Action 9: Will Pink Energy customers with solar panel issues have to pay back loans?

CHARLOTTE — Many solar customers tell Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke they still owe thousands for solar panels that have problems. The company they used, Pink Energy, which used to be called PowerHome Solar, is out of business, has filed for bankruptcy and is facing other legal issues.

Solar panels are expensive. In many cases, people take out loans for tens of thousands of dollars to have them installed, which can take years to pay back.

One of their big questions now is about paying back those loans and whether lenders are thinking of going easy on them.

In November, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson sent letters to five solar lenders (Cross River Bank, Dividend Solar Finance, GoodLeap, Solar Mosaic and Sunlight Financial) asking them to suspend payments.

“The folks who paid good money for them are finding that they are not working as promised, and we’re asking for the lenders to give those people, cut them some slack,” Stein told Stoogenke.

Stoogenke emailed all five lenders to see what their answers were.

One of the companies, Dividend Solar Finance, says it is cutting customers slack and that it made that decision even before the attorneys general sent the letter.

Stein’s office told Stoogenke that Sunlight Financial says it started offering relief to borrowers, including payment deferrals, as soon as it heard Pink Energy closed. The lender says it’s made more than 2,700 calls to customers offering help.

But some families say they used another lender, not one of those five, so Stoogenke asked Stein and Wilson if they’d consider reaching out to more companies.

“Yeah, there’s no question,” Stein said. “If there are other lenders, other customers out there who have dealt with other lenders than the five we wrote, I encourage them to please file a complaint with our office.”

Wilson’s office said he will not comment on an open case.

VIDEO: Customers show up at Pink Energy bankruptcy hearing