Sullivan Solar, one of the largest and most well-known rooftop solar installers in the San Diego area, suddenly locked its doors two months ago, leaving some of its customers in the lurch.
Since the company has not returned voicemail messages and emails, many stranded Sullivan customers worry where to go should something go wrong with their already-installed solar systems. And customers who were in the midst of having a new installation put into place aren’t sure what to do next.
The good news is that factory warranties on most solar equipment remain in place, regardless of whether the installer is still in business. Plus, other San Diego solar companies say they are happy to help Sullivan Solar customers.
But the bad news is some customers may be out of luck, depending on circumstances.
“Most of these folks that currently have existing systems, they don’t have to worry about that equipment being serviced because we can take care of it,” said Michael Powers, co-founder of Stellar Solar, an Oceanside company in business for more than 20 years. “For the people who were in the middle of getting equipment installed, it’s really unfortunate that this happened because it doesn’t leave them with a lot of good choices, unfortunately, just as with any business that fails.”
A mainstay in the San Diego rooftop solar business since 2004, Sullivan Solar Power abruptly locked the doors of its main office in Miramar in October, leaving no word as to why.
About a month later, the company’s CEO and founder, Daniel Sullivan, was arrested by U.S. Marshals on charges of stalking an ex-girlfriend.
Daniel Sullivan, founder and CEO of Sullivan Solar Power.
(Courtesy of Bob Hoffman Photography/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Sullivan pled not guilty of three felony counts of stalking and six misdemeanor counts of disobeying a restraining order and was held in custody at the Vista Detention Facility in lieu of $1 million bail. In two subsequent bail review hearings, his attorney told Superior Court judges that Sullivan was unavailable to appear before the court because he has been admitted to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. No reason was given for the hospitalization.
Sullivan is due back in court on Jan. 6 for another bail review hearing.
As for the company, as of Thursday, a search of court records does not show Sullivan Solar Power filing for bankruptcy.
Where customers can start
“The challenge here is for a consumer who signed a contract with one contractor — in this case, Sullivan,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, the Sacramento-based trade group that represents nearly 600 solar companies in the state.
“Getting another contractor to wade into that and step up is not an easy thing but given the circumstances, we have really good contractors (in San Diego County) who are willing to kind of stick their necks out and help a customer get their solar systems permitted, interconnected and completed — wherever they are in the process.”
To connect with the trade group’s member companies, customers can fill out a form at the California Solar & Storage Association website’s Consumer Protection Hotline at https://calssa.org/consumer-protection-hotline.
Warranties and equipment
Powers of Stellar Solar said if Sullivan customers have problems with their panels, inverters, monitors or other equipment, those items are typically covered …….