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What to consider before going solar

Solar Projects
Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 19:47:07-04

The summer months may be behind us, but for some, the bills for cooling their homes in the triple-digit heat are still being paid off.

One Valley man reached out to the Let Joe Know team saying he decided to cut costs by investing in solar, but the project was taking way longer than expected.

"They would come out and spend a half a day and then leave and then we wouldn't see him again for at least a week or maybe two," said Steven.

It started back in July when Steven and Audra signed a contract to get solar panels installed. The expected completion, mid-September.

"During this whole time, we were texting, calling emailing, and getting no response," said Audra.

When they say the deadline came with no communication and no completion, the couple got worried. Also, payments were coming up for that $40,000 loan they took out because the lender paid the contractors in full.

"Now there's no repercussion, to make them come back and do the work," said Audra.

The couple signed with Southwest Electrical Contractors, Inc. through a sales company, Ultra Energy. The loan was taken out through yet another company, Goodleap.

We reached out to all three companies and only Goodleap responded.

Goodleap says they cannot comment on Steven and Audra's project, but say:

"A GoodLeap loan is funded once the solar installation work is complete. Our loan customers receive a verification call prior to the funding of their loan in order to verify this. Separately, there can be a time lag between completion of the solar panel installation work and when that solar system is interconnected to the power grid. This utility approval process can take weeks to a few months, depending on the market. As a standard practice, GoodLeap delays customer loan payments by up to 90 days to account for utility interconnection wait times."

Steven and Audra say they never got that call.

Now we're seeing solar issues with a number of companies, so here's what you can do to protect yourself.

If the company says you'll save money, get it in writing. Verbal promises do not count.

Check reviews and average company costs through sites like SolarReviews.Com.

"I wanted a line-item quote, that would state how much everything was going to cost, and we never got it," said Audra.

In that case, walk away.

Check complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Also, in Arizona, if you sign a contract in your home, you have three days to change your mind. 

After we got involved, the good news, Steven and Audra say the installers came back and finished. They're now waiting for APS to connect their system to the grid.