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Recent news about ADT closes its solar divisionYou may be left with a big question: what happens to me if the solar company I work for closes? What happens to the warranties?
A representative from ADT told CNET via email that ADT will honor their warranties.
“ADT stands by the products and services we sell, as well as our work.” The representative stated that we back this conviction up with strong warranties to protect our customers. “Regardless of ADT’s new strategic direction, we will continue to honor the 25-year limited Workmanship Guarantee and 25 year Power Production Guarantee that are included in our contracts. All manufacturer’s warranties will remain unchanged, and will cover all major system components, including panels, inverters and mounting systems.
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The solar industry is booming in the last few years, breaking residential install records and adoption rates. A market that is saturated can be a result of a lot money being made.
“It’s pretty crowded,” said Gilbert MichaudAssistant professor at the School of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago. “With this comes more companies who are playing in the Sandbox.”
ADT, which is best known for its home security system, jumped onto the solar bandwagon as soon as it was introduced. Sunpro Solar purchased in 2021 and expanded its solar footprint into 22 states. It’s now, just a couple of years later, jumping off the bandwagon citing lackluster numbers.
Solar companies are constantly changing and evolving.
Even though it may seem like a nightmare, there are still ways to keep the solar array in good condition even if your solar installer is no longer operating. There’s actually a lot that you can do up front, such as Finding a reliable installerPrevent the worst outcomes.
We spoke to experts and learned the following.
Why do solar companies cease to exist?
Michaud said that there are a variety of reasons why a solar company might fail. Here are some common factors:
- Some companies only play to exploit others government subsidies, resulting in a lack of quality work and eventual failure. These are the “bad apples.”
- Sometimes, companies merge or are bought by a larger company.
- Some installers are motivated to enter the industry, but lack experience. They can’t survive.
- Other installers may not be specialized in solar and do other types of work, such as roofing or electrical. These contractors may eventually stop doing solar work or cease to exist.
- Poor customer service and low quality equipment can quickly bring down a solar company with bad reviews.
- A solar company can also be destroyed by bankruptcy or legal action, which could result from any of the above factors.
What happens to the solar loan or lease if my solar company fails?
You can take on a new job if you want to. Solar lease or LoanThe lease or loan from a solar company which has closed down should be transferred, at least in principle, to a new business.
Michaud recommends that you read the fine print in your original contract. You may even be notified that the installer has stopped working and that your solar panel leaseholder is a new person.
If you want to know more about the. solar loanIf the payment is made to a lender independent of the installer then nothing should change.
What happens if the solar company I bought my product from goes out of business?
Michaud says that if your solar panel warranty is with the actual manufacturer, which is usually different than the installer, then your warranty should be unaffected.
You may still want to ask questions of the panel company. Michaud suggests looking for the phone number on your equipment, and calling the manufacturer. “You can use your equipment to figure out the next step,” he said.
If the solar installer no longer exists, your warranty could be transferred. Technically, the company is required to honor a warranty. So, there should be a mechanism in place for that to happen, unless it’s a really shady actor.
How can you protect your self if the solar company that you work for goes out of business.
Prepare yourself before the event. Michaud emphasizes the importance of Finding a solid businessThere are many other things you can do.
- Purchase an extended warranty directly from the manufacturer to protect yourself in the event that the installer goes out of business.
- Keep your paperwork in an accessible place so you can easily find it if you want to reread your contract or look up a phone number.
- Solar operations and management companies who specialize in maintenance can help if your panels require maintenance that neither you nor your installer are able to do. But the same advice still applies: Do due diligence before hiring anyone.
- If you feel that you have been ScamsConsider Find legal help.
- If you feel you have been taken advantage of by the Department of Energy Website saysYou can report suspected scams, frauds and “bad business practice” to the Federal Trade Commission.
- On a state level, laws vary. This tool is provided by USA.govThis search engine allows you to find the local consumer protection office for your state.
What are “fly-by night” solar companies and what impact do they have on the industry?
The type of company mentioned above is a “fly by night” solar company. It’s the type of company that uses tax credits and customers as a way to generate a lot more revenue.
Michaud said they have a profound impact on the solar sector as a whole. He said that word of mouth and reputation are important. “Even one person that has a bad experience … they go tell their neighbors and friends.” This can snowball to a larger perception that solar is a scam and hurt adoption rates.
As with any other thing, people who have good experiences don’t usually talk as much as those who are unhappy. Therefore, fly-by-night businesses create a distorted reputation of the industry.
Why it is important to choose a reputable solar company
Michaud recommends that homeowners take a look at ReviewsAsk their neighbors, and make sure that the company they choose is insured, certified, and has been in business at least for five years. They should also use high-quality materials. If an offer seems too good to be real, it probably is. “You get what your pay for sometimes,” said he.
Check with the North American Board of Certified Energy PractitionersBefore signing with an installer.