a month, so it would cut it in half,” Curry said.
Curry signed a contract and loan last May. The system was installed in one day.
The contract included connecting to the utility's lines, final inspection and turning the unit on. He said none of those things happened.
When he called Setup My Solar, he couldn’t get answers.
“All you get is an answering machine. It’s nice music, but no one is responding,” Curry said.
He contacted his utility, Duke Energy. He said a Duke Energy representative told him the system can't be connected to the grid because the contractor didn't finish the job.
The Better Business Bureau gives the Setup My Solar an F rating for a pattern of complaints, including misrepresentation.
Curry is a 28-year Army veteran who suffered a stroke just two weeks ago. He says he is now feeling blindsided by a company that was supposed to save him money.
“I would never expect what I'm going through with my health. The stress it's putting on my heart,” Curry said.
John Sherwin at the Florida Solar Energy Center said a solar contract includes interconnection and the installer is required to finish the job.
“You paid for a service to install, just like an air conditioner or anything else. They're going to install it, they're going to turn it on and help you understand how it works,” Sherwin said.
Ulrich contacted Setup My Solar and the company responded through an email. The email states that the company is closing and a new company, 320 Solar, is taking over to complete the installation within weeks.
What does Curry think about solar now?
“I wish I would have never thought about it,” Curry said.
Since Ulrich reached out to the new contractor, the utility application was completed, and Curry’s system was inspected.
Experts say if you're considering a solar system, you should never pay in full upfront. Make a final payment after the system is turned on and passes inspection.
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