What if my solar company goes out of business and I need service? (2023)

Solar energy can power your home with clean, renewable energy for decades. Because solar kits last so long, you may be wondering, "What happens if my solar company goes out of business and I need service?"

Faced with fierce competition from a growing number of installers, many solar companies have filed for bankruptcy or gone out of business. So what happens when your solar company no longer exists? This guide tells you why a solar company goes bankrupt and what to do when your solar installer goes out of business.

Why do solar companies go bankrupt?

The solar industry is growing, so you may be wondering why a solar company goes out of business. There are many reasons for this, including poor customer service, substandard equipment, legal action, and night flights by solar companies.

bad customer service

Many solar companies are more interested in installing solar systems in the homes of new customers than supporting their existing customers' solar systems. For these companies, continuous customer service is not a priority.

In some cases, companies lure consumers into buying cheap, inferior solar products with low prices and "too good to be true" offers. When users encounter issues, installers may ignore these claims because they cannot fix the underlying issues or are inexperienced in solar service, and thus unsuccessfully attempt to find a solution.

A company that cannot provide solutions to customer complaints will not have a good reputation, and those unhappy customers will spread their unhappy experiences, making it harder for that company to win new business. Eventually her reputation caught up with her and the company filed for solar bankruptcy.

inferior equipment

Inexpensive solar systems can lower the initial cost of solar power, but these inexpensive systems are more likely to develop problems over time. This can result in customers making multiple service requests, repairs, and replacements, which can strain company resources. If an installer cannot fix the faulty computer, you may need to shut down.

Complain

Misleading advertising and violating consumer laws can ruin a business if someone takes legal action. One reason solar companies are sued is that some companies trick consumers into buying products that don't meet promised specifications.

Consumers have also complained that companies mislead them about the total cost of installing solar panels or overestimate their solar savings. The Federal Trade Commission imposes heavy fines on these rogue companies and sometimes forces them out of business.

„Fly-by-Night“-Solarunternehmen

Government incentives such asSolar Tax Creditand a steady decline in solar power system prices have led to strong demand for solar power. As a result, many solar companies have sprung up trying to fill some of that demand.

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These companies often had experience in other areas of the construction industry, such as B. roofers, electricians, general contractors and investment firms, but not the experience required to run a solar business.

Since the solar energy business was new to many, the learning curve was quite steep. Some inexperienced companies had problems installing and maintaining their systems, while others offered guarantees they couldn't honor.

Eventually, these companies went out of business or switched to the nearest "hot" home improvement store, leaving consumers with no clear options for solar support and maintenance.

Story of solar companies going out of business

Between 2000 and 2016, approximately 8,700 unique solar companies installed at least one solar power system on American homes. At the end of 2016, only 2,900 installers were still active, meaning two-thirds of all solar companies were facing bankruptcy or bankruptcy.

Most of the companies that have closed have been smaller solar companies that only serve a few homes, but even some solar heavyweights, like the examples below, have struggled to stay in business long-term. The list of bankrupt solar companies is long and filled with companies of all shapes and sizes.

2020 has been a particularly difficult year for solar companies as the COVID-19 pandemic restricts how companies can market and install solar power systems. Customers were reluctant to have anyone in their home and this meant that some big names faced major challenges to stay in business.

solar real estate- A pioneer in the US solar industry, installing rooftop solar panels as early as 1978, Real Goods Solar raised more than $50 million from investors when it went public in 2008. Unfortunately, they struggled to make the business viable and attempted to push through the sale of Dow's powerhouse solar tiles in 2019 before the solar company finally filed for bankruptcy in January 2020.

sunshine- Founded in 2007, Sungevity was once the fourth-largest US rooftop solar company in terms of market share after raising $70 million in capital from investors by 2014. Share takeover created two separate companies, Solar Spectrum and Horizon Solar Power, operating under should operate on the roof of Sungevity. Unfortunately, this plan didn't work and in March 2020 400 employees were laid off before completely closing in November 2020.

EnergyONE- Since its inception in 2013, EnergyONE was once a multi-divisional national brand that installed commercial, residential and rural solar PV systems throughout the Midwestern states of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma. As business slowed, they consolidated over a two-year period before finally merging with KC Energy Solar in October 2020 to become EnergyONE Renewables.

