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

Customers mislead on solar panel tax credit

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 OnIt 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 OnIt 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.

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.”

By Wednesday more answers and solutions to Ms. Parker’s situation were provided.

WBTV also had questions about how Parker was able to qualify for the loan in the first place. According to the On It CEO, Curtis Kindred, LoanPal did not verify her income and instead only used her credit score to qualify her for the loan. Kindred said that Elevation has sent a request to LoanPal asking for what Ms. Parker submitted as her income.

Kindred also said that the salesperson offered Parker a $1,800 rebate, without informing his superiors about it. He said they will now honor that original offer.

In addition, Elevation has agreed to pay a rebate for loss of production for the time the system was installed and was not producing energy to offset Ms. Parkers electricity bill from the time of install until the system started producing.

Kalland says that people considering purchasing their own solar equipment should make sure to do their homework.

“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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