MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A Mooresville-based solar energy company is facing lawsuits and investigations and has had to lay off more than half its workforce.

Pink Energy, formerly known as Powerhome Solar, says their issues are tied to another company: Generac. Generac manufactures some of the solar parts they install.

Amanda Cude was one of 500 Pink Energy employees laid off on Monday. Earlier this year, 600 other employees were let go.

“I had a feeling it was coming,” said Cude. “I clock in at 8 a.m. I probably got my call sometime between 9 and 10.”

Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller says his company started installing Generac products, like the SnapRS device, in April 2020. The SnapRS is a component of the solar panel circuit that helps the system shut down in case its voltage gets too high.

According to a lawsuit against Generac, Pink Energy started noticing that the SnapRS component would overheat and melt in April 2021. In August 2021, they said this issue caused a house fire.

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Waller said when he alerted Generac about the issue, they told him they had a remote fix. But, he says they later learned that the fix was only temporary and would often shut down the customer’s system, costing them more than they bargained for.

“We went from taking 800 phone calls into our call center a month to over 30,000 in just 60 days,” said Waller.

Ultimately, the company, with around 20,000 customers, decided to stop installing the Generac component altogether, but not until August 2022, one year after the first home fire.

“Why did it take you so long for you guys to stop installing these products?” asked Queen City News reporter Sydney Heiberger.

“They assured us in several emails and conversations that this is put to bed. ‘Glad that we fixed the problem; the firmware is working great,'” said Waller.

The lawsuit claims Generac admitted the SnapRS device had a 41 percent fail rate. At this point, Pink Energy says they had to completely shift gears from selling and installing solar panels to servicing broken ones.

“We’ve replaced 50,000 of these Snaps here to date,” said Waller.

But Cude says she doesn’t believe the company’s downfall can be entirely blamed on Generac.

“At what point does Pink Energy take responsibility for some of the things that have happened?” asked Heiberger.

“This is a Generac issue. If Generac did the national recall or we never made a decision to partner with Generac, none of this would have been there,” said Waller.

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Cude says problems at Pink Energy, like accusations of misleading sales tactics, existed before the company’s partnership with Generac. According to the BBB website, more than 1,100 complaints against Pink Energy were filed in the past three years. At least 13 lawsuits were filed against the company in July and August alone.

“Blaming everything on Generac and not the leadership, like I said, it’s just a weak excuse,” said Cude.

Pink Energy told Queen City News that they addressed sales complaints by creating a system that records all customer sales meetings.

A spokesperson for Generac released the following statement after Queen City News reached out for comment:

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 and proper product installation.

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.

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. It is unfortunate that Pink Energy, as the installer and service provider of such products, has made the unilateral decision to quit offering Generac warranty support despite the availability of parts. Instead of helping expedite the resolution of their customer complaints, they have asked Generac to solely assume this responsibility. Although Pink Energy does not appear to put the needs of these customers first, Generac has – and always will – stand behind our products and honor our customer commitments.

It is unfortunate that Pink Energy appears to not want to take any accountability for their actions. By their inflammatory public statements and the lawsuit, we believe Pink Energy may be hoping to distract customers from the many complaints and allegations that reportedly have been leveled against them regarding poor installation and service, as well as public accounts of dubious marketing claims and sales tactics.

Generac Spokesperson