Zenernet, a fast growing solar installation company, with offices in Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Illinois, and several other states, has closed its doors. Here is what you need to know.
“I’m ashamed that I was ever part of this organization.” That’s the self-described former VP of Operations for Zenernet, writing on Glassdoor on October 29th, 2022, just over a week after the solar company quietly closed its doors, laid off staff, and abandoned customers in the middle of projects.
Rumors began circulating at the end of October that Zenernet, a nationwide solar installer, had gone out of business. This nationwide solar company finally succumbed to its ongoing struggles and doesn’t appear to have the money or manpower to make good on its promises to customers. And there are a lot of customers.
UPDATE (January 25th, 2023): Zenernet customers report receiving notice that Zenernet has filed for bankruptcy. It appears that the company filed for bankruptcy on January 13th, 2023 in the Northern District of California court. A meeting with creditors is scheduled for February 8th, 2023.
One of our top choices for home solar, Freedom Solar, works in many of the same cities and states as Zenernet. There are also plenty of hardworking, reliable, longstanding smaller solar installation companies to choose from in most places in the U.S.
The one thing Zenernet was really good at was getting new clients to sign contracts for solar panel installations. Even after a growing number of customers reported massive delays, a frustrating lack of communication, and serious oversights with projects in late 2020 and early 2021, Zenernet continued to sign up new clients and put even more projects in the pipeline.
What it did with all those deposits, we don’t know, but it looks unlikely that customers will see their cash back anytime soon. And for customers with improperly installed solar equipment or other incomplete projects, chances are they’ll need to turn elsewhere to get their rooftop solar over the finishing line.
What went wrong for Zenernet?
In short, from its beginnings in 2017, Zenernet overpromised, oversold, and underdelivered. Former employees report a corporate culture of greed and deception, stemming all the way from the top, thanks to CEO JP Gerken. Former installers and salespeople with the company report how ‘yes men’ were given perks, while anyone standing up for customers or other employees faced penalties or even dismissal.
When Leaf Score talked to Zenernet in July 2022, the then Head of Marketing, Mike Stanton, told us they were deliberating slowing growth in new markets to focus on getting current projects complete. There would be a company restructuring to streamline operations and ensure better training for aftersales staff, and a greater push to onboard experienced solar installers instead of relying on third-party crews with little to no track record. Stanton acknowledged Zenernet was experiencing growing pains but was adamant that it would make amends and correct course.
That never happened. Instead, Zenernet seems to have doubled down on signing up customers it would never be able to satisfy, possibly even after the writing was on the wall for those in upper management.
Indeed, behind the scenes in July, the company allegedly fired several key people as part of that restructuring, according to one former employee writing on Glassdoor. That employee, an Installation Manager in Cal Nev Ari, NV, says they attended a July meeting where they were told they had job security. Two weeks later, though, the employee notes that there were further layoffs, including two field managers and in-house installation crews.
More employees were allegedly let go in early September. Then, the former employee writes, the remaining staff was told in an October 19th meeting that Zenernet was ceasing operations. This, after having just been promised bonuses and told their employment was secure. As with Pink Energy, this kind of corporate behavior may lead to a class action lawsuit by former employees of Zenernet.
Zenernet operated across the U.S., including in California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and at least eight other states. So far, there’s no indication of investigations into Zenernet by the Attorneys General in any of these states, unlike with Pink Energy Solar.
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What can Zenernet customers do now?
As far as we can tell, Zenernet hasn’t contacted customers directly to let them know it has gone out of business. One customer already frustrated with Zenernet reached out to us at Leaf Score to let us know that Zenernet had folded. He’d found out about the closure through MassPower, the local installer working with Zenernet on his home solar project.
Per emails between MassPower and this customer, “Zenernet has in fact gone out of business. We are owed a lot of money by them and are limited on the ability to close these projects out without receiving money owed to us by them.” To its credit, MassPower appears to be doing what it can to help customers affected by Zenernet’s business practices.
For other Zenernet customers, the path to closure is less clear. Given that the company boasted about taking a ‘radically honest’ approach to business, the lack of communication and transparency from Zenernet is especially stark. It’s too early to tell if Zenernet customers or employees will launch a class action against the company. Even if there is a lawsuit, it could take years for customers to see any of their money back, and compensation isn’t guaranteed.
Any customers with a grievance against Zenernet should consider filing a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection online at www.attorneygeneral.gov. Customers can also email the Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For customers with faulty installations carried out by Zenernet, there may be an opportunity to access help via a manufacturer’s warranty or through the contracted local installer. Before doing any work on the system, it’s best to check with the manufacturer and installer, however, so as not to inadvertently void any warranties.
