Beware of Solar Scams: Things to know before choosing a solar contractor.
In recent years solar has attracted many Iowans looking for a clean energy alternative and long-term money savings; unfortunately, like anything that becomes popular, it also attracts scammers. According to a recent article by Kate Kealey (2022), the Iowa Attorney General recently uncovered solar companies, both in-state and out-of-state, luring potential customers with aggressive marketing tactics that have cost people thousands of dollars.
“The kind of heartbreaking stuff we are hearing is people have paid a lot of money, and they still do not have solar power to their home,” said Lynn Hicks, the Chief of Staff for the Iowa Attorney General.
If you’re ready to hire a solar professional, do your homework and watch out for misleading advertising.
“There are some good companies out there. I just encourage people to do their homework.” Hicks said. “You can check online reviews, if you know somebody else who has solar panels, talk to them… We are just encouraging people to do their due diligence.”
How to Spot Scams and Identify Misleading Solar Ads:
- Does the salesperson try to push you into a quick signing? Be sure they allow you time to think.
- Is the solar company suggesting you sign a solar lease? A solar lease may seem like a good idea but if you change your mind, move or if the system doesn’t meet production expectations, it can become a costly mistake.
- Will you receive solar tax credits? Tax credits are just that – a credit you receive back against your tax liability. Never turnover your tax credits to a finance company.
- Do ads suggest you can “Put solar on your roof for free!” This almost certainly doesn’t mean free but rather, no money down. You’ll still have a monthly payment after that.
- Ads may look like an article from an independent publication with a picture of a politician or government official appearing to sign legislation.
- Ads might exaggerate the up-front costs of a solar installation and make it look like getting financing is the only option.
- Ads may put false time or area limits on their financing, or falsely claim government sponsorship.
Factors to consider when choosing a solar contractor:
- Credentials – Choose a contractor that is licensed, bonded, and insured to install solar in your area.
- Knowledgeable & Experienced – Seek out installers who have experience installing solar systems and are knowledgeable about all aspects of the process including technical, electrical, design and regulatory aspects of solar.
- Electrical Expertise – Seek out installers with a Master Electrician license and avoid companies that subcontract installation rather than doing it themselves.
- Roof Condition – Seek out installers that assess your roof condition and/or recommend repair prior to installation.
- Permits, Inspections, Connections – Will your installer handle all permitting, inspections, interconnection, and net metering applications?
- Warranties – Seek out companies that offer warranties on the equipment and the workmanship.
- Track Record & Testimonials – Does your installer have a history of successful projects? Ask for a list of local references and read online customer reviews.
- Pricing – Pricing should not be one-size fits all. Pricing will vary from customer to customer based on your home’s size, energy usage and other factors.
The process of going solar may seem complex but here at Rabe Hardware, we do our best to make the process easy and hassle-free. You’ll always receive free, honest, upfront pricing and we will NEVER try to sell you a solar system that does not make sense for your needs and/or goals.
To learn more about a Rabe solar system or to connect with a Rabe solar expert, contact us today!
Kate Kealey. (2022, July 12). Attorney general’s office investigates surge of solar panel installation complaints. Iowa Capital Dispatch. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2022/07/12/attorney-generals-office-investigates-surge-of-solar-panel-installation-complaints/