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Solar Orphans

What Can You Do if Your Solar Retailer is No Longer Operating?

Are you a solar orphan? Several solar retailers go out of business every year for different reasons. Unfortunately, the customers get left behind.

Many customers become solar orphans when their solar retailer stops operating. That means no more maintenance, no customer service, and no warranty repairs of your solar system. This experience can be frustrating. If this has happened to you, read on for some tips on how to manage the situation.

Reasons Solar Retailers Go Out of Business

Compared to other industries, the solar industry is still only mildly regulated. This can be attractive for people looking to make quick money. These types of people normally don’t have any passion for their work, and are just looking to make easy money.

This attitude means they can sell unreliable and cheap solar systems. Word gets around pretty quickly these days, and these types of business practices don’t stand up to the public test. The business ends up disappearing, leaving their customers stranded.

Sometimes a company owner may close their solar company and re-open under a different name, getting rid of all liabilities (including customer warranties) from the previous business. This is morally wrong, but very difficult to litigate against. Then there are also cases where businesses just fail, without anything sinister behind the closure, however, for the customer the end result is still the same.

Problems Solar Orphans Face

Customers can no longer access their warranty when solar retailers go out of business. When you buy solar panels you usually get two types of warranties. One is the product warranty, which may be for 10-12 years. This protects you against equipment problems that aren’t your fault. The other is the performance warranty, which covers you against unreasonable degradation of solar panel performance.

These warranties are not provided by the installer, they are given by the equipment manufacturer. Many of the solar companies that go broke sell cheap equipment that’s manufactured overseas, and this can put them out of reach.

Apart from the warranty issues, you can no longer have maintenance by your original installer. So if you had a package that included maintenance, cleaning, and/or check ups, that turns into something you have to pay someone else to do.

What to do if you can’t contact your solar retailer

The first thing you should do if you have any issues with your system is get in touch with your solar installer. Obviously if they’ve gone out of business, it will be difficult to contact them. Here are some tips to help if you can't contact your retailer:

Check the Business Status

First of all check the company’s business status to see if the business is still in operation or not. If they’re still an active business, it’s worth searching all over for a contact number. They may have moved or changed numbers, try searching online, including social media, to see if you can obtain new contact details. If not, try moving on to the next suggestion.

Contact the Product Manufacturer

You can contact the product manufacturer directly, especially if you’re trying to make a warranty claim. If you have other issues not related to the equipment itself, like poor installation, this won’t be a relevant step. The documentation you received when your system was installed will have the manufacturer’s contact details. Explain to them that your solar retailer has gone out of business or won’t respond to your requests, and hopefully they can help you out.

Find a New Approved Solar Installer

If you have no success getting your warranty issue sorted out, you may have to find another solar retailer to help. This will have a cost, but you’ll have your system back up and running.

Avoid Future Problems

Choosing reputable retailers for your solar system is the best way to avoid becoming a solar orphan. It may not be possible to guarantee that you’re dealing with the best company, but there are some signs to look out for. Check their business history and make sure the products are high-quality, and from reputable manufacturers.

Try to choose manufacturers with a presence in the US. Cheap isn't always best, so don't fall into temptetaion by signing up for a great new solar deal when you see it advertised. Do checks on the company you’re buying from. Make a well-informed decision on your solar panel system.

Sunshine City Solar provides quality solar panels, inverters and battery solutions. If you need help with existing solar systems, or you’d like to purchase your first system, contact us today at 915-465-4475.

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