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2012.01.22 Gene Kingman
Geopeak SunPower Contract
Geopeak Energy

Equipment Supplier & Lessor

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Referenced Documents

GeoPeak Proposal
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NJ Clean Energy Document
Pemberton Borough Code 90

Legal Position

My Story

Buzalski vs GeoPeak Electric

GeoPeak Energy

geopeak commits Fraud

February 7, 2016

In January 2012, after having one company (SunRun/Trinity Solar)refuse to install a Solar Generator in Pemberton Borough, NJ because NET ENERGY METERS were not permitted (Pemberton Borough Electric Code Paragraph 90-11 Meter Requirements), I had a discussion with GeoPeak Energy. They provided me with a proposal for a lease which claimed a return on investment in 5 years. At the very first meeting, their representative, Mr. Gene Kingman, was advised that NET ENERGY METERS were prohibited and that SunRun had been unable to move forward in 2010. The GeoPeak Energy representative came back and Fraudulently stated that they had a proprietary installation technique so it would be possible to install a system and obtain the savings outlined in their proposal.

Not knowing any better at the time, I agreed to move forward and the system was installed. I won't bore you with all the details that transpired between the time the system was installed in July of 2012 and today except to say that it is impossible to get the benefits they claimed without the use of a NET ENERGY METER. This type of installation is called a GRID TIED Solar Generator. That is the type most commonly used in NJ and elsewhere. However since NET ENERGY METERS are prohibited, the most I could ever hope to gain is 16%-20% of the energy produced. Those figures are being confirmed by actual data.

The Lease sold to me was the result of FRAUD on the part of GeoPeak Energy. They had no way of getting around the Net Metering issue. The only alternative is to convert the generator to a GRID ASSIST system. I have only become familiar with these terms in the past month. A GRID ASSIST system uses battery backup to save the energy produced and provide it to the residence when the sun is not shining. It has another advantage that you hear little about. In the event that there is a large scale power failure, the GRID TIED system shuts down. It must have a live grid to connect to. That means, that should we have another SANDY, and there is no grid energy available, a GRID TIED system would be of no use. A GRID ASSIST system will continue to function even without power on the grid until all the stored energy in the battery array is depleted. These systems are comparable in cost to a whole house natural gas powered generator but have the advantage that they are silent while operating and have no additional fuel cost. That makes them an excellent choice in developments managed by associations.

Once it became clear that GeoPeak Energy had no solution to the problem, I offered to purchase a battery back up system if they would install it. They did not respond to that offer. I have moved forward with litigation. The lease contract requires arbitration. To date, GeoPeak Energy has tried to avoid that process. Their latest ploy was to offer me $10,000 in settlement. The cost to convert the system to a GRID ASSIST generator is about $25000. The cost of the Lease (paid up front) is $23,500. Only about 16% of the energy generated is available to me with the system as it stands. Since I use 10,000 kwh per year 8,400 kwh that I have paid for in the lease are lost. It costs about $.11 per kwh to generate that energy so I am losing about $18,480. However Pemberton Borough does buy that energy at $.05 per kwh. That will net me $8400 over 20 years. My loss is reduced to $10,080. However, I have to purchase that energy from Pemberton Borough at $.22 per kwh or $36,960 for the 20 years of the lease. That is added to the prior loss for a total of $47,040.

I'm retired and on a fixed income. I was looking to save money by installing this solar system. My legal fees are now in excess of $20,000 so my total loss is in excess of $67,000. GeoPeak Energy wants to settle for $10,000. Unless this is settled favorably, I will be forced to sell my home and leave the state.

In all fairness to GeoPeak Energy it was their salesman who committed the fraud. However they are responsible for the actions of their employees. It should also be stated that the technical staff from GeoPeak Energy did a beautiful job of installing the system. I would in fact recommend them in an area where GRID TIED Generators are the norm. That aspect of the experience was positive. However, over the 3 years of difficulty understanding why there was no benefit from the installed system, no one, not a single person from GeoPeak Energy, pointed to the lack of the NET ENERGY METER as the cause. They knew or should have known that without a NET ENERGY METER the proposed operation of this system was impossible.

I'd like to express my appreciation to Fred Hauber of Eastern Energy Services and Franklin Freedman of Indoor Generator for their insight and understanding of the issues discussed here.  It was the information provided by them that has put the above issues into clear perspective.