A family firm exposed by the BBC’s X-Ray programme is to repay £160,000 to people who paid out for solar panels they never received.
Anthony Davies, 48, from Gorslas, Carmarthenshire, was said to be the driving force at Clear Energy UK Ltd.
He was given a suspended sentence at Swansea Crown Court along with his partner, Jodie Davies, 43, and father, John Davies, 69.
The prosecution was brought by Swansea council trading standards department.
The court was told the company had offered to install solar panels to generate money for farmers.
But they were never supplied and the money was used to keep other businesses afloat.
Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said officers started an investigation after receiving complaints.
Under the industry’s code of conduct, deposits and advance payments should have been kept in a bank account separate from the business.
Investigators had expected to find £235,000 in that account but discovered it was £5 in the red.
Anthony and Jodie Davies admitted three trading standards offences.
John Davies, from Hendre, near Ammanford, admitted aiding and abetting them.
The court heard that £160,000 would be repaid from a new business venture set up by Anthony and Jodie Davies.
Judge Peter Heywood said he would have jailed the trio but that would have meant people they cheated would not receive compensation.
He ordered that £130,000 must be paid within 28 days and the outstanding £30,000 within 18 months.