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NRG CasaSolar- NRG is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, and NRG Home Solar was its attempt to enter the solar market, including acquiring portable solar power company Goal Zero. At one point in 2015, NRG Home Solar was the fourth largest residential solar installer in the country, but that same year its solar division lost $175 million. In 2016, they attempted a reorganization, moving out of California, Connecticut, and North Carolina to focus on Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, but still couldn't get the solar business up and running. Ultimately, NRG announced it would close its NRG Home Solar installation business and instead focus on generating solar contacts through its retail business to sell to third parties.

Petersen-Dean- Founded in 1984 by Jim Petersen, Petersen-Dean was once one of the largest independent roofing and solar companies in the nation with nearly 3,000 roofing and solar employees in nine states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma Texas. COVID-19 hit Petersen-Dean particularly hard, and they said their solar lines dropped 87% between March and May 2020. Faced with mounting debt, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2020.

Empire Solar Group- Founded by Abby Buchmiller and Amanda Roseburg, Empire Solar Group was a women-led solar company with a vendor-based engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model that operated in 14 states and was valued at over $150 million at its peak had US dollars. Huge financial commitments were piling up, and Suntuity Solar stepped in to work with Empire to help navigate the company's financial uncertainty. Suntuity provided millions of dollars in financial support and hired Rock Creek Advisors to lead a reorganization, but even after extensive cost-cutting measures, Empire was unable to continue its business without significant leverage. In August 2021, Empire Solar closed and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, and former employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company's founders.

Sullivan solar energy-- Founded in 2004 by Daniel Sullivan, Sullivan Solar focused on the San Diego, California area and installed more than 9,000 solar power systems in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties. Perhaps his most famous installation was a 336,520-watt solar array for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, the largest solar array of any Major League Baseball stadium. In November 2021, Sullivan Solar Power closed its doors and stopped answering calls, leaving customers with no clear choice about what to do with the maintenance or installation of their solar power systems.

What happens if my solar company goes bust?

What happens when your solar company goes out of business depends on your installer. Have you worked with a large national or regional installer or a relatively small local contractor? Here's how each situation could affect you:

Major installers nationwide

Typically, when a large solar installation company goes out of business or goes out of business, another clean energy company steps in and acquires the remaining assets and provides solar support for its existing customers.

For example, when Sungevity filed for bankruptcy as a solar company in 2017, Sunrun acquired all existing solar leases, making Sunrun the service provider for Sungevity customers, ensuring the continuity of their solar energy service.

Small local installers

Depending on the size of the business, when a local solar installer goes out of business, sometimes larger clean energy companies come in and acquire existing customers. In this case, the buyer assumes responsibility for all the services promised to the customer and hires a new supplier to service and maintain their solar system as their original installer would have done.

However, not all small solar companies find a willing buyer, and even if they buy your original company, you may not want to work with the new company. For this reason, we suggest that solar customers enroll in a solar operations and maintenance (O&M) program such aspalm protection.

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An O&M plan that you purchase from an outside solar service provider provides long-term solar maintenance and support. Think of it like sun insurance, making sure everything works right and helping you save when things don't go as they should.

If your solar company goes out of business, your O&M provider will continue to service and repair your solar system just as your original installer would have done, so you never have to worry about solar support when needed.

If your solar installer goes out of business you may still have a warranty covering potential problems with your equipment, but solar warranty work can be complicated to manage so it's much easier to hire the O&M provider with your equipment. Your name as they can save you money and definitely save you a lot of heartache.

What happens to my solar lease if the company goes out of business?

If your solar power was purchased through a lease, you may have some protection if your solar company goes out of business. Solar leasing often includes a production guarantee since the leasing company owns the equipment, not the owner. Therefore, if the solar power system is not generating electricity due to a maintenance or service issue, the leasing company has an incentive to get the system up and running as soon as possible.

If your original solar leasing company goes out of business, your lease will almost certainly be taken over by another company, who will then become your primary service and support provider in exchange for your ongoing lease payments.

