Las Vegas rooftop solar company files for bankruptcy

Local rooftop solar installer Summerlin Energy Las Vegas LLC filed for voluntary bankruptcy Monday evening, after the company ceased all operations and terminated almost all of its employees earlier this month, according to its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The bankruptcy filing comes at a time of turbulence and uncertainty for the rooftop solar industry in the region. Summerlin Energy Las Vegas, with an estimated 200 to 299 creditors, reported more than $4 million in total liabilities and about $680,000 in total property.

In January, applications for rooftop solar in Southern Nevada fell 93 percent, a downshift that many saw as a reaction to new rates for solar customers and a trend that hit several local installers especially hard. After the Public Utilities Commission approved bill increases for solar customers in December, several local installers and national installers, including SolarCity and Sunrun, ceased their operations, a move that resulted in hundreds of layoffs.

According to its website, Summerlin Energy Las Vegas installed residential rooftop solar panels and commercial solar systems. Employment data for the company was not immediately available, but the filings show its office supplies included 44 cubicles and 17 additional desks.

A lawyer for the company was not available for comment about what led to the filing. But the company appeared to be following the debate over the new rates, posting several news articles to its website blog in December and January.

In November, the CEO of Summerlin Energy Las Vegas, Henry Gregory Bankey, was fatally shot after a dispute with his ex-wife.

The company's creditors include several workers with claims of unpaid wages in addition to a number of customers and business vendors. On Feb. 12, KTNV reported one customer had a $9,000 lien put on her house because the company had apparently not paid its bills to a local vendor. The customer who spoke to KTNV was one of the creditors listed in Monday’s filings.

Prior to the filing, the Nevada State Contractors Board had put the company on summary suspension, according to a license search. That status was last updated on Feb. 3, the website showed. According to the bankruptcy filings, the company had ceased operations by Feb. 4.

Summerlin Energy Las Vegas operated as an affiliate of Summerlin Energy LLC, which also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday. According to Summerlin Energy's filing, it owned five additional limited-liability companies — Summerlin Energy New Mexico, Summerlin Energy Los Angeles, Summerlin Energy Arizona, Summerlin Energy Riverside and Summerlin Energy El Paso.