CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte man waited nearly two years for a set of solar panels to be installed and delivered and only received them after WBTV got involved.
Lindbergh Smiley already had solar panels but they were damaged during a storm and still sit on his roof. He ended up buying new ones from Sirius Power with the promise that they were bigger, better and would deliver more power output.
“The panels that I have on the roof now are smaller than the panels that they are supposed to replace,” Smiley said.
But Smiley only has two and was still owed six more from Sirius Power. He signed his contract in February 2019.
“It just gets to a point, what should I do? That’s when I called WBTV,” Smiley said.
Smiley is not the only person juggling problems with a solar power company. WBTV has received at least a dozen emails or calls from viewers complaining about problems with their solar panels.
“There’s some companies that work and follow better guidelines both by ethic and by law,” NC Sustainable Energy Association Counsel Ben Smith said.
NC Sustainable Energy Association is a non-profit that works toward the advancement of renewable energies. Smith said when solar rebates and tax credits became available to consumers there was a rush of people looking to get into the industry.
“That really was throwing gasoline on the fire and accelerated the amount of people who were getting rooftop solar installed and with that came a gold rush for installers,” Smith said.
In response NCSEA created a code of conduct for solar companies and published a list of companies that have signed up. NCSEA investigates complaints against its member companies but Smith said most complaints are against companies not in their membership and there’s not much they can do.
“Over 90 percent of the complaints we’ve gotten have been about non-members and we think that’s consistent with the fact that they haven’t signed this code of conduct,” Smith said.
Sirius Power is not part of the NCSEA membership group. WBTV found court filings against Sirius Power, its subsidiary companies and owners Scott and Jennifer Sanford showing that they owed more than $30,000 in unpaid bills and loans.
WBTV reached out to Sirius Power to ask why they hadn’t delivered and installed Smiley’s solar panels. In response Sirius Power said they were dealing with internal issues but were unable to switch out his panels until now.
Within the week Smiley let us know Sirius Power finally delivered on their deal.