KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Pink Energy, formerly known as Power Homes, filed for Chapter 7 in the Western District of North Carolina Court, which involves liquidating its assets in order to pay creditors.
JP Morgan Chase Bank is its largest creditor with more than $80.5 million. Court documents filed also show Pink Energy has between 25 and 50,000 creditors.
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The solar company's CEO, Jayson Waller, told WCNC Charlotte they're not fully to blame. Waller sent this statement:
"In declaring bankruptcy for Pink Energy (formerly PowerHome Solar), I want to send a heartfelt apology to all of our customers, employees, their families and the vendors that believed in us and can no longer rely on Pink Energy moving forward. It is devastating to know how much disruption and hurt this has caused, and I want to acknowledge and recognize that. Today is truly a sad day. We never expected this outcome and we tried so hard to make things right to avoid this situation.
Pink Energy was not perfect as a business, and we own that. We did however go into business in 2014 to do right by our customers while helping them make the transition to solar and energy efficiency. Our track record showed many years of great success and customer satisfaction in the industry.
We never anticipated, nor were we prepared for the flood of Generac SnapRS malfunctions at a rate of over 40 percent, while at the same time handling our own standard customer service inquires. It became an enormous strain on our team and our resources. The influx of equipment problems and complaints literally crippled our ability to handle all customers issues in a timely and effective manner. That keeps me up at night.
Generac finally acknowledged the 40+ percent failure rate of the SnapRS, causing tens of thousands of our systems to malfunction. But their lack of transparency from the onset was detrimental to our business. The calls for service at Pink Energy snowballed from about 800 calls a month to receiving 30,000-plus customer phone calls a month, and we began fighting an uphill battle from which we could not recover.
We executed three rounds of painful layoffs while still trying to find a way to continue helping customers amid dwindling sales stemming from the equipment malfunctions and negativity. Understandably the media was focused on sharing negative customer stories, but sadly we didn't get the opportunity to share the role Generac played in the customer complaints and the systems not working properly.
On behalf of our customers we are still demanding that Generac initiate a recall on its SnapRS part.
In the final weeks the executive team used personal means to meet payroll, but with hundreds of employees and vendors, and millions of dollars in overhead it was simply not possible to keep up. We tried everything to make this work, and that's why this hurts so much.
Thank you for the opportunity to hear our truth, and again, we understand the hurt and offer our sincerest apologies.
Waller said the millions of dollars in overhead was just too much.
However, for homeowners like Joe Baluha, who bought from Waller's company in 2018, it's not much consolation. He said they have attorneys involved.
"We've been trying to get it rectified now since May when the system completely went down," Baluha said.
Instead of paying Duke Energy a nominal fee every month of less than $20, their energy bill hovers around $300 every month. The couple has an outstanding loan of $37,000 that they're still paying.
On top of that, Baluha said holes in the roof have caused water damage to the drywall.
"We're on our fifth inverter, the inverters keep blowing, and it's due to it not being wired correctly," Baluha said.
He said his system wasn't installed with Generac parts.
"Don't believe the motto of you are going to own your own power," Baluha said. "You may for a few years, but it's not going to be a lifetime."
WCNC Charlotte asked Baluha if he could go back and do it all over what he would decide.
"I would never do it, never do it -- costliest mistake I've ever done," Baluha said.
Generac sent the following statement to WCNC:
"In certain situations, especially when product installation guidelines have not been followed, as appears to be the case with some Pink Energy installations, customers may have experienced certain issues with a particular Generac component of their solar energy system – the SnapRS 801 or 801A. We have introduced a new next-generation rapid shutdown device, which has been designed and engineered to the highest reliability standards. We are committed to getting those upgrades and warranty replacements taken care of as quickly as possible and those steps are well underway.
Generac is a leading manufacturer of solar + storage solutions, and we sell our products to a wide range of distributors and solar contractors. We've been in business for more than 60 years, and we've done that by standing by our promises and products.
We are aware of Pink Energy's recent Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Over the past few weeks, we have already contracted with high-quality third-party providers to perform warranty services on Generac's products, now that Pink Energy will no longer be providing this service to its customers.
We understand that consumers are frustrated with Pink Energy and their inaction. However, Generac remains committed to our customers. Customers with questions about the Generac components of their solar systems can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-396-1281 for assistance.
We ask for your patience as we work to assist customers as quickly as possible."
Consumers can file a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General's office or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.