Mooresville, North Carolina-based Pink Energy, an energy efficiency company providing customers with solar panels, has filed a lawsuit against Town of Genesee-based Generac Power Systems, alleging Generac has been providing the company with failing parts that have malfunctioned and burned or melted.
The part in question is a component found in one of Generac’s solar energy systems, called a SnapRS. Jayson Waller, CEO of Pink Energy, said Wednesday the SnapRS component has led to “thousands” of Pink Energy solar systems being compromised. Waller alleged in a press release that SnapRS components have caused at least two fires at Pink Energy customer homes. He is also requesting that Generac do a recall on the part.
The SnapRS is an inline disconnect device designed to rapidly shut down power to individual solar panels as required by the National Electric Code.
"We are urging customers to hold Generac accountable for these defective parts," Waller said. "At a time when clean energy interests need to advance with the recent 10-year extension of the federal solar investment tax credit, Generac's defective SnapRS are giving solar a bad name. Additionally, several other solar dealers/installers have come forward having similar issues with Generac products. It's a problem."
Generac first entered the home energy storage market in April 2019 with the acquisition of Maine-based battery storage firm Pika Energy Inc. Following this acquisition, Generac met with Pink Energy leadership to work out a deal in which Generac would supply Pink Energy with certain component equipment to use in solar energy systems.
"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," said Generac in a statement. "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."
According to the lawsuit, Pink Energy first discovered a melted SnapRS unit in April 2021 during a service call in Cincinnati. Pink Energy also alleges it became aware of other solar installers using the same Generac component and experiencing high rates of failure. The lawsuit states Generac has acknowledged a near 50% failure rate in SnapRS components.
According to the lawsuit, Pink Energy was assured by Generac in August 2021 that firmware updates would fix the issue of overactive SnapRS turning on and off repeatedly. The update would keep the signal constant in an "on" position until there was a forced rapid shutdown. Instead, the firmware update actually shut down portions of a customer's system to prevent potential thermal events, according to the suit.
The lawsuit further alleges that beginning in late 2021, Pink Energy noticed a “dramatic spike” in complaints from customers claiming that their solar energy systems were not producing the energy output they were promised. Pink Energy claims it has experienced 30,000 customer complaint calls a month, as well as the loss of 600 jobs nationwide.
“Pink Energy continues to field calls and address issues related to the SnapRS, and is even seeing failures in other Generac component pieces,” according to the press release.
Pink Energy is seeking to recover any damages it suffered. The company claims it has lost approximately $155 million in revenue. Pink Energy also alleges it is owned $39 million by Generac to reimburse the costs associated with replacing SnapRS parts during service calls.
"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," reads Generac's statement. "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."