AG office sues solar companies accused of defrauding Minnesotans

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A new lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison accuses a group of solar panel sales companies, executives and financial lenders of engaging in deceptive and fraudulent practices to sell solar systems to Minnesota homeowners.

In an announcement Tuesday, Ellison said the defendants violated Minnesota law by tricking landlords into binding contracts, tricking customers into believing they were partnering with utility companies and exaggerating potential savings. .

The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court names the following defendants:

Four Utah-based companies:

  • Brio Energy LLC (d/b/a Pure Solar and Clean Energy Educators).
  • Bello Solar Energy (f/k/a Total Solar Solutions and Brio Solar Energy LLC).
  • Avolta Power, Inc. (Brio changed its name to Bello, then Avolta as its sales practices came under nationwide scrutiny).
  • Sunny Solar Utah LLC (d/b/a Sunny Renewable Energy).

Three business leaders:

  • Jared Fager.
  • Michael Kaelin.
  • Alan Whittaker.

Three financial lenders:

  • Goodleap LLC (f/k/a Loanpal LLC).
  • Sunlight Financial, LLC.
  • Corning Credit Union Services Company, LLC.

The attorney general’s office alleges executives train sales staff to get customers to sign binding legal documents and threaten legal action when owners try to cancel.

Solar panels sold by the companies cost between $20,000 and more than $55,000, according to the survey.

“This is a shameful scam that has hurt both Minnesota families and legitimate businesses in the solar industry,” Ellison said in a statement. “The recent rapid growth of solar power in Minnesota is good, and I encourage Minnesotans who think it might be good to do their research and ask lots of questions.”

“Holding malicious actors like these accountable helps every legitimate solar panel company and homeowner who wants to save money, improve their home, and be kind to the environment,” he continued.

Minnesota consumers are encouraged to report concerns to solar companies or lenders in filed a complaint online or by calling the Attorney General’s office at (651) 296-3353 (Metro), (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), or (800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay).

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