This is a twist.
Southern California residents Ron and Sarah Hall were paying too much in electricity bills and decided to make the switch to solar, contracting Solar City to outline their roof with 36 solar panels. Nearly a year ago, the installation was complete and for that entire year, the energy bill did not change.
It turns out, the utility company had never turned the panels on. Because the panels were producing 128% the legal level of output, the state didn't want them activated. The state believes that if a resident is making too much power, they can sell the extra and are potential energy distributors, liable for additional commercial business regulations. The Halls were not told, they just kept paying their exorbitant bills.
The mistake was on Solar City. They had miscalculated the amount of energy needed by the Halls and installed too much, though it is also pointing out what looks like a flaw in the system. The state's regulatory system is attempting to limit peoples' power to control the energy.
Solar City apologized for the error and uninstalled the panels at no cost to the Halls, though the family was put through the ringer and said they will not be ordering from them again.
"Solar City was one of the best and we decided to go with them," Hall said, adding "it's frustrating."
This article was edited on 9/21/15 to express that the panels were not functioning at 128%, but rather were putting out 128% the legal amount of energy output for solar panels in the state.