Nadine Magnan wanted to install solar panels at her Miami Gardens home to save money on her energy bills.
“I noticed my FPL bills were getting higher and higher every year,” Maignan said.
She had the panels installed but nearly a year went by and the project still hadn’t passed a city inspection. Without the inspection, FPL wouldn’t credit her power bill. So, she was still paying the full bill when her first payment due date was approaching on the solar panels.
“I have to pay almost $3000 more extra this year for something that is not working,” Maignan told us as she looked at her bills.
Maignan signed a contract with Green Home Improvement Plus for the solar panels in October 2017.
She financed $32,000 to pay for the project through the private company, Ygrene Energy Fund, using a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, called PACE.
The program requires her to make payments of $3,673 yearly with her property taxes.
“It leaves me on the hook. I still have to pay FPL and I still have to pay my property taxes,” Maignan said.
Maignan’s financing agreement includes a warning to consumers. It advises consumers not to sign the certificate of completion “until the work is complete,” the permit is obtained and an inspection is passed.
But she told us she signed it so the money could be released to the contractor for their work.
“They say if I don’t sign the paperwork, nothing will get done,” she said.
After she contacted us with details of her situation, we called the contractor, Green Home Improvement Plus, as well as Ygrene Energy Fund.
Green Home Improvement Plus said they were working on fixing the issue that had prevented the project to pass inspection but blamed the hold up on the City of Miami Gardens and its slow response times to complete the permit process. A city spokesperson denied the issue was on their end.
A Ygrene representative sent us this statement, "Ygrene takes every consumer complaint very seriously and dedicates considerable resources to ensuring that we resolve issues related to improvements that are eligible for PACE financing. It is important to understand that Ygrene provides the financing for eligible improvements, while the contractor is responsible for the installation of those improvements. Despite the fact that the system installation between Ms. Maignan and the contractor, Green Home Improvement Plus, is covered under a separate agreement between Ms. Maignan and the contractor, Ygrene staff have been working diligently with both Ms. Maignan and the contractor to resolve the outstanding issue related to the system installation and operation."
Maignan told us the contractor came back to make repairs and just last week the project finally passed inspection.
We asked Ygrene if Maignan would be compensated or if there was a way to postpone her first payment, in a statement a representative told us the company was working on resolving the matter with an attorney she hired after contacting NBC 6 Responds.