Action 9

‘Useless panels’: Solar company complaints heating up

SANFORD, Fla. — Complaints against a solar company Action 9 first told you about five months ago have been heating up.  In some cases, homeowners claim they’ve been left to pay tens of thousands of dollars for systems that have never even been turned on.

“That’s the useless solar panels,” said Yarai Alvarez as she showed Action 9 around her Sanford home.

Alvarez thought solar energy just made sense living in Florida.  But despite receiving plenty of sun, her panels have remained dark.

She said the solar panels are actually generating more heat and causing higher electric bills because the system has never been turned on.

It’s been nearly a year since a salesman showed up at her door and she signed a $64,000 contract.  The contract she showed Action 9 had a large MC Solar logo on top and used the company name Modern Concepts Construction, LLC.

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Even though the unit never passed inspection, she claims she’s had to make monthly payments on a loan for the panels that she says are basically large hunks of useless metal on her roof.  On top of the monthly payments, she told Action 9 she’s paying even more money than before because her monthly power bills have been higher, too.

Alvarez is angry and said she feels helpless with this situation.

Action 9′s Jeff Deal first told you about MC Solar five months ago. Since that story aired, the complaints have been pouring in.  The company has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is actively investigating and it now has more than 300 complaints against the company.  Many of the complaints are from homeowners who are also having to pay on loans for panels that aren’t working.

Deal tried to reach Modern Concepts owner, Danny Chopra, at the Orlando home where his contractor’s license is listed.

No one answered the door, but later when Deal reached him by phone, Chopra blamed MC Solar’s troubles on business partners and their handling of millions of dollars while using his other company’s name, Modern Concepts Construction, LLC, on the solar contracts.

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“I’ve lost millions of dollars through this whole thing, and the reason I have is, unfortunately, I had to clear my name,” Chopra said during the phone interview.

Chopra went on to say he’s been in touch with the FBI and the Florida Attorney General’s Office to try to straighten things out.

He said, “The customers will be made whole very, very soon. They’re working on it right now as we speak.”

After Action 9 spoke with Chopra, he contacted Alvarez and her husband offering to help, but Alvarez said she really just wanted the panels and the loan gone.

The finance company Alvarez is using, Goodleap, said it works to help people in these situations.  Goodleap sent Action 9 this statement:

While the vast majority of contractors on our platform do phenomenal work, sometimes issues arise, and the homeowner asks us for help. When they do, GoodLeap works hard to fix the problem. In this case, GoodLeap has been on constant contact with the homeowner. We sourced a new contractor to get the system up and running, and have been working with the homeowner at every turn.

Alvarez confirmed after our inquiry, Goodleap sent a new contractor to connect her solar panels.  She’s now waiting for them to pass inspection.

In the meantime, she said she continues to feel the burn from having to pay for something she doesn’t have, because the system still isn’t up and running.

If someone shows up at your door offering big solar savings, Action 9 recommends you don’t sign anything until after you’ve had a few days to think about it and to fully research the company and the offer.