For customers whose installation was partially completed by an in-house Zenernet crew, the best bet is to find a reputable local installer willing and able to finish the job. Customers can also contact their loan provider, if they have one, to ask about a grace period while the situation is remedied.
We reached out to the CEO of Zenernet, JP Gerken, but received no response by deadline.
Zenernet left my job not done need to have the city inspect again and then turn power on not sure how to do this and now I have a lien on my house in which I paid 15,000 cash to zenernet they didn’t pay the supplier and I am not sure how to get this resolved
I am a customer of Zenernet who had a a system fully installed in september but not turned on yet though the utility company is in the process of net-meter. I confirm that Zenernet didn’t send any notice, asides I received a letter that Greentech Renewable the supplier of Zenernet had put a lien on my property because they were not paid by Zenernet though I paid Zenernet in full.
I receive a mail from the Customer Service of Zenernet today saying that they are trying to complete the projects in the pipeline, but I am skeptical
Thank you for this helpful article. Zenernet has been non-responsive to my emails since Oct 19, so sad to read this, their project management and design team were so responsive and worked hard to come up with a good design for us.
Like Pierre above, I too have a Zenernet solar install that is pretty much completed except inspection. A couple weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything on the final finishing touches and inspection despite reachouts when I recieved an email from the subcontractor Steadfast stating Zenernet was going out of business and not paying them. Then I recieved notice of a mechanics lien on the house from Greentech Renewables. Working with the finance company Sunlight to resolve but not much communication from them yet. Very concerned.
I am still trying to find a way to start my system , tried to work with SolarEdge but they tell me to contact a local installer, the only one I contacted (nrg) said they dont take care of installations that they didnt build. I think we should work together and aske GreenTech Renewables to finish the job as they are also installer and ask us to pay for the unpaid bills left by Zenernet. I think we would have more success if we group our request, otherwise I am afrid they will decline saying it is not their responsibility
My installation is a half-way done but I received mechanics lien from Greentech Renewable who is a sub-contractor of Zenernet.
I currently discussed with the bank and complaint to Sunlight Financial who is a financial partner of Zenernet but no response yet.
class action lawsuit needs to be filed soon before all their assets get liquidated to pay off other contractors first. We need to get as much back as possible.
I think we should join to ask Greentech Renewables to finish the job, if we go individually they will not accept but if join our request it might work
We were also a customer of Zenernet. Our solar panels were installed back in February. We paid $10,000 in advance to Sunlight Financial. Then the remaining loan was transferred to Corning Credit Union and this company has been deducting our monthly payment to the loan since April. However, our project has not been completed. I sent several emails & left phone messages to Zenernet, but no response. I told Corning Credit Union that our project has not been completed, so they suspended our automatic monthly payment starting Nov till May next year. But if Zenernet has closed its doors, how can our solar project be completed? How can we get back the money we already paid? This is so frustrating!
It took Zenernet over 7 months to install my system when it was contracted to be completed in 3. When I threatened to cancel the contract 6 months in, they told me not to worry b/c they would refund me all the lost production when they finished the job. They induced me to stay in the contract so they could take my money. Luckily the job barely got done before they called it quits, but now I will never see that $$$ for lost production. Liars and cheats over there. Disgusting. Am in the process of suing them currently…
I had an installation back in 03/2022 and it was fully installed, although the panels were never activated or turned on. Am now paying for 2 bills I think we should group and sue to get our money back.
Currently have an incomplete system. 90 percent complete. No inspection completed. All local installers say they won’t touch another company’s work. Won’t finish unless the existing system is removed entirely and a new system is designed and installed from scratch. This creates more headaches due to possible roof damage during removal and reinstall. We are getting any help from any of the signed parties to the now defunct contract. As far as I’m concerned the system is in my property and belongs to me. Zenernet and all concerned parties have abandoned the job and contract. Now looking for a new contractor.
Kevin, same for me, spending my time on the phone to try to find a solar company that want to take over but they all declined. Spending time on the phone with Greentech Renewables who put a mechanical lien on my property, spending time to file complains through BBB, complains and litigation office, but in vain for now.
I feel so sorry for all the customers. the company really had great sales, maybe the best we have ever talked to. We did read all those negative reviews but still decided to sign up because the sales was so convincing…We signed the contract this April and got it installed this July, quickly got it inspected and activated, thanks to my husband’s constant calling and pushing, otherwise we would be in the same frustrating situation. We will now try to figure out how to get the same warranty offered by Zenernet from maybe some other places… I hope all of you got affected take your money back.
its unfortunate. sales guys were extremely aggressive and responsive.. Design guys were good too.. Good that I only paid them $1000 deposit.. we should perhaps file a complaint with consumer bureau
Zenernet installed a system beginning in 2019, finishing in mid 2020. Despite a number of requests, they failed to provide the final invoice to my tax preparer on time so I didn’t receive the federal or state rebates. I now have to pay my accountant to refile my taxes for those years.
