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BBB Accredited Business since
Phone: (808) 557-3756 P O Box 3175, Kailua Kona, HI 96745
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A BBB Accredited Business since
BBB has determined that Kona Solar Service LLC meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that raised the rating for Kona Solar Service LLC include:
- Length of time business has been operating.
- Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
- Response to 1 complaint(s) filed against business.
- Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
- BBB has sufficient background information on this business.
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||1|
|Total Closed Complaints||1|
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||0|
Licensing, Bonding or Registration
These agencies may include:
State of Hawaii Department of Taxation
PO Box 1425, Honolulu HI 96806
Phone Number: (808) 587-4242
The number is C30115.
State of Hawaii Department of Taxation
PO Box 1425, Honolulu HI 96806
Phone Number: (808) 587-4242
The number is W43406743-01.
Type of Entity
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Business ManagementMr. John Merwick, MEM Ms. Jennifer Merwick, MEM
Solar Energy System Design & Installation
Products & Services
This company offers designs & installation of solar energy systems.
P O Box 3175
Kailua Kona, HI 96745 (808) 557-3756
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Complaint Trends - Last 3 Years
Customer Review Trends
BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview
BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.
|Customer Review Experience||Value|
|Positive Review||5 points per review|
|Neutral Review||3 points per review|
|Negative Review||1 point per review|
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Problems with Product/Service
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: Installed solar hot water system with faulty design that had numerous major problems and installer refuses to fix them. My solar hot water system was installed in August 2011, which utilized my 50 gal HW tank and added a 30 gal storage tank, 4x10 panel, Delta T Pro controller with 5 temp and 2 flow probes, see figure 1. I couldn't connect my controller to my network until April 2012, so only then began to remotely monitor system performance. Data from my controller was very disappointing and showed the following major problems: 1. The flow to my solar panel was relatively short lived i.e. 9:30-noon, indicating that I was getting very little heat from my solar panel. 2. When the recirculation pump ran (5-8AM, 5-8PM), hot water was pumped to my solar panel resulting in heat loss via radiation from my solar panel. Also during that time, hot water was pumped into my cold water storage tank, which elevated its temp and reduced the "differential" and amount of heat gain I could get from my solar panel. 3. When my solar panel pump ran, hot water was pumped through my recirculation loop resulting in passive heat loss to my house and more hot water pushed into my cold water storage tank. 4. The temp probe (T3), on the hot water line running to my home, falls to very low levels (80-90F) whenever my solar panel pump is running. My guests and family often complain that there is no hot water in the house and that it seemed to take forever to get warm water from the tap. Despite these very troubling facts, the installer has argued that the system worked fine and my requested fixes are optional changes. We finally agreed upon an attempted fix consisting of the installation of 3 check valves, relocation of recirculation line connection and addition of 6th temp probe. Most of the aberrant flows were stopped except the big temp drop in my hot water line to my house continues. The marked temp drop in my hot water line (T3) stopped briefly after a new cold water mixer was installed (3/5/13) but began again within days, see figure 2. Also, there was only flow to my solar panel from about 9 am to noon so this solar system is still very inefficient. Around the time that the mixer was replaced, the T5 temp probe was moved at my request and the differential settings changed in the controller to use T5 to allow a more accurate energy calculation per controller's tech support recommendation. Since Kona Solar Service relocated the T5 probe it is severely malfunctioning and causing my solar panel pump to run well beyond the solar day (T5 is now programmed as hot line in controller for differential), see figure 3. Any energy savings I was getting from this very inefficient solar system are now being lost in extra electrical energy used power the solar panel pump for well beyond the solar day! Kona Solar Service cannot explain the troubling data that my controller displays and his proposed solution is to replace my powerful controller with a Stecca controller with only 2 temp probes. He claims that this is a standard 2 tank design in Hawaii and my recirculation loop is not a problem. Most experts that I consulted state that the system worked poorly because of faulty design and the recirculation loop made it much more complicated. He thinks that the other systems that he installed are working fine because they generate some solar heat. But he has no idea how inefficient they are. He doesn't know where the flows are actually going in his other 2 tanks systems (especially with recirc loop) and where the hot water is actually going since he only uses a controller with a hot and cold water probe. I feel sorry for the people who have his 2 tank installation if they only have his 2 probe controller. They have no idea how inefficient this 2 tank design is!
Desired Settlement: I want the damaged T5 probe replaced immediately so that I can begin to get accurate energy calculations. Then I want the system's flawed design to be fixed. Everyone that I have consulted with recommends replacing this poorly designed system with a standard 1 storage tank (80 gal) solar system to preheat water before electric HW tank. Other experts have said that the check valves have to be removed or they get clogged by sediment and eventually fail. I am willing to pay for a new 80 gal tank and half of the estimated labor to install it and convert system to conventional 1 solar storage tank system. I feel this is a very fair offer.
Business Response: Business' Initial Response /* (1000, 12, 2013/05/17) */ At Kona Solar Service we are absolutely committed to customer satisfaction and quickly resolving any concerns our customers may have. This case in point we have responded to EVERY concern large and small that this homeowner has raised. Including and not limited to: 1. Replacing "damaged" t5 sensor with new sensor per request 2. Installing an additional 50 gallon tank for a total of 80 gallons solar preheated storage capacity per request. This was done on May 2 2013. These changes were made to bring about a resolution to this complaint and satisfy the homeowners expert definition of what a properly designed system should look like. In our defense: The system that was installed was not of an unconventional design. It is an approved design by the rate payer funded rebate program we are proud to be affiliated with. It was a size requested by the homeowner taking into account available roof space, available closet space and installed within the parameters and design specifications of the rebate program. This design has a rated BTU production of 35,621 per day in that particular sun zone. We commonly see savings of $80-100/month with a system this size depending on homeowners hot water usage. If the monitoring system which was installed upon special request, consisting of 6 sensors and two flow meters is TRULY ACCURATE then this system is TRULY AWESOME averaging 40,767 btu/day from May 2012 to March 2013 (Graphs available upon request). April - May 2013 were not included because homeowner changed internal differential settings on controller in error and without my knowledge. Case closed. The system produces. Can we extract further gains in efficiency by implementing more elaborate valve and plumbing mechanisms? Absolutely. Question is - on whose dime? We have shown good faith and have kept open the line of communication and have had a good working relationship with the homeowner. When there has been revealed a flow or temperature rise or fall in a place that didn't look right, I've been out there to install check valves, redirect recirculation flows, replace mixing valves etc. as ways of tightening up the efficiency. All of this was done at the request of the homeowner and at our expense. There has been improvements in the readings as acknowledged by the homeowner yet a quantifiable measure of performance as a result of effecting said changes have yet to be provided. Will homeowner satisfaction come at 80%, 90% or 100% system efficiency? I am more than willing to continue fine tuning this system for efficiency improvements but not without compensation. Note. Long wait times for hot water are not our issue since homeowner chooses to only run recirculation pump 1 hour a day. Aloha and God Bless