Solar power company to pay judgment in consumer case – KFDI

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The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said a solar power company will pay a judgment of over $220,000 in a consumer protection case.

The judgment was entered against Design 1 Group LLC, a solar power sales and installation company, for engaging in deceptive acts and practices under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.   The DA’s Office said the company violated state law by making false representations on the issuance of permits, making false representations on the coordination and scheduling of inspections, improperly installing consumers’ solar systems, failing to install proper equipment required by Evergy for connection to the electrical grid, failing to disclose the impact of solar panel orientation in energy savings, and other deceptive practices.

The court ordered Design 1 Group to pay $106,780 in restitution to the consumers and $110,000 in civil penalties, along with court costs and investigation fees.  The court also barred the company from engaging in all business in Kansas unless properly licensed and only after obtaining necessary permits.

The DA’s Office has advice for consumers in shopping for a solar power system, and they should consider several issues:

1) Life of System and Transferability: How long do I plan to stay in my home? (Most solar systems are designed to stay on a home for at least 20 years). If I move, is the contract transferrable? How will the solar system affect home value if I decide to sell? If the system is financed, will a property tax lien prevent me from selling my home until the loan is paid off?

2) Costs: What is the real cost of the solar system? How do I pay for the system? Do I understand how and when I will receive any rebates or tax credits that are offered?

3) Benefits: Do I understand the solar system’s energy output and what offset it provides? Do I understand how the system stores power? Do I understand what direction the solar panels need to be facing for maximum energy generation? (South is best. North is worst.)

4) Seller/Warranties: Is the seller properly licensed? Do prior customer reviews of the solar company suggest they stand behind their systems? Do I know the necessary steps to be taken with Evergy to be connected to the electrical grid? Do I understand the system’s maintenance requirements and warranty coverage? Who is responsible for damage to the solar system from severe weather and other sources?  What about roof replacement if the roof is damaged but the solar panels are still functioning?

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