Project Solar - PV and Battery with Social Energy - Mis-sold?

Options
Hello,
My brother-in-law was talked into having a 3.3kWp solar array with a 3.3kWh Duracell Energy Bank battery (and the promise of a second battery to be installed in April 2020) installed in December 2019 by a Project Solar salesman. As I understand it, the entire thing was funded by a £10,500 loan at 9.9% over 10 years.
They were 'told' (but nothing in writing) that the earnings and savings would more than cover the finance payments and they would break even in around 10 years. So far they have not had a smart meter installed so it would appear that all their exports are not earning them anything. They have also been informed that the second battery is somehow not compatible with Social Energy so cannot be installed. They have been offered a 5.8kWh solax battery to replace the existing Duracell battery.
Apparently they agreed that there would be a 90 day period before the smart meter could be installed where they wouldn't get paid, but the Covid situation has now delayed the smart meter installation indefinitely. However, the Social Energy app seems to be measuring their export (possibly via CT clamps?). Should they be entitled to compensation for the delayed smart meter installation?
I guess they are paying around £135 per month on the loan which I believe is more than they could possibly ever save or earn in even the best month. They will pay over £5,700 in interest over the course of the loan making the total cost over £16000. I cannot see how the system could ever recoup this total outlay.
Given the obvious financial imbalance, is there a claim for mis-selling and how would they go about initiating such a claim?
I've suggested that they complain to the finance company and demand that all interest be waived, with possible escalation to the financial ombudsman in the first instance.
The Duracell batteries seem to be available on Ebay for £2750 each whereas the Solax 5.8kWh battery seems to be available for around £2,400 so I've suggested that they accept the replacement battery only if they also receive the difference of £3100 in compensation. Does that sound reasonable?
Alternatively, as the battery is unlikely to prove cost effective, I've suggested that they request a full refund for the batteries (so £5,500) and just keep the PV array at a cost of £5000. Would that be fair?
Given the high price of the Social Energy tariff, would they be better just switching to Octopus Agile and forgoing the energy trading that Social Energy do, which apparently they will earn from?
Does anyone on here have any experience of claiming compensation for mis-sold solar panels and/or batteries in similar circumstances?
«13

Comments

  • JKenH
    JKenH Posts: 4,864 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Options
    I bought a panels and battery package but was not happy with the battery performance. The supplier removed the battery and credited me with its value after 3 months without any argument. It wasn’t Project Solar though.
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps, ex Nissan Leaf owner)
  • Martyn1981
    Martyn1981 Posts: 14,814 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    edited 22 July 2020 at 7:42AM
    Options
    Hiya, if you search for project solar on here, or Google them + money saving expert, you will find I've been complaining about them for years and years. Eg 

    Project Solar quote - is it a good deal?

    Martyn1981 said:
    Hello and welcome.

    I didn't even need to open the thread to know it would be a stupidly high price as the give away was in the title - 'project solar'.


    What you describe seems to be the norm, they promise that income will cover costs and loans, but the paperwork never says this. The paperwork seems to accurately state generation and in the FiTs days the subsidy and export part, but would never include their verbal promises of covering the cost.
    I've no idea if this will help you, but if you search enough I'd suggest you will find me and others railing at perhaps a dozen or more threads that read very similarly to your original post.
    Sorry I can't offer anything more substantive, nor promising, but I hope this helps a bit.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW). Two A2A units for cleaner heating.

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • UnclaimedEnergy
    Options
    Project Solar are famous for overstating how much their customers could save from installations.
  • Petriix
    Petriix Posts: 2,076 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Yes, I can see just how bad Project Solar are. I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole. Unfortunately the BIL was sucked in by the charming salesman who clearly lied repeatedly. I'm just trying to figure out if there are any legal grounds for redress given the obvious imbalance of the contract. Surely the claims made by the salesman form part of the contract, even if they weren't documented?
    Surely there's some legislation that protects people from exploitative finance arrangements? 
  • Pile_o_stone
    Pile_o_stone Posts: 187 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Photogenic
    Options
    As there is nothing in writing I don't think your BiL will be able to claim anything. The solar company will just deny everything. The credit company are not really involved - they loaned an amount of money and your BiL agreed to the term and interest rate.

    If I were your BiL, I'd try and cut my losses and so I'd accept the replacement solex battery. I googled what I think is the solex battery (https://zerohomebills.com/product/solax-triple-power-lfp-5-8kwh-hv-solar-battery-storage-w-bmu/) and they're worth £2500 including VAT. I'd then look at getting a better loan, or put it onto a 0% credit card as 9% APR is quite a hefty interest rate these days. That would bring down the monthly payments at least.

    I'd then look at getting paid for the electricity I'm exporting by joining Octopus Outgoing:
    https://octopus.energy/outgoing/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlZKQrO7l6gIVjtd3Ch3qSACNEAAYASAAEgLTl_D_BwE


    5.18 kWp PV systems (3.68 E/W & 1.5 E).
    Solar iBoost+ to two immersion heaters on 350L thermal store.
    100% composted food waste
    Mini orchard planted and vegetable allotment created.
  • Martyn1981
    Martyn1981 Posts: 14,814 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Options
    Just a bit of gossip, but I was chatting to a PV man today as my sister is looking at getting a big system installed, and as he was leaving I asked if he'd heard of this company ...... boy did I open a can of worms! So not only infamous on here but within the industry too.
    He also suggested that as they seem to have close links with one or two lenders, it can be argued that by offering a specific bank's finance deal within the PV sale, the bank then becomes party to the whole deal as they are not fully independent - as they would be if the buyer went and found their own finance from a choice of lenders.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW). Two A2A units for cleaner heating.

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Solarchaser
    Solarchaser Posts: 1,663 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    You would think this would be an ideal sting operation for one of these "cowboy builder " type programs.
    Since they gave such an awful name
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf, 75Kwh Tesla and Lux 3600 with 60Kwh storage
  • tim_p
    tim_p Posts: 693 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Heizen said:
    You can learn PV installation by taking an apprentice program in another occupational field like an electrician. In most states, those with electrical skills are qualified to connect solar panels to batteries and inverters. They can also attach the PV system to electrical grids. Journey workers, as well as roofing and electrician apprentices, can fill the photovoltaic-specific training modules.
    You do know this is a UK based forum and your comments aren’t really relevant, let alone correct. 
    Or are you an advertising bot?
  • Hexane
    Hexane Posts: 520 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    tim_p said:
    Heizen said:
    You can learn PV installation by taking an apprentice program in another occupational field like an electrician. In most states, those with electrical skills are qualified to connect solar panels to batteries and inverters. They can also attach the PV system to electrical grids. Journey workers, as well as roofing and electrician apprentices, can fill the photovoltaic-specific training modules.
    You do know this is a UK based forum and your comments aren’t really relevant, let alone correct. 
    Or are you an advertising bot?
    Four people have reported it as spam so far. I hope that you are one of them, or will become another.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • tim_p
    tim_p Posts: 693 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Yes, done. I forgot to report an earlier one where he said solar generation was worse in the summer though!
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.2K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.9K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 608.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.3K Life & Family
  • 248.4K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards