Solar customer promised federal tax credit finds out after the fact she doesn’t qualify

Tracy Parker purchased a solar system on the promise of a federal tax credit she later learned...
Tracy Parker purchased a solar system on the promise of a federal tax credit she later learned she doesn't qualify for.(WBTV)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Gaston County woman reached out to WBTV after her purchase of solar panels turned out to be much more expensive than what she was sold. After WBTV’s intervention, the company responsible for the mistake is working to fix the price of her expensive solar system.

Tracy Parker was minding her business at home when a salesperson for On It Energy knocked on her door.

“He was just showing up at my house,” Parker said.

Parker ended up buying a solar system and battery for a total cost more than $50,000 she took a loan out for.

The solar equipment was provided by Elevation Home Energy Solutions and the loan from LoanPal.

There were numerous rebates and tax credits that Parker was promised to offset the price. The big one was a federal tax credit.

Paperwork provided by the On It representative shows that Parker would receive $13,217.73 in federal tax credits. The FTC isn’t a one-time check but instead a credit that counts toward the taxes you already owe.

But for Parker there was one big problem.

“I’m on disability, I don’t owe taxes,” Parker told WBTV.

Records provided by Parker show that she receives monthly disability installments and has no other income. She doesn’t pay federal taxes.

Steve Kalland is Executive Director of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State. He said there are frequently complaints about how tax credits and rebates are marketed to solar customers.

“That that is the piece that we do run into problems with is, is people making claims on occasion that don’t match up to the reality both on the rebate and on the tax credit side,” Kalland said.

Even though Parker said she told the salesperson she was on disability, the federal tax credit still appears on the paperwork for On It and Elevation. Parker’s financials were provided to the company for her to receive the loan.

WBTV emailed On It, Elevation and LoanPal asking why the federal tax credit was promised to Parker, and why this wasn’t explained before she applied for a loan.

The CEO of On IT responded Tuesday writing “We are working through options that would best suit her situation.  We have identified the root problem caused by the representative, and the rep no longer is contracted or represents the company.  We are hoping to have this resolution for Ms. Parker by the end of the day.”

Kalland says that people considering purchasing their own solar equipment should be careful.

“It is a little bit of a concern and some of the organizations that work with the industry in the state have been trying to address it,” Kalland said.

The NC Sustainable Energy Association has a code of ethics that numerous solar companies have signed on to. It’s a helpful guide for consumers before they pull the trigger on a major solar purchase.

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