Pink Energy said it has laid off approximately 500 people today, in addition to the approximately 600 cuts the business already made earlier this year. The company has blamed faulty Generac solar equipment for the job cuts.
The company said the cuts stem from the fallout of a Generac part called a SnapRS, an inline disconnect device designed to rapidly shut down power to individual solar panels as required by the National Electric Code. Pink Energy filed a federal lawsuit against Generac in August as a result of thousands of failures of these parts, which have been found to melt/burn at customer homes. SnapRS units, which have been part of nearly every Pink Energy solar energy equipment installation since 2020, are believed to have caused at least two fires at Pink Energy customer homes.
According to Pink Energy's lawsuit, as recently as June 2022, Generac has acknowledged a more than 40% failure rate in the SnapRS units but has not issued a national recall for the part. The faulty part is affecting the solar production at the homes of thousands of Pink Energy customers, making many upset that they were oversold when purchasing their solar system.
Generac assured Pink Energy in August 2021 that a firmware update would fix the issue of overactive SnapRS turning on and off repeatedly. Instead, the firmware update actually shut down portions of customer systems to prevent potential thermal events. According to its lawsuit, Pink Energy has reason to believe Generac was aware that its firmware update would have significant adverse effects on the production of customer solar systems, but its CEO, Aaron Jagdfeld, did not disclose until 10 months later to Pink Energy (June 2022) that the firmware update was only an "interim solution" until a third-generation SnapRS part arrived.
"We trusted Generac because of its status as a publicly traded company to be honest and open about its firmware update being a permanent fix, and it was not. That's led to thousands of unhappy customers and crippled all parts of our business, leading to our layoffs," Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller said. "We need Generac to take responsibility for these failing parts by issuing a national recall. It's not just our business that's having issues with Generac solar products, other solar installation companies have advised us that they are experiencing these same issues. Generac seems more interested in protecting its stock price than taking accountability for equipment failures."
Pink Energy said Generac's faulty equipment has caused it to experience an influx of 30,000 inbound customer calls per month, many times higher than its historical level of only 800 calls per month. It continues to field calls and address issues related to the SnapRS and is even seeing failures in other Generac component pieces. In having replaced approximately 50,000 SnapRS itself, Pink Energy has terminated its relationship with Generac and prevailed upon the company to take over responsibility for all future services related to Generac products, including replacement of SnapRS components and clearing lockout errors, in order to streamline the resolution of issues for Pink Energy customers.