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Homeowners say solar panels shouldn't be their problem

Posted at 7:29 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 21:29:06-05

Deep in Goodyear is Canta Mia, a 55-plus subdivision with the big sell of energy efficient homes.

The builder AV Homes touts awards it's received for innovation in green home design, but some homeowners we spoke with are not happy with the solar company it chose to install their solar panels.

Dan Haarstad says when he bought his new house in 2013, the builder had already picked the panels and the installer.

"If you ordered a house or had a house built they would install Echo (first) Solar," he says. "It was a requirement." 

But just a few years into owning the home, Dan says he and dozens of his neighbors were barely generating any power.

And when they called for warranty service, "there was nobody to contact anymore."

Echo First Solar was taken over by another company, Sun Edison. But in April 2016 that company filed bankruptcy and according to homeowners was unreachable.  In December 2017 Sun Edison emerged from chapter 11 as a shell of itself.  Court documents show it operates out of St. Louis, but phone numbers are out of service, and our emails have gone unreturned.

Dan and his neighbors went to the builder for help, hoping they would help them foot the bill since they chose the solar company in the first place.

"This was AV Homes' concept. They sold us on this system." He says their response was "a letter letting us know that they are not responsible."

But Dan asks if not them, then who?

AV Homes stopped using that solar company on newer homes, but Dan says those stuck with their first choice should be treated better.

"It makes me feel used," he says.

Dan has already replaced his, but says he'd like to be reimbursed for some of what he spent.

So you make the call, should the builder be responsible?  Or should homeowners be forced to pay for another solar panel system?

Go to the Let Joe Know Facebook page and let me know your thoughts.