‘It’s not right’: Homeowners feel abandoned after spending a fortune on solar systems they can’t use

ORLANDO, Fla. — To many homeowners, going solar in the sunshine state makes perfect sense, but not if you’re stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars for panels that can’t even be turned on.

“Seminole County’s inspector said that there’s a couple of the panels that were completely loose on the end,” Robert Duffendak said referring to his solar system. The unit is useless because it hasn’t passed inspection.

“We heard their pitch, and they made a lot of promises.” Duffendak said he liked what he heard from the door-to-door salesman.

Eight months ago, he signed a $100,000-contract with MC Solar out of Tampa to convert his home in Chuluota into a sun-loving energy producer.

“Um, but unfortunately, that, that didn’t pan out,” Duffendak said.

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“The panel, sure enough, went up within a few weeks but after that, everything went downhill,” Melissa Keating said.

She and her husband, Kyle, agreed to pay MC Solar $66,000 for the solar system on their Winter Garden home, but like Duffendak’s, it too sits without power.

“Just a useless box,” Kyle said pointing to the shutdown switch on the side of his home.

Keating’s system also failed inspection. Leaving both families paying on loans for systems they can’t use, and they’re not the only ones.

“There is a pattern of complaints currently and the company does have an F-rating with the Better Business Bureau due to not responding to complaints,” Bryan Oglesby said.

Oglesby is with the West Florida BBB. They’ve received over 90 complaints about MC Solar. Most of the complaints involve consumers that can’t get their systems running after signing contracts for tens of thousands of dollars. Since the company has not been responding to some customers, the BBB posted an alert suggesting consumers file complaints with the attorney general.

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“Doing a little bit of that homework on the front end is going to help save you from choosing one of these bad actors and having these problems where the job is not finished, or you’re left paying the money and not getting anything in return,” Oglesby said.

MC Solar is owned by general contractor Danny Chopra, who has other businesses with addresses in the Orlando area. Consumer investigator Jeff Deal went to two locations and was not able to find Chopra there. Chopra has not returned Deal’s calls.

After Action 9 spoke to the Keatings, the couple received a text from MC Solar, but they’re still waiting and making loan payments on their powerless panels.

“I just want this company to be held accountable and for other companies like it, to know that, you know, consumers aren’t going to let them get away with this. It’s not right. It’s too much of an investment for people to be ignored,” Melissa Keating said.

The Florida attorney general’s office told Action 9 they are actively investigating MC Solar and so far, the agency has received over 70 complaints.

If any company offers you zero energy costs, that’s typically a red flag. Make sure to take time to think over any door-to-door offers before you sign.

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