Federal and state tax credits, reduced energy bills, or just going green – businesses and homeowners have more reasons to switch to solar power than ever before. According to estimates, the solar power industry is set to grow 4X over the next 10 years. No wonder solar panel scams are rife.
From false claims to low-quality systems to outright fraud – there are many ways solar panel frauds can be perpetrated. So how can you tell a scam from the real deal? Keep reading to find out:
- Common solar panel scam tactics
- Red flags you need to watch out for
- How you can avoid getting defrauded
Common Solar Panel Fraud Tactics
There are no shortages of solar energy scams, but fortunately, most follow similar patterns, making it possible for you to avoid them. Here are some common red flags to look out for.
1- Aggressive Sales Tactics
Some solar fraud tactics focus on getting consumers to purchase no matter what. Dishonest sellers may offer oversized systems or install them on buildings that won’t benefit from solar. A major red flag is if you get a quote for your solar energy system without the seller having evaluated your building.
How could they know how big a system should be installed without assessing square footage and obstructions?
For instance, when you book a (free) audit with Airis, we conduct a thorough inspection of your premises. Our team tells you about the size and cost of the system, and whether the savings make it worthwhile for you. We even tell some interested buyers ‘No’, if they won’t receive a meaningful ROI.
2- Unrealistic Deals
It’s true – some things are too good to be true. Unbelievably low prices for solar panels and free installation being among them.
Solar panel scams are sometimes as simple as a contractor offering you a deal that seems too good to be true. Most likely, they’ll happily pocket your money and leave you empty-handed or install faulty equipment.
3- Long-Term Contracts
Some installers may advertise “free” solar panels as part of a contract. This is essentially a long-term lease agreement. While it might help you save money on your monthly energy bills, your money isn’t going towards the purchase of a system, which means you don’t get the full benefits of your investment.
Solar energy is a great investment that can pay for itself within ten years. Panels continue to provide energy at 80% efficiency for up to 40 years. If you are leasing the system, you’ll continue to pay for it and never reap the return.
Additionally, leased systems don’t offer the same tax breaks as a purchase does. These leases are often part of long-term contracts that are difficult to back out of once you enter into them.
4- Posing as the Government or Utility Company
Posing as a government entity is consistently the most common type of scam. If you get a phone call or an email from someone claiming to be from a government office or your utility company is offering rebates or tax credits for solar panels, beware.
While there are limited-time tax credits and rebates from the federal, state, and local governments, they are always easy to find online. You can also speak to us and find out if you (as a business or homeowner) can take advantage of these.
How to Avoid Solar Panel Rip-Off Schemes
There are a few key things to look for avoiding a solar panel scam when you are looking to install a solar energy system:
- Read online reviews and look out for companies that have frequent complaints and low ratings.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau and your local consumer protection agency to determine if a company has any outstanding complaints.
- Beware of high-pressure sales tactics and be on the lookout for unrealistic deals.
- Choose a company that sells panels rather than leasing them.
- Be wary of installers that want to start without a contract.
- Ask questions about warranties, service agreements, and cancelation options.
You should take the time to do your research and ask questions before you invest in solar panels. Scams can take many forms, but they can be avoided with a little legwork and common sense.
If you are caught in a scam, you should report it to the FTC as soon as possible. They have additional resources and guidelines for action you can take here. Filing a civil lawsuit (or criminal complaint) is another option, but one that you should discuss with an attorney.
Avoid Solar Panels Scams…Go Solar With Airis
Work with one of the leading solar energy companies in the US and install your solar energy system confidently. Airis has been helping businesses and homeowners go solar since 1996. We have successfully installed over 2000 solar projects in more than 40 countries.
No pushy sales tactics, no tall claims about savings – we’re here to help you transition responsibly to solar power. When you book a free consultation, we’ll:
- Assess your premises for its potential
- Give you accurate estimates for the cost of the project
- Tell you much you could save
- Find competitive financing options and interest rates
- Take care of maintenance and servicing for 20 years
Want to cut your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint? Contact us for more information about our solar energy systems.