KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Another family is having issues with their solar power system installed by a Knoxville-based company. The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert on Solar Titan USA because it has a pattern of customer service issues and other complaints.
WATE’s Don Dare contacted the company after he visited the couple when their solar battery was not charging. Despite repeated attempts by Penny and Fred Augustine to reach Solar Titan USA, no one from the company responded. After Dare got in touch, a technician was sent and the issues were fixed. Now, they are crossing their fingers hoping that the solar battery continues to charge.
On the roof of Penny and Fred Augustine’s home are 16 solar panels. They were installed 18 months ago but the couple says productivity of converting sunlight into electrical energy has been sporadic.
“We have nothing right now. We have nothing,” Penny said.
“This is the app from Generac. It monitors our system and tells us what we have. So when you pick up the battery, it shows zero,” Fred said.
Outside their home is the hardware installed by Solar Titan USA, an inverter system and solar batteries used to store excess solar power.
“We’ve called Generac. They walked us through any troubleshooting. The result was, it’s not Generac, it’s Solar Titan the way things are installed,” said Penny.
The Augustines signed an agreement with Solar Titan in June of 2021 and they paid $42,500. Today, the system is paid off.
Last month during the Christmas hard freeze and for the next couple of weeks no solar power was generated. So the couple asked for help.
“We have been calling since that day. I even emailed them again this last week. On the voicemail, it says to leave a message or send us an email to our customer service address,” Penny said.
“Every time we try to call them, they have their system set up with a loop. It says to ‘leave a message, you wait for a beep,’ but there is no beep. It goes right back into ‘leave us a message’ or ’email us,'” said Fred.
On Solar Titan’s website, there is a tab to contact the company as well as a help desk if you have issues. But apparently, it’s offline, so WATE emailed the company directly. Within 24 hours, a technician came to the couple’s house and fixed the issue. Penny said she was given an explanation of why the battery failed.
“The unit does not work when it is under 40 degrees out,” she said. “Under 40 degrees Fahrenheit it does not work it has a problem.”
Yet, a document from battery manufacturer Generac states the maximum outdoor ambient temperature is good from 14 to 122 degrees. The couple said there were issues before December’s big freeze, plus Solar Titan’s engineering report shows the location of their equipment is outside next to their kitchen window.
“Nothing was ever said the system needed to go inside. It was fine with Solar Titan that they put it outside,” Penny said.
The Augustines are not the only ones who had problems with Solar Titan. WATE reported last week Linda Yokley’s $91,000 system from Solar Titan wasn’t working. WATE called the company and a technician fixed the issue.
“The guys were supposed to be out here on the 29th of December. Again, no show, no call,” Yokley of Greene County said.
Back at Augustine’s home, the system is finally charging.
“It went from a 29 percent charge last night to a 45.2 percent charge today. Better but it is supposed to be at 100 percent,” Fred said.
In response to WATE, Solar Titan said it is doing its best to get customer questions answered and repair any problems they may have.
BBB records show customer complaints against Solar Titan are coming not only from Tennessee but Georgia and Kentucky as well. The Attorney General’s Office of Tennessee, as well as AG offices in Kentucky and Georgia, are investigating complaints against the business.
Solar titan told WATE, if you have an issue with a unit that they installed, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for the fastest response.