Alberta homeowners warn about national solar company, that allegedly took deposits for product and service but has not followed through. (Global News)

Remember our article a few weeks ago about how some solar companies use misleading sales tactics?

Also, remember I wrote about this ontario based solar company that ghosted homeowners after taking sizeable deposits? Well, here we go again, but the Feds have noticed this time.

Global News reported that “Canadian company Sunwave Solar is under fire from multiple Alberta homeowners who claim they paid for a product/service they have yet to receive — months later.”

That “several homeowners across Canada,” “including Alberta, said they had given the Ontario-based company a deposit for installing solar panels on their homes, following a door-to-door sales pitch from a salesperson.”

Okotoks resident Jim Barclay describes the salesperson as a “well-educated salesman and well-spoken.”

Neighbour Larry Swanson agrees, “He has the majority of the answers that we wanted. I was interested.”

What helped sway both residents into making the purchase, and putting money down, was the promise of receiving a rebate from the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative.

According to Swanson, he was promised to receive $3,600 back on a system that would cost $10,100.

Both residents filled out the form for the Greener Homes Grant, but neither has received any money back to date. Sadly, they are both out of a $3,600 deposit.

Similar to accounts from Ontario residents, many of which are posted on the Better Business Bureau’s profile for Sunwave Solar, the aforementioned Okotoks residents claim they have been ghosted by the company and have not been provided with any product or service for months.

The Better Business Bureau rating for Sunwave Solar is now an “F,” their lowest rating.

Global News also reports that the federal government is investigating these consumer complaints against the solar company.

No solar company has an exclusive deal to provide services in conjunction with the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative. It’s a grant available for homeowners to apply for regardless of which solar company they choose for their installation.

Press Secretary for the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources Keean Nembhard says, “Sunwave has no affiliation nor is licensed by NRCan to provide any services in conjunction with the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative.”

According to the Alberta government, Sunwave Inc. was licensed as a prepaid contractor on June 6th of this year.

But interestingly enough, even though there is a ban on door-to-door energy sales in the province, solar is not included. Maybe this is because solar energy sales weren’t considered a significant concern in 2017 when Alberta’s ban on door-to-door energy sales was instated.

However, with the rise of allegations against solar companies and solar energy scams, perhaps the province should revisit the ban and add solar to the list of restricted door-to-door energy sales.

As I recommend in my article exploring the potential drawbacks of commission-based door-to-door sales, creating a license or certification program for solar systems, overseen by a governing body, would help keep Canadian consumers safe from predatory solar scams.

A governing body would ensure certain standards are met before someone could legally advertise themselves as licensed or certified to install or repair solar systems.

Sofia Martimianakis
Sofia is a writer who has public sector and renewable energy industry experience. She holds an HBA from the University of Toronto and an MA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo.

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