When a solar leasing company goes bankrupt, the liquidation process treats your lease as an asset. As a result, other solar companies will seek to acquire these assets at a price that will allow them to make long-term profits. The new entity, acquiring the old company, will take responsibility for the maintenance of the solar panel system.

What kind of service and maintenance do solar panels need?

Regular maintenance and servicing are essential to keep your solar power system running properly, safely and efficiently. Optimal performance gives you maximum savings on your energy bills, and a well-maintained system can last for decades.

One of the most important service and maintenance requirements for solar panels is to keep them clean. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, which can affect the performance of the entire system. In addition, water ingress and extreme weather conditions such as hail and excessive heat can cause system damage or lost production.

The following is a list of some of the service and maintenance tasks that a solar service specialist can perform:

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  • Clean the plates and make sure they are free from defects.
  • Inspection of parts for corrosion and wear.
  • Dust and dirt removal from ventilation slots
  • Make sure all electrical components are working properly
  • Check wiring and switches for defects.
  • Make sure accessories and cables are secure
  • Free access to circuit breakers
  • Check the inverter data for recorded errors
  • Ensure emergency procedures are visible and legible

Pro tip:Keep all documentation from your original solar installer, as the product warranty may cover some issues, but you need to know who made the unit, when it was purchased, and other details your documentation should include. Also keep in mind that many warranties require you to keep your solar system in good working order, so a service plan like thispalm protectionIt's an easy way to show you've kept up with all maintenance and support needs.

Do all solar companies offer service?

If you're looking to install a new solar system in your home, it's easy to find several installers willing to do the job. Unfortunately, finding a company that can diagnose and repair solar systems is not that easy. Only about 0.1% of all solar companies are service oriented, so it can be difficult to know who to trust to keep your solar systems running smoothly, safely and efficiently.

The shortage of qualified solar maintenance technicians is due to many companies not wanting to invest in training staff to perform the service. It is easier to train people to install new solar systems than to familiarize themselves with the details of a wide range of older system types and manufacturers, some of whom may already have experiencegave up the businesssince the device was first installed.

For a high-performance solar power system that will serve you reliably all year round, work with a full-service provider. Palmetto is proud to be one of the top five solar utility companies in the United States and we are trained and equipped to solve any problem your photovoltaic system may have.

What if I want to upgrade my solar system?

The good news is that even if your solar company goes out of business, it's usually still possible to upgrade your solar system or add additional solar panels. This work does not have to be done by the original installer, but it is good to find a company that has experience working on a variety of types of solar systems as they know what systems can be made to work with.

Keep in mind that most solar companies have a minimum number of panels that can be installed, but no maximum limit. The minimum number helps make the installation economically viable, but may not take into account future family growth and long-term energy needs. Plus, unplanned additions, like buying an electric vehicle, can mean it's time to upgrade your solar power system.

As with most solar projects, the costs associated with permits and labor can be significant, so you want any retrofit project to be inexpensive. If you want to learn more about your upgrade options,palm to palm contacttoday so we can review your home and help you create a solar upgrade plan.

My solar system is not working. What options do I have?

There are a few things you can do yourself to fix minor problems with your solar power system. For example, you can remove obstacles like branches that might prevent the panels from receiving maximum sunlight. You can also confirm that the inverter LED is lit (usually green) or tripped circuit breakers turn on.

If your solar power system has failed and your solar company goes out of business, your best bet is to contact a solar service professional for repairs. Palmetto strives to provide robust, long-term, comprehensive energy savings and support to every solar home owner, regardless of who installed their system. So if you have work to do, send oneservice requestand we're happy to help you get your system up and running again.

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An experienced solar service company like Palmetto will perform comprehensive diagnostics that can quickly identify any faults in your system. Once the problem has been diagnosed, experienced technicians know the correct parts for various solar system components to ensure your system is safely repaired and provides years of reliable service.

Even if your original solar business went broke, you can save on solar operations, service, support and maintenancepalm protection. With real-time energy monitoring, one-click customer support, comprehensive energy recommendations and world-class service, you can rest assured that your solar energy system is always running at peak efficiency and that we're here to help if something isn't working right.

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