‘I feel misguided and misled’: Action 9 investigates solar panel company again

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Dennis Valverde of Mooresville wanted to save money on his power bill.

He hired Accelerate Solar to install solar panels. The work cost more than $71,000, but he says the company promised that Duke Energy would give him a $6,000 rebate and the federal government would give him a $19,000 tax credit, knocking the price down to $45,000.

He said Accelerate Solar also promised him much lower power bills.

Valverde told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke he got the rebate from Duke, but not the federal tax credit.

He says his bills are lower, but that he’s still paying a lot.

“I feel misguided and misled,” he said.

Valverde said he took out a 20-year loan to pay for the solar panels and is paying about $500 each month on it. He’s also paying his energy bill. His most recent one was more than $150.

He said he complained to the company over the years and it told him and they always said they’d get back to him. Recently, he tried calling them and found out the company had gone out of business.

He said he’s thinking about suing them.

Stoogenke confirmed the company is out of business, but he was able to get in touch with a former company executive, Chris Verner.

Verner defended the company. “We estimated around $2,500 annual savings [for the Valverde family]. Based on the current electric rates and kWh, he is actually closer to $2,650 annual savings,” he told Stoogenke. “My guess would be that his usage has gone up, which is causing him to think he is not seeing savings.”

He also told Stoogenke that the Valverdes have 10 years to get the full federal tax credit.

Action 9 investigated Accelerate Solar earlier this year for a Mint Hill couple who also expected to save on their monthly bills. Read their story here.

Stoogenke offers these tips to potential solar panel buyers:

Do your homework - Hire a company to see how much sun your house gets and whether the roof can handle the right kind of solar panels for your home.

Shop around - Ask multiple companies for proposals and prices and see how they compare. If they have very different opinions of what would work best, you may want to do more research.

Confirm credits - Check with a tax preparer to make sure you’ll get the tax credits the company promises, and check with your utility company to make sure you’ll get the rebates the company promises.

Verify with your homeowners insurance - Run the plan by your homeowners insurance company to see if there are any other concerns you need to consider.

Read the contract - Make sure the contract states when the work will start; when the work will be finished; what happens if something goes wrong; and what happens if you don’t get the tax credits, rebates or savings on your electric bill.