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Suntech Recalls Solar Roofing Tiles

02/29/12

  05:57:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 299 words  
Categories: Residential Solar, Safety

Suntech Recalls Solar Roofing Tiles

Suntech America, in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has entered into a voluntary recall regarding certain models of solar power roofing tiles.  The product, known as SolarBlend™ Roof Tiles, has been involved in one  reported fire that only affected the roof tiles (not the underlying structure) and no one was injured.  Nevertheless, Suntech is attempting to contact homeowners who had the product installed and all affected systems should be shut down until repairs - which Suntech will provide at no cost to the homeowner - can be performed.

Suntech SolarBlend roof tile subject to recallThe SolarBlend tiles (an image of which is shown above) were manufactured and distributed throughout the United States from October 2009 through March of 2011.  The recalled model numbers include:

  • STP050D-5/ZCB (brown)
  • STP050D-5/ZCF (terra cotta) and
  • STP050D-5/ZCG (gray).

Consumers who believe that they have such tiles installed should contact their installer or Suntech directly at (888) 770-7122 between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or email to: services@suntech-power.com.

The Recall Alert suggests that there are only 300 or so installations of these tiles.  We decided to see what the CSI data would tell us about these products and who installed them.  Here are our results:

Installers

The good news here is that these products only account for a very tiny fraction of solar installs during the recall period.  The bad news is that - at least from a web search - it appears that many of these companies are no longer in business - meaning affected home owners will need to contact Suntech directly.

Run on Sun has never used these products - not because of a fear of potential fires, but simply because the roof tile product has a lower efficiency meaning that you need a larger roof area to provide the same amount of power.  You can check out our preferred solar products at our solar products page.

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Comment from: Dan Arguelles  
Dan Arguelles
5 stars
TIPV is the only way to integrate roof tile with solar: http://issuu.com/artezanos/docs/hybrid_tipv_goodman
03/03/12 @ 20:14
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Hi Dan - A bit conclusory - care to offer some reasons why? Jim
03/03/12 @ 22:12
Comment from: Dan Arguelles
Dan Arguelles
5 stars
Jim, The list is actually very long. In brief, Chinese made c-Si that small for use as a building integrated pv increase costs substantially at the expense of performance. Also these Suntech modules were made for a specific manufactured roof tile as a roof tile manufacturer’s solar option hence making it an expensive gimmick only to sell more roof tile. Flat horizontal panels on a profiled roof creates a visual discontinuity although on flat roof tiles not so much. With such small output including many connections with wiring, one can worry about the warranty issues like this recall. Also these panels may lack sufficient ventilation and c-Si technology is vulnerable to high heat conditions. Supporting American Made solar technology is the sustainable way to go. With a TIPV installation, one can use commercially available American solar technology that is price competetive in a sustainable roof tile form factor utilizing any manufacturer’s profiled roof tile. You can see a report to the Department of Energy in relation to grant funding for the TIPV and all of its sustainable benefits. Here is the link: http://issuu.com/artezanos/docs/tileintegratedphotovoltaicstipv
03/04/12 @ 17:12
Comment from: Alexis Moore
Alexis Moore
5 stars
Update March 8, 2012 Homeowners with SunTech roof tiles have received notices from homebuilders stating SunTech will no longer be making payments to homeowners for lost solar utility. My question is why is the company changing their tune?
03/16/12 @ 15:21
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Hi Alexis, thanks for commenting. Do you have these tiles? Could you send me a copy of the notice that you received? I would be happy to see what I can find out! You could send the notice to info at runonsun dot com Best regards… Jim
03/16/12 @ 17:15
Comment from: Alexis Moore  
Alexis Moore
Hi Jim, Sent you along the info I received regarding the recall. We received payments from Applied Solar up until March 2012 when they stopped. Yesterday April 18, 2012 US Consumer Product Safety Commission sent out notice to us as well. Many homeowners however are *NOT* receivign the notifications that are impacted however so as a former firefighter that is troubling news for me to know. The feds say the fix is the installation of a mushroom barrier. Other engineers and solar experts I have spoken with say the integrated solar roof tile systems by design are flawed and known to overheat because of the lack of air flow. Bottom line I want a safe system with no risk of fire. So my radar is up on this one and definitely hoping to speak with solar engineers and experts who can tell me more about the safety of the integrated solar roof tiles. Alexis at Alexis Moore dot com is my email if any can provide me with further info or with contact info of solar experts.
04/29/12 @ 16:55
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Alexis - I sent your information on to my contact at Suntech. I will let you know (and post) what I learn. Best regards… Jim
04/29/12 @ 17:14
Comment from: Jerome Simons  
Jerome Simons
5 stars
Hello Jim, I am also interested in hearing what your contact at Suntech has to say. My subdivision in California has these tiles, and although most of them were installed prior to the October 2009 recall date, we are receiving little to no information on the situation. From what we were told, Applied Solar has essentially dissolved and we were told that it is now up to the home builder (in our case it is Centex) to remedy the situation. From what we were told on Friday 4/28, we should be receiving a letter from Centex on Monday 5/1 with a “response to the CPSC and plan of action” for our system. If I hear anything further I will be sure to post as I am also frustrated that we are no longer being reimbursed. Regards… Jerome
05/01/12 @ 13:48
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Jerome & Alexis - I’m afraid that so far I’m not getting a lot of good information. Here’s the entirety of the response that I received from my contact at Suntech: “Suntech has worked closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision to manage a correction for our SolarBlend product. Applied Solar (formerly Open Energy) is cooperating with the CPUC to determine an appropriate remediation solution related to their OE-34 product. We cannot comment further on their process as the OE-34 is not a Suntech product. Customers with the Suntech’s SolarBlend product can visit our website to schedule a free repair at the homeowner’s convenience: http://www.regcen.com/solarsystem/ ————– I am still trying to get more information and I will continue to pursue this issue. Jim
05/01/12 @ 13:58
Comment from: Susan Williams  
Susan Williams
Jim, Do you have any additional information? It’s now mid-July 2012; Centex homeowners were told that the company would graciously correct the issue but shortly after informed us that the “the repairs have been delayed.” Thanks, Susan
07/18/12 @ 15:21
Comment from: Randy
Randy
Yes, there is new news. We just received word from the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Council) regarding their approval of a recall repair procedure, and will be sending out a letter in the next few days to our customers. You should receive it soon
07/20/12 @ 08:17
Comment from:
angie
We received a letter from Centex that they have received approval from the CPSC and they will start repairing the solar systems. Unfortunately this will not take place unless one signs a release form which fully discharges Centex from any further liabilities regarding the CPSC Repair now or in the future
11/25/12 @ 13:22
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Angie - Could you please email a copy of that letter to me? I find it troubling that Centex is trying to extract such a quid pro quo for a mandated repair. You could send it to: info @ runonsun . com (Exploded to thwart spam bots!) Best… Jim
11/25/12 @ 13:27


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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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