Gilbert man disappointed with solar savings

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Larry Schlemmer and his wife like their home, but they wanted to make it more energy efficient.

So last year when a salesman from a company called Sungate Energy Solutions came to their home and guaranteed the couple could save 25 percent on their power bill, Larry was interested.

"Linda and I had been interested in energy savings for some time," Larry explained.

He said he listened to the sales pitch and was excited when the salesman put in writing that the
company's special system could actually save Larry 50 percent on his power bill.

So Larry paid $15,000 for the energy reduction system to be installed.

"It was about doing our share to save energy, as part of the population of this country. It just seemed like the right thing to do," Larry told 3 On Your Side.

The energy reduction system was installed, which included solar devices on his roof to heat his hot water heater.

Larry said they also put some kind of special insulation in his attic.

After all this, Larry said he was told to monitor his electric bill for a year to compare his savings.

He did, but he didn't like what he saw.

According to Larry, his $15,000 investment was saving him only 10 percent on his power bill, not the 50 percent he says he was promised.

"I was discouraged that the product didn't do what they said it was going to do," Larry stated. 

Larry contacted Sungate Energy Solutions, who told him to send them his power bills so they could look at them.

Larry did, but several months later Larry said Sungate Energy Solutions never got back with him.

"I've been cheated and its a very bitter taste in my mouth," Larry said.

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered Sungate Energy Solutions is no longer in the Phoenix area, and currently operates out of California.

Regardless, management with Sungate Energy Solutions said they're surprised no one has gotten back with Larry, and agreed to look into his skimpy energy savings for 3 On Your Side.

Larry said good, because for $15,000 he said he feels like he really overpaid.

"I feel I should pay for what I got," Larry remarked.

We're expecting Sungate Energy Solutions to get back to us with what they found. I'll do a follow-up report soon.