Beware of Solar Scams
Use caution and patience to ensure you don’t fall victim to solar scams.
We are hearing more and more about how our members are approached about solar power as an investment in the future with benefits for generations to come. However, as the solar industry grows and more companies compete for your business, an uptick in misleading solar advertisements or sales practices is bound to happen.
Whether a friendly solar panel sales representative shows up at your door, calls, or emails to inform you about the benefits of solar power, remember to use caution before signing on the dotted line to a potential costly and long-term investment. Here are some red flags to look for:
- In general, be on the lookout for sales tactics that exaggerate the upfront cost of a solar installation to make financing appear necessary, use clever language disguising a solar or roof replacement loan as a “special program” sponsored by a government or utility, or claim that “program funding” is available “only in your area” or “only for a limited time.”
- Additionally, beware of solar companies that urge you to share your address, contact information, or utility bill to “see if you qualify,” which can then be used by sales staff to try and sell you a product or service.
Facebook and other social media sites have become common venues for ads promoting special “low-cost” or “no-upfront-cost” solar programs. These ads often target low- and middle-income homeowners.
In addition, members should be wary when approached by a solar company — from the sales staff, to the finance company, and the panel installer, all these points of contact could result in fraudulent interactions and false promises. Remember to consider the following:
- Do not feel pressured to sign a contract in person or online.
- Insist that the salesperson provide paper copies of all contracts and documents.
- Take time to read every document that requires your signature or initials.
- Seek advice from your electric cooperative to discuss availability of service, requirements, and other information.
- Get all of your questions answered before signing anything.
While there are legitimate financing products offered by installers and solar financing companies that can enable you to go solar with little to no upfront costs, make sure to exercise caution, and make the right choice for you and your family.