A big player in the solar-energy installation market has closed, according to PSEG Long Island and several former employees.
Level Solar, which operated offices in Hicksville and Ronkonkoma, terminated employees Tuesday, according to a copy of a note sent to one of the employees. The company’s website has been suspended, and calls to the company’s Long Island and Manhattan offices were not answered. In 2015, the company reached an agreement to borrow up to $25 million from the state’s Green Bank program.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have no choice but to suspend the operations of Level Solar and terminate employees effective immediately,” according to the termination note signed by the board of directors.
Attempts to reach Kevin Johnson, the chief executive at the company’s Manhattan headquarters, were unsuccessful.
PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the utility was aware of the closing.
Weir said he didn’t believe the closure would have an impact on existing Level Solar customers, who receive a discount on their electric bills for essentially leasing their rooftops to the company over 20-year terms. Level, under a power-purchase agreement model, gets the benefit of federal tax credits and accelerated depreciation on the systems, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars for home installations.
Weir said that PSEG was less certain how Level Solar customers who were waiting for installation would fare.
PSEG manages solar installations on the LIPA system, including projects and installing special meters needed for all the jobs, including thousands for Level Solar last year.
Last year, two other companies, SunEdison and NRG Home Solar, left the solar installation business, while other players including SolarCity, have sharply curtailed their leased solar transactions.
Mike Rosenberg, vice president of marketing at rival SUNation Solar Systems, a Ronkonkoma company that primarily sells rather than leases systems, worked at Level Solar for three years until last November, he said.
This week, SUNation has interviewed and is the process of hiring 10 employees who were terminated by Level on Tuesday, he said.
Level Solar also had offices in Queens, Brooklyn, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, he said. Attempts to reach those offices weren’t successful.
Level’s business model “went out of favor,” Rosenberg said. Companies such as SolarCity are moving away from the leasing model and are promoting customer system ownership rather than leasing, he said.