The system was improperly engineered failing to account for the amperage of my deep well-pump and the PV panels and inverter have had their own various problems causing the system to completely fail several times requiring extensive repairs.
They promised twice to compensate me for the time that the system failed to function as promised yet never cutting a check or paying the utilities leaving me with a past-due electric bill of near $1,000.00.
Zenernet was giving me a bad feeling before they stopped responding to my inquiries. They didn’t complete my installation and connection to the electrical company. I’m paying for the loan through Corning credit union like many others. Class action lawsuit needs to be filed ASAP. $32,000 on a solar system that doesn’t work. Someone needs to be held accountable for ripping off so many people. Our payments should be suspended indefinitely. Corporate members / owners should have to face legal consequences for the deliberate actions of stealing money from homeowners.
I paid partial of $17,000 on 9/2022 to Zenernet for solar energy on installing stage. but nothing happen. Zenernet promise to take care my PG&E bill if installing past on 11/1/2022. we try to contact them but all people were gone. this company was doing illegal activities to stolen the money from customer. Please let me know what action do we need to against this company.
Same situation since October 2021. Its now 16 months. Panels are on the roof. System is left unconnected. Loan has already started since last 6 months. No response from Zenernet. Have no idea how to proceed with this situation.
My Solar panels are completely installed and functional. I tried to call Zenernet to get an invoice for taxes and got a phone is not a working line message. I called Corning Credit Union which is the company that financed my loan. Corning sent me a copy of the loan agreement and papers needed to file for a rebate. I was told to call to reach out to Sunlight Financial for information on the installation warranty. I called Sunlight Financial and was told that as of today Zenernet LLC was still in business with operational problems which Sunlight Financial was helping them get through. They said that if I needed service on my solar system, any other need or problem to call Sunlight and they would assist me. When you call Sunlight take the installer option not the customer option.
The system Zenernet installed is different than the one engineered and permitted. There are many issues with the nonworking install. PG&E is balking at giving a PTO for a non engineered system. But Sunlight Financial claims that the loan is valid and has to be repaid. What happens if I default on the loan for a non engineered inoperable system???
I never got any of my Solar panels or battery. I Paid them after the permits were completed. I have nothing to show for the almost $30,000 I paid them. What can I do now?
I will take the installer option. Thanks!
I have the same issues with Zenernet. My solar is not done did not pass inspection. Dealing with a lien from Greentech renewables. Trying to work with Corning Credit Union and Sunlight Financial to be funded to finish the job, but I get the run around and no answers. I felt like they are trying to avoid talking to me, they themself has no answer and confuse of what to do. Just let me know if some going to file a class action suit. Count me in and in the process working with an attorney who will take my case. Good luck to all of us god bless and Happy New Year.
Received notice today regarding Zenernet bankruptcy. I have a loan on panels but what happens to the warranty? What are our options?
I would like to thank the folks working out of the Arizona office (back room maybe in a house) that I spoke with and received help from during my north California project. I could hear a bit of stress in the voice that reminded me of telco contracting when jobs changed with little notice. This particular location I believe put heart and soul in there efforts . I do wish there transition to other jobs were short and with as little stress as possible as I noted organization skills along with communication abilities made things happen when no one else was able to.
My solar panels are completely installed. However I am concerned about warranty issues. My roof needs to be repaired which means I need to remove the panels and reinstall them. That may be a serious issue if not done within warranty parameters. Yet, do I have a warranty? Who will continue to service my warranty? I received bankruptcy papers for Zenernet and will fill as a creditor to get compensation. LETS DO A CLASS ACTION SUIT!! This is fraud and deliberate.
I agree let’s file a class action suit!
I too got screwed. System is completely installed, but city inspector never came. Now I wonder who will take over, who will honor my warranty. I should have gone with my first choice SunRun.
Zenernet filed for Bankruptcy with no assets, so bye bye to hope of recovering money, I heard California is looking for legal action against the CEO because apparently it was not legal to ask so much down payment prior installation.
Please count me in for a class action. They purposely lied to customers. I have the same question about warranty. What can we do?
I’m all in for a lawsuit. Now, I am being sued by the actual installers who Zenernet was supposed to pay. Shoulda went with a more recognized company.
Took a year to complete my install. They never set up the monitoring system, the panels I have don’t produce anywhere near what they claimed they would despite having the largest system possible installed. Now it paying the same amount for panels and electricity as I did for electricity and I have the headaches of maintenence. There needs to be a class action lawsuit.