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Reputational issues

BP Solar this week tried to take us a step closer to mass-market off-grid living. The solar energy giant announced the availability of its home Solar kits through Home Depot stores in the metropolitan Denver and Boulder, Colorado, areas. The program enables customers to purchase complete, installed solar electric home power systems. Problem is, the notoriously bad service at Home Depot will deter many thousands of potential customers.

The service offers a licensed solar professional who visits you at home to assess your electricity needs and give a free consultation but the net is crawling with complaints about the outside experts provided by Home Depot.

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BP Solar also promise “a service professional who will help complete the paperwork and take care of the permitting application process. Where state rebates apply, they will handle the forms and subtract the rebate directly from the purchase price. Once all approvals are in place, licensed technicians will install the system, usually in less than two days.” This is what one customer had to say about Home Depot installations, admittedly not of solar products: “Home Depot: No accountability. No intent to deliver what is promised.
The installation services are particularly bad. Have you waited an excessively long time for services that were poorly delivered? That seems to be the norm. Home Depot makes a nice profit margin on these installations—all without having to be accountable.
Maybe this business model just doesn’t work. Have you noticed that the staff no longer knows where anything is? Have you noticed that the staff is no longer qualified to answer basic questions? Have you come home with the wrong stuff—based on employee’s recommendation? I have.”

“After the installation, a service professional will perform a quality audit and inspection,” counters BP Solar. “A free six-month checkup will follow the initial inspection. All solar systems purchased through Home Depot include a five-year full service warranty and a 25-year limited warranty on the solar panels.” Perhaps that is how long it takes the licensed professional to arrive.
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“The goal of our program with The Home Depot is to make it simple for home owners to generate their own clean solar power,” said Geoff Slevin, VP of Sales & Marketing, BP Solar, which markets both PV cells and storage batteries.

BP Solar’s Home Solutions program has been available since 2005 in some Home Depot stores in California, New Jersey and Long Island, New York, on a test basis. BP Solar and The Home Depot now feel sufficiently confident in the technology and in the skills base of installers to begin expanding it to other areas of the country, a Home Depot official told Off-Grid. They are focusing on areas where State and Federal incentives have made solar electric power more accessible and affordable to a wide range of consumers.

[via RenewableEnergyAccess.com]

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