HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Google search the solar panel company “Pink Energy” and you’ll find news stories about alleged faulty equipment, poor installations, lawsuits, and layoffs.

The North Carolina-based company is under fire in multiple states with customers complaining that they’ve been misled.

10 On Your Side has been digging into these concerns for months. We’ve been speaking with homeowners right here in Hampton Roads, as well as the CEO of the company – who acknowledges the problem — but says it’s not his company’s fault.

At the heart of the issue is the company’s sales tactics. Customers we spoke with said Pink Energy sales representatives claimed the installed solar panel systems would help reduce – or even eliminate – their electric bills.

But now, as some homeowners here in Hampton Roads are paying off loans as large as $100,000, they say the solar panels aren’t working as advertised.

“When they come into your home to sell you this product, they make it look like they’re the saviors of the electric world,” said Ricardo Pistone, who signed an $85,000 contract with the company — then known as Power Home Solar — in July 2021.

The company would change its name about a year later.

“Everything they said sounded great. They said my electric bill would go down to $13, $14 a month. It doesn’t work out like that,” Pistone said.

Copies of Pistone’s Dominion Energy service fees from December 2021 through May 2022 show that even with the panels installed on his home, he’s been paying between $158 and $677 dollars a month for energy, with the higher amounts paid during peak weather months.

After we reached out to Pink Energy on Pistone’s behalf, the company spokesperson told us they were going to compensate him for seven of his loan payments, totaling $2,149.21.

10 On Your Side then met Hampton resident Richard Booker. He reached out to us to say his experience with the solar panel company has been a “nightmare” for the last four years.

“[The salesman] gave me the whole spiel, and I believed every word that came out of his mouth. Talk about a big lie.” Booker said.

Booker showed us his energy bills for the last two years, he’s still paying upwards of three hundred dollars a month. He says before the solar panel installation he was paying just a little more – in the range of $350 to $400 a month for electric.

In a written statement, a Pink Energy spokesperson told us that some of Booker’s problems may stem from the phase-out of 3G, and that the company has offered him assistance.

For six months, Pink Energy declined our multiple requests for an interview with the company’s CEO, but on September seventh of this year, Jayson Waller spoke publicly for the first time in a press conference.

Waller acknowledged the increasing customer complaints and blamed what he called quote “faulty equipment” supplied by their partner, Generac.

“These faulty parts caused the solar panels to not produce the energy they were expected to generate, causing those customer complaints and our sales team to oversell and under deliver,” he said.

Generac provides some Pink Energy customers with a device called snaps, which are designed to shut down power to solar panels if the voltage gets too high. Waller said the faulty snaps didn’t allow the solar panel systems his company was installing to function at their highest level.

He then announced that Pink Energy filed a lawsuit against Generac, claiming the company owes them more than $39 million dollars for invoices related to calls associated with their equipment.

In a written statement, Generac told 10 On Your Side that they “stand by their products” and that “in certain situations, especially when product guidelines have not been followed, as appears to be the case with some Pink Energy installations, customers may have experienced certain issues with the snap r-s 801 or 801-a. “

Still, Waller blamed Generac for customers’ frustrations.

“Our customers have been hurt, our employees have been unfairly judged, and our company’s reputation has been severely damaged,” Waller said.

Immediately after the press conference, Waller also sat down with us for a brief one-on-one interview where he addressed some of the customer complaints in Hampton Roads – including what homeowners have described as aggressive sales tactics.

“We don’t have any sales tactic issues. Our proposals again are spot on we don’t have issues with that. The issues have come back to the Generac problem.”

Waller added that the company has made an effort to monitor its sales – pursuing customers largely over the phone, so the conversations are recorded.

“Everything is recorded so if there’s ever a question it’s like ‘Hey Julie, we understand that you thought it was this, let us send you the video so you know what’s going on,” he said.

On September 21st, Pink Energy terminated business operations. We are working to find out what that means for their customers.

In the meantime, Pink Energy says moving forward customers must contact Generac directly for any problems associated with systems using Generac equipment.

You can watch our full interview with Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller below:

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