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Solar saga left Nicky so gloomy

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: June 28, 2012

  • Marazion. Nicky Lawrence with the disastrous solar panels. PZPM20120623C-001_C.jpg

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A MARAZION woman is accusing a solar panel company of twice damaging her roof – causing problems that have cost her thousands of pounds.

Nicky Lawrence, 62, signed up for the panels from Free- Solar Ltd, a company based in East Grinstead, West Sussex, last December.

The panels were to be fitted on a lease arrangement, at no cost to her, though she would benefit from free electricity.

She said she never received a welcome pack from the company with a copy of the lease, and still does not have one.

The panels were then funded and installed by another company, Plenitude Solar Limited, which claims the roof was already damaged before their installation and denies causing any further harm.

Mrs Lawrence insisted: "This firm seriously damaged my roof twice.

"I had to pay to get it repaired and after six months they've still not sent me any paperwork as they promised."

Mrs Lawrence's builder Andrew Champion repaired the roof twice because of broken tiles, and described the damage to the roof on the second occasion as disgusting.

Mrs Lawrence said she rang FreeSolar on April 20 to try to persuade them not to replace the solar panels.

"I was told that after all the money the company had spent on supplying and fitting everything I didn't have a choice, because I'd signed a lease, so reluctantly, against my better judgement, I agreed to have them refitted," Mrs Lawrence said.

Mr Champion said: "We'd made the roof totally weatherproof. They came back and refitted the solar panels and I got a call from Mrs Lawrence who was quite upset.

"They'd trashed the roof. There were 33 broken tiles, not only to the sides of the solar panels but underneath as well. It looked like a herd of elephants had been up there tramping on the roof. It was disgusting."

Mr Champion then repaired the roof again and at Mrs Lawrence's instruction removed the solar panels, which are now in her garage.

Caroline Joseph, from Plenitude Solar Limited, said: "We've not had any communication directly from the Lawrences or their builder to say that they have any outstanding issues or complaints but we will certainly be following up on this with them to try and understand their remaining concerns.

"We have a very friendly customer service team here and will always respond to any problems reported to us."

Ms Joseph added that thousands of homeowners were benefiting from the free solar panel scheme, which was saving them hundred of pounds on their energy bills.

In March, Trading Standards officers warned Cornish householders to take care before agreeing to have free solar panels fitted.

Martine Barnes from Trading Standards said: "We recommend that anyone being made such a fantastic offer should thoroughly read the small print of any contract before signing up, and if possible get a solicitor to cast an eye over it as well."

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  • Colin_m  |  June 28 2012, 11:38AM

    We too signed up for solar panel from Free-Solar but after 4 surveys followed by several months of virtually nothing except broken promises and contradictions, we soon realised they were a bunch of cowboys and gave up contacting them. They eventually went away and we haven't heard anything from them for over 6 months. It seems as though we have had a very lucky escape.

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