What can I do regarding a canceled solar installation with a roof installation?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do regarding a canceled solar installation with a roof installation?

The solar company ran estimates and drew a plan. One of prerequisites was installing new roof. The whole installation process including the roof was not supposed to be started until all permissions and agreements with local utility were finalized. The company went ahead and changed the roof. About 1/2 year later of giving me the runaround, they canceled the installation saying that they could not reach agreement with utility. Now they demand full payment for the roof. What should I do? The original roof still had 5-10 years of life left but not enough for the solar panels to be installed on it.

Asked on July 8, 2019 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you have to pay for the roof, assuming the price they are charging is a reasonable one (they can't get an unreasonable or excessive price). 
1) Even if they breached the contract--which they evidently did--under the theory of "unjust enrichment" you still cannot retain a benefit (new roof) you received without paying for it, since it would be unjust and inequitable to let you do that.
2) Even if they lied or misrepresented what they would or could do--and it appears they may have--thus committing fraud and giving you the right to "rescind" the contract, recission requires returning the benefit you received (the new roof) since recission leaves both parties in the same position they had been in pre-contract. You can't keep the roof without paying for it, and as a practical matter, removing/returning it is not possible.

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