Local man says solar panel company damaged his roof, costing him thousands

By: Kerry Kavanaugh

Updated:

When a Hanson man installed solar panels on his roof, he thought he'd made a good decision for the environment and his wallet. But he says the company that installed them caused major roof damage and now he says he's out thousands.

The company, SolarCity, is one of the biggest solar companies in the country. The homeowner tells Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh that after he complained about the damage, SolarCity removed the panels, but made no repairs and he claims he later learned the company never should have installed the panels on his roof in the first place.

"It just gradually kept getting worse," said homeowner John Pesente.

When the ceiling tiles collapsed in Pesente's bathroom, that when he found holes in his roof.

His home improvement struggles began in 2015. He wanted to be environmentally proactive and financially sound, so he entered into an agreement with SolarCity to add panels to his roof.

"20 years of less emissions and general efficiency," said Pesente.

It's also a way to save on utilities. But about a year later....

"My daughter came down and got me after she got out of the shower and asked me why there was a leak," said Pesente. "There was a wooden panel on my ceiling, covering the sheet rock, there was a section of dampness. So as soon as I took one of those boards down, water just poured through the roof."

Ultimately, Pesente said a contractor found three holes in the roof above the bathroom.

"There was actually three drill holes that lined up with their brackets," said Pesente.

When Boston 25 News visited Pesente's home, the brackets were all that was left. Brackets that in some instances, went under the shingles. In other places, the shingles were cracked.

"The most frustrating part was being in the dark for so long because we were originally told that they made the mistake so start maintaining quotes and they’ll make the repairs," said Pesente.

Now, he says he's spending thousands to repair his roof before winter.

Boston 25 News contacted SolarCity about the roof:

"The customer had a pre-existing sag in his roof that he’s attributing to solar installation. SolarCity maintains that it did not cause the sag and that his home was structurally sound to withstand installation. At this time, SolarCity has removed the system and offered to terminate the contract with the customer at no cost to him."

Pesente says SolarCity did a roof upgrade, ensuring his roof could bare the load, but now he believes it never could. 

"All I want is for them to end the contract and the put the house back in the condition it was before they put the solar panels on the roof," said Pesente.

He brought his complaint to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Boston 25 News checked and Pesente is one of 44 homeowners who filed complaints with the AG since January 2016.

Pesente says he found out this weekend that his insurance company will cover some of the damage. SolarCity says they hope to have this claim resolved soon.

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