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Pink Energy seeks recall of solar PV disconnect device

A related lawsuit alleges that Generac did not let Pink Energy know for months that a promised firmware fix was only temporary.

Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller called on Generac to launch a recall of one of its solar energy system components called a SnapRS after allegedly seeing many of its customers’ solar systems adversely impacted by the part.

Pink Energy, a residential and commercial solar installer with operations in 15 states, filed a lawsuit against Generac in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia related to the alleged malfunctioning and burning and melting of SnapRS units. The units have been part of nearly every Pink Energy solar energy equipment install since 2020. Pink Energy also claimed that SnapRS devices are suspected of having caused at least two fires at Pink Energy customer homes.

Waller said that several other solar dealers and installers have reported having similar issues. “It’s a problem,” he said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Generac did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SnapRS is an inline disconnect device designed to rapidly shut down power to individual solar panels as required by the National Electric Code. When signaled by the inverter, the unit breaks the photovoltaic circuit thereby reducing total PV array output voltage to less than 80 volts within seconds.

According to a press release, Pink Energy was told by Generac in August 2021 that firmware updates would fix the issue of overactive SnapRS units turning on and off repeatedly. The update was expected to keep the signal constant in an “on” position until a forced rapid shutdown occurred. 

But the upgrade allegedly never reached a large segment of Pink Energy’s customers whose solar units were not connected to the internet, the lawsuit claims. What’s more, Pink alleged that the firmware update shut down portions of a customer’s system to prevent potential thermal events. That led to irritated customers calling Pink Energy to complain they were not receiving the energy they were promised.

The company said it believes that Generac was aware that its firmware update “would have adverse effects” on solar system energy production. But, Generac allegedly did not tell Pink Energy for 10 months (until around last June) that the update was only “interim solution” until a third-generation part arrived.

The lawsuit further alleges that Generac’s equipment has caused Pink Energy to experience around 30,000 inbound customer complaint calls per month, as well as the loss of 600 jobs nationwide (roughly 100 in Michigan and 200 more in the company’s home state of North Carolina).

Pink Energy filed its complaint in the Virginia federal courts because many of its customer problems occurred in western parts of the state. The lawsuit calls for a jury trial as well as punitive damages.

Pink Energy said it “continues to field calls and address issues” related to SnapRS, and is “even seeing failures” in other unspecified Generac equipment. It said that, to date, it has replaced around 50,000 SnapRS devices, and has asked Generac to “take over responsibility for all future services” related to its products.

It also sent Generac a bill for $39 million related to its service issues. Reports said that bill has not yet been paid.

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