In this episode I will share our horror story with having solar installed and teach you how to avoid some stress and issues if you are planning on having solar installed on your property.
Episode 28 PP
Our Solar Fiasco and What You Can Learn From It
Do you think if you get solar, you won’t have an electric bill anymore? Do you think it is an easy process? Well, we had solar panels installed recently, and I learned a lot. As a matter of fact, I wished I knew then what I know now.
In this episode, I am going to share my solar story and share the things I learned in the process. Hopefully, you will learn something that may save you time and money in the future if you are thinking of going solar on your property.
Are you ready? Here we go…
Hi and welcome back to the Prepping Positively Podcast. I’m Annie and today we are talking about the truth behind going solar.
So recently we decided on our lifelong dream to go solar on our property. Now if you have been following me on either my 15 Acre Homestead site or Road to Reliance, you know we have had our share of issues with the power company.
From astronomical bills that actually caused our power to be shut off for one year to very high bills and even getting shocked when touching the patio on our house, we have been through it all.
Although the power company figured out eventually there was not only a bad meter, but also a short in the main line coming to our house, we never recouped thousands of dollars it cost us on incorrect power bills and repairs, that was not our fault in the first place.
So with all of that said, to us, it made perfect sense to really start looking into getting solar on our property.
Now we knew that there were two basic options. One was on-the-grid, and the other was solar and 0ff-the-grid. Let me explain.
To be truly off-the-grid, you have to have not only solar panels, but batteries, and an inverter on your property also. Now there are a few more details that I won’t go into about the off-the-grid option. However, just know that when you do choose to be off-the-grid, the biggest expense is those batteries you need.
Those batteries would have cost us way more than we were in a position to budget for. We, therefore, decided to stay on the grid and save later for those batteries.
Now, that meant we needed to find a solar company to provide the panels and do the installation for us. So we searched.
We found a company called, MC Solar,. Let me make a note here that in the process of our installation, the company apparently was taken over by someone else and I don’t even think the name is the same now. I’ll explain more about that later.
Anyway, they sent out a pair of salesmen, a husband and wife team to speak with us.
While they were at our home, they told us about all their years with the company, what to expect, and how the solar installation worked, and in 30 minutes we and my mom were signing loan papers and agreements. That was in July.
We were told within 30 days work would commence.
Come August, I got a call that the materials were being delivered. And they were. And the materials sat until September. In the meantime, we received calls that they didn’t have any installers available. Then the hurricane came so that delayed it. Then they had installers but didn’t have a ditch digger to dig a trench.
Finally almost October, the installers showed up. One man and his two sons. The first thing he told us was that the solar panels couldn’t go where they were planned to be because there wouldn’t be enough sun, long enough. Ok. So he changed the plans to move them to the front of our property. I agreed and understand the change.
However, this apparently meant changes to engineering plans, bigger wires, and longer ditches needing to be dug. I have patience, and I figured it made sense so I waited.
When the installers began the setting up of our ground mount panels, I was excited. Just to explain this…ground-mount panels mean the panels were mounted on the ground instead of the roof.
However shortly after starting the job, the installers realized that the company had not sent the right equipment to finish the job, nor did they send enough of what they needed. So the installer called the company, placed an order, and kept working.
The order came in a few days, however, it still did not have all the right parts. So the installers rented a machine and started digging the trench for the wire. To us, this was at least progress. Wrong again.
Apparently, the man that came out to place little flags on our property to mark the utility lines must have been new because the flags were over 2 feet from any lines. The trencher, however, had no problem finding them at all. It took out a power line and a utility line for the internet.
Now mistakes happen, and we don’t blame the installer at all. The problem is that we are very rural, so a cut internet line meant no phone, no tv, and no cell phone service for my 92-year-old mom.
We went to the local Home Depot, bought a bunch of what we needed, and fixed it ourselves. The ditch digging continued.
Once the ditch was dug we found out the company had not even submitted the new plans to engineering, the new heavier gauge wire was not delivered yet much less ordered and work stopped.
For the next 2 weeks, we had a 350-foot ditch two feet deep from one entrance gate to the other. This meant the animals had to be fenced to the other side of the property. It meant my mom could not have access to her gate to enter her part of the property,
It also meant my mom could not utilize any of that part of the property for fear she may fall into the ditch.
Now through all of this, the installers were great. They did everything they could to help smooth this out for us. The company, however, did nothing. No responses back for days, and no returned phone calls as promised. Needless to say, I was no longer patient.
Finally, under some kind of grace from God, I’m thinking, materials came, at least enough to finish the job after the installer themselves bought what was not delivered and the solar system was ready for inspection. So I thought.
Now that was in October. Here it is December. I have 30 solar panels and my mom has 8. They are mounted to the ground. The electrical wiring is there and connected to the poles. However, no inspection, and no solar.
The panels are not connected to anything. The electric bill comes every month read from the same meter I have always had. There are no credits for solar usage because the power company has not changed their meter yet. All because there has been no inspection.
Now let me back up to the beginning of the story. When the sales couple came, they knew that the deed was in my mother's name with me on in lieu of trust only. They said no problem.
The company had called me and emailed me asking about the deed and I told them the same thing. They said no problem.
Now, after all the crap we have been through, they are saying they are having a problem getting the permit because the job is in my name with the deed in my mother's name. Does that mean no permit was filed? Really?
Apparently, if they can’t get a permit in my name that means I won’t get the rebate from the government. And since my mom doesn’t file income tax, she won’t either.
And if that is not enough, no one returns my calls. I get voicemails and that’s it. So 6 months later I still have no solar panels connected, I save nothing, and there are no rebates.
So I wait for an answer. And I wait.
So what has all this taught me and what would I do differently?
Firstly, I would have waited and budgeted for the batteries. I could have just started with our well. I could have bought enough batteries and solar panels and a smaller inverter to hook up the well only since that uses the most power on our homestead.
Then I could have added more batteries and panels as I could afford them.
However, I am where I am now and I have no choice but to wait.
I will tell you that apparently the company I signed with has apparently either bought out a bunch of solar companies or changed names. And there are many unhappy customers such as myself.
So my advice to you is this…
I hope that hearing about my experience has taught you to at least be careful when choosing solar. Maybe my situation can save you from stress in the future.
If you want to learn more about how solar is supposed to work you can read the post The Truth About Solar found on my website at
Well, that’s it for this week! See ya next Monday!