NYT uncovers scam — $19K solar panels to save $9 a month on power

A report from The New York Times indicates customers with solar panel maker Global Efficient Energy (GEE) claim they were scammed out of nearly $20,000 on promises of major energy savings.

The Texas-based solar panel installer has earned a lot of ill will, according to The NYT, as more than a smattering of GEE customers contacted the Better Business Bureau with complaints about the company.

Customer Chad Gregg of Texas said GEE told him solar Daily Caller  New Foundationpanels, while initially expensive, would ultimately save enormous amounts of money on his energy bills. Those promises never materialized, apparently, as Gregg and his family only “saved about $9 a month.”

“The system cost $19,900, which we would pay off in monthly installments over the course of six or seven years,” Gregg told The NYT on Aug. 13.”Once we owned the system outright, the company said, we’d pay next to nothing for energy.”

In fact, “after the company installed solar panels on our roof, solar-powered fans in our attic and a bunch of energy-saving foam and sealants, our electricity bill barely changed,” Gregg said.

Gregg called and emailed the company to vent and ask for a refund on the panels but received no response.

The NYT also pointed out a series of complaints from other customers at the Better Business Bureau website.

“After having the solar panels for two months we have not seen a decrease but rather an increase in our electric bill,” another irate customer wrote. “This experience has been the longest and most frustrating nightmare of our lives.”

Still another claimed doing business with GEE was “the worst financial decision” they ever made, noting also that, “They (the company) will only communicate with you when they want to sign you up for a sale. After spending $25,000 I get on average 20 percent saving in electricity.”

Another person stated that the ramifications of doing business with GEE were “so dire” that they are “considering filing bankruptcy.”

The NYT then reached out to GEE’s chief financial officer, David Noyes, who claimed that Gregg was doing great with his solar panels.

Noyes later claimed in a voice message to The NYT that the issue with Gregg’s system was resolved.

“We’re giving him a full credit for his purchase and in fact buying out his loan,” Noyes said. “We are removing the solar panels and letting him keep the foam insulation. And he’s happy with it.”

Yet the company later said it ended up leaving the solar panels on Gregg’s home. GEE also forced him to sign a confidentiality agreement, thus making it nearly impossible to determine how the issue was ultimately resolved.

The report comes as the solar panel industry financial problems continue to grow.

The hedge fund Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co., for instance, owned 24 percent, or 832,139 shares, of solar panel giant SolarCity at the end of the first quarter of 2016, but that was before they sold off all but 43,840 shares of SolarCity stock at the end of June.

Other solar companies are going bankrupt.

Solar company SunEdison is on the verge of complete collapse, as the company was forced to stiff shareholders as its debts outweigh assets by at least $1 billion.

The company is “hopelessly insolvent,” Judge Stuart Bernstein said in an August 11 decision announcing SunEdison’s shareholders won’t get an official voice in the bankruptcy.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller


About the Author: Chris White

Chris White is a frequent commentator at the Daily Caller.

  1. Brin Jenkins

    Empitor caveat, always research the output throughout the whole year and not accept the maximum daylight hours as your average. In the SW of the U.K. We see Febuary 12% of a panels output of July. Without incentives of free power from your own panels and you get paid as well it will not work.

    The distribution and load balancing of demand and load becomes difficult at 10% green power and with 20% impossible without power cuts. Your free lunch costs dear!

  2. Dano2

    See? SEE? This is why we should git gummint out of them markets, cuz businesses ain’t corrupt and can do business better’n gummint!

    Or something.



    • Sam Pyeatte

      Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is. Call that solar company and buy a $20K installation. You can make whatever claims you want, but no one is going to go to the trouble of actually checking them out. The hedge fund dumping 80% of their Solar City shares says it all. Solar power only makes sense in isolated places where the power requirements are very low and it is too expensive to run distribution lines. Where installed AC distribution exists, it is Always cheaper than solar per unit of power. Solar cells start to slowly degrade from the moment they are activated. Every 10 to 20 years they need to be replaced.

        • effinayright

          Do you know how to read a chart? It says quite clearly that its estimates do not cover such “extras” as “reliability-related considerations (e.g. transmission and back-up generation and transmission costs associated with certain Alternative Energy Technologies.”

          Wind and solar both have huge “associated” costs, which is why Europe is cutting back on them as primary generation sources.

          There are articles right above this Comment section that discuss those problems!

          • Dano2

            Europe isn’t “cutting back”. It is slowing down rapid development, thanks!

            BTW, fossil also has huge associated costs to public health and ecosystem integrity. They aren’t on the chart either.



            • effinayright

              When you put up a chart showing “huge” associated costs to the public health stream etc. and they overwhelm all those associated with wind and solar, you might have a point.

              But you didn’t, so you don’t.

        • Brin Jenkins

          If only, the subsidies paid fo by us will continue to destabilise the load balancing difficulties. I would welcome the crash myself

  3. 4TimesAYear

    I could be wrong but I don’t think a confidentiality agreement would stand if the company didn’t keep their end of the deal.

  4. Duke Silver

    Reminds me of my own biz – health care. Everyone prescribed statins when, in fact, 100 people have to take a statin for 1 of them to get a result different from the control group.

    My apologies to those of you on Lipitor.

      • Duke Silver

        You’re not alone Brin. The published NNH (that’s Number Needed to Harm) is 10. That is, 1 in 10 subjects developed serious damage whereas the NNT (……. to treat) was 100. You tell me why we recommend them because I don’t know.

  5. PhD

    Solar and wind power are an enormous waste of valuable resources – they are only applicable in certain circumstances in limited usage…… They will never replace our current generation technology. Of course foolish uneducated politicians may well cause our grids to become increasingly unstable due to their fundamental ignorance of science.

  6. Tom Owens

    I bought my solar panels for $19,000 from a guy who looked like fat alive Gary Coleman. I got a 50% discount from $20,000. Such as Seals.

  7. joseph pujol

    It is much “better” when the taxpayer and regular electric utility customer pick up the tab. In NJ, politicians got it done through forcing the utilities to pay SRECs to solar panel installing residences. Coupled with the federal tax credit, the solar panel installing residence only ends up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of the real up-front costs. The remaining 80% is other people’s money. Politicians live to fleece us.

  8. ninetyninepct

    I wonder if the CEO’s are familiar with the term kneecapping? Just wondering. Long before the situation got so bad, I would have sent copies of pictures of the wives and kids of the company management. No threat, just pictures, lots of pictures and let them make a few assumptions.

  9. ninetyninepct

    Solar & wind power desperately need ultra massive batteries to even the flow on demand. Batteries the size of football stadiums until technology improves.

  10. Olds98

    And….don’t forget about the massive solar project SW of Vegas in the CA desert. Someone fudged the figures on how much sun there was by a factor of 2 (just a slight miscalculation in a liberals view) and the 2+Billion dollar project is not working as intended.Wait until that one goes bust….will make Solindra look like a dress rehersal.

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