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Homeowners paid big $ for solar-powered system, say Utah installer will not finish job

Jun 29, 2023, 11:03 AM | Updated: 11:10 am

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — People are installing solar panels to save money on their power bills, but some who have hired Utah-based solar installer say bills have gone up because the panels simply do not work.

Flavio Sampallo believed the door-to-door salesman who told him that installing solar panels would save money.

“That was the plan,” Sampallo told us.

But that plan has not worked out. Those panels have been up on his roof for nearly a year, but are still not generating power.

“With the interest and everything, it was like $48,000,” Sampallo said of the cost.

And now, every month he pays for his normal power bill and then he also pays for that loan he took out to finance the panels. When he reaches out to the installer, Elan Solar, he says they either do not respond or they make promises that are not kept.

“I don’t know what to do now.”

Sampallo’s situation is nearly identical to Luis Lopez’s. His panels are up on the roof, but his system does not generate power.

“For me, it’s been about a year and a half,”said Lopez. “My panels are still not working.”

Lopez, also, says he’s now going broke trying to pay for both these panels and his regular monthly power bill, and he can’t get any help from Elan Solar.

“They don’t answer texts. They don’t answer emails. It’s really, really hard and every time that they answer they promise they’re going to do this or do that,” he said. “Unfortunately, they still haven’t done it.”

These men are just two of 11 who emailed the KSL investigators claiming they have paid for a product they are not receiving.

So, what does Elan Solar have to say about this? Nothing on camera. The company’s CEO refused an on-camera interview. In emails, he wrote that “our customers are our number one priority.”

As for the delays, he blamed the weather and “record snowpack.” He blamed third-party salesmen who he wrote, “…do not always set the best expectations with regard to timelines.” He blamed the power company, stating appointments were missed. And he blamed “issues in the banking and finance world” which he said have made it hard to get funds to complete jobs.

The Utah Department of Commerce has also received complaints about Elan Solar. Public records show the department has cited Elan Solar three separate times — including this citation from 2021 that states: “the solar panels were installed but the system was not functional.”

“I’m not sure what else I can do,” said Lopez – for whom Elan Solar said they “will get him switched on very soon.”

“It’s really dishonest,” Sampallo said.

Elan Solar wrote they are “stepping in to get Mr. Sampallo taken care of sooner than later so he can enjoy his solar system.” The company did not give an exact date for either customer.

If you pay for a solar product that you do not receive, state investigators would like to hear from you. You can report your experience here: dcp.utah.gov.

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Homeowners paid big $ for solar-powered system, say Utah installer will not finish job