Pink Energy, formerly Power Home Solar, LLC (PHS), filed a complaint on August 1 against Generac Power Systems, Inc. for selling what it calls “defective” parts and also for failing to “timely communicate” issues with the product. PHS estimates that Generac’s “faulty and defective component parts” cost PHS tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Pink Energy filed the complaint in the state of Virginia (Case 6:22-cv-00043-NKM) due to the large number of customer complaints and service calls in and around Lynchburg, Virginia and other parts of the Western District of Virginia.
The monetary damages noted in the complaint include costs and expenses for sending service technicians out on over 16,000 service calls to replace defective parts, at an estimated cost of over $1,000 per service call. Pink Energy has also had to hire additional customer service team members to field calls and perform service.
Pink Energy states that it has suffered harm to its reputation and goodwill due to the SnapRS product failure, pointing to an “overwhelming” number of negative reviews and complaints on social media, to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and elsewhere. For example, Pink Energy currently has an average rating of 2.02 on SolarReviews. In June the BBB had removed Pink Energy’s A+ rating an issued a consumer alert. The BBB website currently lists 1,057 complaints against Pink Energy.
Pink Energy estimates that it has lost approximately $155,000,000 in revenue from appointment cancellations and increased cancellations of signed contracts, and that the company had been valued at $1.05 billion in September of 2021, prior to the product issues, but that has dropped to $452 million “as a direct and proximate result of the harm Generac’s defective products have caused…”
pv magazine usa reached out to Pink Energy, which declined to comment as the complaint has been filed and the case is pending. However, in an internal letter to Pink employees that was leaked to the internet, Jayson Waller, CEO of Pink Energy said, “One of the most regrettable realities of this entire situation is that our valuable customers have blamed Pink Energy for this unfortunate situation, rather than Generac.”
Pink Energy points to the defective SnapRS as the crux of the problem but says they have been “exacerbated by Generac’s delays” in developing a replacement and delays in supplying a sufficient number of replacements to meet Pink Energy customer needs.
The complaint states that Generac “represented to” Pink Energy that its PWRcell solar and battery storage system could serve as a full-service solar energy and battery storage system for Pink Energy’s customers, indicating that the electrical components were “safe and fit for the purpose for which they were intended”. The complaint also states that Generac represented that it was “experienced and skilled in designing and manufacturing such products”.
Generac and Pink Energy entered into an agreement by which Generac designed and manufactured its PWRcell system to incorporate electrical components to be used in residential solar energy system. Generac’s PWRcell system includes PV Link String Inverters, SnapRS components and more. The SnapRS is an inline disconnect device designed to rapidly shut down power to individual solar panels, as required by the National Electrical Code.
According to the complaint, in 2021 “PHS discovered a melted SnapRS unit during a service call…”. When Pink Energy informed Generac, Generac said it had not previously known of “any such issues related to is SnapRS units ‘melting’”. Pink Energy contends that Generac knew or should have known because other installers were experiencing high rates of failure with the SnapRS connectors.
After two fires occurred at homes with Pink Energy solar that used the SnapRS unit, Generac provided a firmware upgrade, which Pink Energy said was not received by “a significant number” of its customers because their systems were not connected to the internet, despite Generac having what the complaint says is “knowledge of the same”.
In late 2021, Pink Energy customer complaints increased. Upon investigation the company traced the problems to what the Generac inverter coded as a “PVRSS Lockout” system error. In the complaint, Pink Energy noted a “drastic increase” in customer service calls as well as service visits they scheduled to “replace customers’ defective SnapRS units and to clear PVRSS Lockouts.”
Despite Generac providing the SnapRS 801A, which the complaint says Generac represented as a “fix” to the product defect, Pink Energy contends that “Generac knew or should have known” that the defects continued.
The complaint states that Generac acknowledged a 50% failure rate and “incredibly” implied to Pink Energy that it was positive news because it was not 100% failure. Two months ago, Generac’s CEO responded to an email about continued incidents and, according to the complaint, noted that the latest firmware protection was an “interim solution”. Pink Energy contends that it had been a year since the firmware upgrade had been issued and this was the first it had heard that the firmware upgrade was intended to be interim.
In May 2022, in a letter sent to Pink Energy customers and signed by Keith Marett, president-services for Generac Clean Energy Solutions, he acknowledges that customers have had issues with the SnapRS801 or 801A and says that to address the issues Generac is introducing “our next-generation rapid shutdown device, the new SnapRS802, which has been designed and engineered to the highest safety and reliability standards”.
pv magazine USA reached out to Generac and received the following responses from Tami Kou, director of marketing communications and public relations:
“We are disappointed by the allegations being made by Power Home Solar, which was recently re-branded as Pink Energy. We have taken notice of recent news reports and articles citing customer concerns with Pink Energy’s marketing practices and service support. We expect all our independent dealers and distributors to act with integrity and meet high standards in providing customer services.” She added that “Generac stands behind our products. As a company, we have and will continue to honor our customer commitments. We can’t comment on pending litigation. We will be reviewing the matter and intend on vigorously defending ourselves.”
The eleventh paragraph was amended to correctly name Generac as the party that the complaint said had “knowledge of the same”.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.