KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Richard Kelch Jr. thought installing solar panels would pay off in the long run. But ever since Powerhome Solar installed them, he’s had more trouble than benefits.
Now the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is investigating the company.
Almost a year ago, last May, Kelch signed a contract with Powerhome Solar to have solar panels installed two months later, in July. The company didn’t install them until September.
But the red flags really went up when he noticed his energy bills didn’t decrease.
“I’m sitting here, and I noticed that our bill, our bill is the same,” he said. “Like why is it always still the same?”
All the while, he was also getting the bills for the panels themselves.
“It’s like around $50,000-55,000. Our monthly payment on that is like $178 a month, and then of course, whatever we have our electricity, which they swore up and down it would be, in the summer at least, down to half of what it normally is.”
Kelch was ultimately paying twice as much. He also noticed the panels weren’t working properly.
“I don’t even think it’s calibrated correctly because it’s not producing the wattage or the amount of energy that it said it would be,” he said.
Kelch hasn’t filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. But state Attorney General Eric Schmitt is aware of the company.
Schmitt’s announced Thursday his office has launched an investigation into Powerhome Solar for alleged violations of consumer protection law.
His office issued the following statement:
“Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued a civil investigative demand to Powerhome Solar, LLC, for information regarding its practices for sales and installation of solar panels. The investigation seeks documents and information regarding the capabilities, installation, and financing of its solar panel products.
“The civil investigative demand, which operates like a subpoena, requires the business to provide information about its sales tactics, marketing strategies, and its communications with consumers.
“Missourians who have a complaint about a business are encouraged to file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or submitting a complaint online at ago.mo.gov.”
FOX4 reached out to Powerhome Solar about the attorney general’s announcement. A spokesperson for the company said: “Powerhome does not comment on ongoing investigations. We are committed to customer satisfaction.”
The company did comment on Kelch’s issue saying, “There has been a delay in getting his system up and running because of miscommunication with his utility company and the city. In the meantime, Powerhome has been reimbursing Mr. Kelch’s loan payments since October.”
Kelch did say the company’s reimbursements help, but the ordeal has hurt his credit. He also said he just wants his solar panels working properly. He advised people looking into solar panels to do their research before jumping in.
“I would definitely would not recommend Powerhome Solar to anybody in my family or friends anymore,” he said.