OKLAHOMA CITY - Roy Mills is now 40 grand in the hole. He spent top dollar because he was promised he'd save big bucks.
“I wouldn't be paying an electric bill no more, and I'd get $11,500 tax credit," he said.
Except Mills can't even qualify for that federal tax credit.
Mills doesn't make enough money to pay taxes. Not only is he not saving any cash...
Mills got a loan to pay for that $40,000 system, over the next 20 years, so his monthly energy costs have doubled and now he can't pay his bills.
“I was paying less before they put the system in,” he said.
Mills is not the only customer claiming they got burned.
180 unhappy customers in North Carolina hired attorney Matt Villmer.
At the time, the company went by the name Global Efficient Energy and, later on, changed its name Enviro Solar Power. It's the same owner, Abe Issa.
Issa touts himself as a visionary and successful entrepreneur in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
The attorney questioned one of Issa’s former employees and, during that proceeding, he admitted - under oath - not a single customer saw the energy savings they were promised.
“Anytime a customer would compare their before and after, once the system had been energized, uh, they would never see it,” he told Villmer. “I don't know of a single customer that did.”
Global Efficient Energy went belly up and, now, those customers - including a blind retiree - are left empty-handed.
“She was a widow, and Global sold her a solar system that didn't do what they promised it would do. For her, she's got almost 100,000 judgment that is completely uncollectable,” Villmer said.
Last check, Issa is still in Texas, operating his solar home energy company.
We called again and again.
The owner never called back.
We did get a call back from a company spokesperson.
They said they "have installed thousands and thousands of solar systems across the country and have a lot of internal processes to keep everybody happy."
The Better Business Bureau, on the other hand, put out a warning alleging "false claims" and misrepresentations" about tax savings.
Texas’ Attorney General made similar accusations.
Last summer, Issa's company agreed to change some of its business practices and paid $733,035 to compensate Texas consumers.
Mills from Oklahoma won't see a dime of that money.
“The salesman told me, if I took that deal, matter of fact, it would be putting so much electricity in it, OG&E would be writing me a check,” he said. “That ain't happening.”
We alerted OG&E and Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Brian Alford.
“Anyone that is promising a check for excess energy use, you should be aware,” Alford told News 4.
In Oklahoma, you can't get paid for solar energy produced at home.
Here’s the In Your Corner bottom line:
A $40,000 system like the one Mills financed on his limited income is a bad investment.
“From a rooftop perspective, the costs are still extraordinarily high,” Alford said. “There can be benefits, but it's difficult to offset the cost of that investment.”
- Make sure you qualify for the Federal Tax Credit. Here's a step by step guide on how to do that.
- Oklahoma does not offer a state tax credit or solar rebate.
- Read over your contract thoroughly and check with your utility company to see if they have any solar requirements.