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10Investigates: Knoxville-based solar company 'downsizing due to major issues' with parts from supplier

At least 140 complaints against Solar Titan USA have been filed with the Tennessee and Kentucky attorneys general. The company is under investigation in Georgia too.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — George Purdy always dreamed of being free of $400-a-month electric bills. That's what drew the military veteran to Solar Titan USA in the summer of 2020.

He wishes he hadn't made the $26,000 investment for his Blount County home.

"I'm paying $200 a month for the panels and we're still paying light bills over $300 a month," Purdy told 10News. "You put that in and I'm paying $550 to $600 a month for my light bill."

Purdy and 63 other frustrated customers have filed complaints with the Tennessee Attorney General's Office, according to its consumer complaints division. The number has climbed since the summer, when WBIR first looked into the solar firm.

"At this point, the Tennessee Attorney General's Office is continuing to review complaints," press secretary Elizabeth Lane told WBIR. "We encourage consumers who feel they may be affected to file a complaint at tn.gov/consumer."

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office had received 80 complaints against the company as of Dec. 2, up from just nine in March 2022.

The Georgia Attorney General's Office told 10News Solar Titan USA is the subject of an open matter, so it cannot comment.

"This company has done nothing but take advantage of people all across East Tennessee," Purdy said. "I hope somewhere down the line the attorney general or consumer advocates get ahold of [Solar Titan USA], take them to court and sue them for their misdeeds."

Credit: WBIR
Solar Titan moved from its headquarters of N. Peters Road on December 7.

Solar Titan USA in Knox County has undergone changes in recent months.

A spokesman told 10News it moved from its rented headquarters at 414 N. Peters Road on December 7 under terms of a "mutually agreeable lease termination."

In response to a 10News inquiry, it said it is "downsizing due to major issues caused by the Generac product failures."

It is now headquartered in shared office space about six minutes away on E Cross Park Drive. 

"This is not a customer-facing location. The company does not have a showroom or walk-in customer service," the spokesperson said. "They also operate a warehouse and have a P.O. box they use."

Credit: WBIR

Generac is the subject of multiple lawsuits filed by consumers, installers and shareholders. At least one major solar company, Pink Energy, has blamed Generac's defective products for putting them out of business.

"Solar Titan USA is working through these issues and is trying to get help from Generac for affected customers," the spokesperson wrote to 10News.

Richard Atnip, owner of Solar Titan, has sold at least three of his properties in 2022, records show.

Walton County, Fla., records show he sold a Miramar Beach home for $1.715 million on June 28.

Knox County records show he sold a Knoxville home for $550,000 on October 27.

Credit: Knox County

He sold a waterfront mansion in Knox County for $9.75 million on November 15, according to property records. 

Efforts to reach Atnip were unsuccessful.

10News asked Solar Titan USA about its overall financial health. It told us it is a private company and does not disclose financials. It said it is still accepting new customers and helping its existing ones.

"Customer service inquiries can be directed to Solar Titan at 865-392-1036 or by email at customercare@solartitanusa.com," the spokesperson wrote. 

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