With the many perks that come from solar panels, it's no wonder so many homeowners are making the switch to solar energy. But that raises the question: How can you avoid falling victim to a solar scam artist when you have solar panels installed?
When it comes to money, no group of people is off-limits to a scam artist. Even people who are massively curbing their carbon footprint and enhancing their quality of life by going solar can be victims of a solar con artist.
While the vast majority of solar installers are upstanding citizens, bad actors lurk in every industry. Just a little knowledge about the sneaky tricks to look for will help you a lot in deciding on which solar installer to use.
Here are six categories to pay attention to when you upgrade your home to capture clean, inexpensive solar energy.
1. Don't Let Them Start Installing Your Solar Panels Without a Contract
No matter what your solar installer says, don't let anyone start work on your home without a contract in place. Starting work without a contract is a tactic that dishonest companies use to scam you into paying more than what was agreed upon.
Here's how the scam works.
The company will start the work and then refuse to finish until you've signed a contract. That contract will then have inflated prices and extra charges that were never discussed. Under duress, most homeowners sign the contract and pay the inflated fees simply because they need the solar work completed.
You can avoid all this hassle and added expense by refusing to allow anyone to start your solar work until all paperwork is signed. When it comes to protecting your financial health, put your foot down!
2. Don't Fall for Exaggerated Solar Panel Rebates
Thanks to rebates, tax credits, reduced electricity costs, and increased home value, solar panels are a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. That being said, it's important to note that for many, solar panels do come with upfront costs.
Incentives and tax credits help mitigate those costs by a substantial amount. Unfortunately for those looking to install solar panels, there are companies out there that spread misleading information.
A reputable solar panel installer will be upfront about the specific solar incentives and solar rebates you qualify for.
Don't be tricked into thinking you can save more than you can on your solar energy project. If you bank on one amount and later find out that you're not eligible for a certain solar rebate, or if the perk of a solar incentive has been exaggerated, that could lead to immense financial strain.
And you can verify those solar energy perks with help from EnergyBillCruncher. Locate your town's favorite solar installers in seconds, and get estimates on your solar energy project. Be sure to review the numbers for yourself so that you understand your bottom line.
As for upfront costs, keep in mind that most homeowners say that the solar energy perks of owning a renewable energy system far outweigh the costs up front.
30% savings is yours no matter what.
One of the strongest financial incentives of adopting clean solar energy at home doesn't come from a particular solar installer—it's the generous 30% Federal solar tax credit set in 2022. Under this national program, you can deduct almost a third of the cost of buying your home solar energy system from the Federal taxes you owe for the year the solar system is activated. This could mean $4,000 to $6,000 in solar energy savings, more than enough to cover the installation costs of typical solar energy systems.
3. Watch for Pushy Solar Lease or Solar Loan Tactics
Generally speaking, you will get the most out of solar panels if you buy them outright. If you lease the panels, you won't be eligible for any solar tax credits; the company that owns the panels gets to reap those rewards.
Nonetheless, most people with home solar energy systems lease them because of certain conveniences.
You could borrow money to buy solar panels outright. A loan for solar energy makes sense for some, provided the terms are competitive. If the solar provider you're working with is currently pushing you towards one financing or lease option, be wary. He might be hoping for a kickback.
Pay close attention to all the terms of the solar contract, including what happens if you decide you no longer want the solar panels or if you decide to sell the home. If your solar contract is unusually complex, it might be difficult to find a buyer who is willing to take it over.
Treat solar panel shopping the same as you would a mortgage. You know that with a mortgage, you should shop around for your best mortgage options, speak with many providers, and know your bottom line. It's the same with solar panels. If you don't shop around, you may get locked into a solar energy contract that goes on for years and charges you hundreds, or even thousands, in interest.
Pushy salespeople are often trying to dissuade you from reading the terms of an offer. They want you to sign without a careful review so that they will have you on their hook. Solar panels are a big investment; treat them as such! Take your time so that you can make an informed decision about your solar panel investment.
4. Be Suspicious of No Warranty Guarantees on Solar Panels
Reputable solar installers offer comprehensive warranties and guarantees of their work. If the solar provider you're speaking with doesn't have such a warranty, it's time to find someone else.
Because solar panels are attached to the roof of your home, you want the work to be guaranteed. It can be quite costly if the solar panel installer makes an error, and the work needs to be re-done. You shouldn't have to pay for someone else's mistake.
When meeting with solar installers and comparing offers, be sure to inquire about their warranties, including their workmanship coverage. It's not uncommon for dishonest companies to install solar panels without warranty coverage and then try to charge you a considerable amount of money to fix a problem they created.
Review warranty coverage on all aspects, including the solar panels themselves, all related equipment, and workmanship, before making any decisions.
5. You Shouldn't Feel Pressured to Sign
When it comes to any large purchase, it's always best to compare rates and offers. Typically, those who get multiple quotes go on to save a significant amount of money compared to those who take the first offer that comes along.
Without more than one offer, how do you know you're getting the best deal?
Solar panels are an investment and come with upfront costs. To help curb those costs, compare reputable solar installers in your area. How can you easily compare your local solar installers? By using EnergyBillCruncher.
At EBC, homeowners can explore state-specific solar incentives at their own pace and connect with local solar installers when they are ready.
If you're being pressured into signing a contract, odds are it's not a great deal and they are trying to lock you into something before you have a chance to do some comparison shopping.
6. Solar Scams After the Fact
Should you decide that solar panels are the right move for you, here's a scam to watch out for once you have the panels installed: People posing as utility workers or solar installers claiming you need replacement solar equipment.
When it comes to solar replacement parts or perceived solar installation issues, don't take just anyone's word for it. Check with your solar installer any time someone wants to address an issue with your panels, and always ask for ID verification.
Remember: Scammers try to scare you into thinking there is a problem and use time-is-of-the-essence tactics to trick you into making a decision then and there. Always check in with your solar installer first!
Now that you know six gotchas to watch out for, remember why you are interested in clean solar power in the first place.
Solar Panel Perks
Don't let the idea of a solar panel scam scare you away from installing solar panels onto the roof of your home. With just a little due diligence, you can easily avoid a solar scammer and enjoy the many perks that come from having your very own renewable solar energy system.
With help from EnergyBillCruncher, you can connect with local solar companies and start comparison shopping today. In no time, you will have quality solar panels on your home and will be able to:
- Reduce electricity costs
- Lessen your carbon footprint
- Enjoy an enhanced quality of life
- Add to your home's resale value
- Make use of tax credits
Explore all the solar incentives and solar rebates in your state today.
How You Can Easily Avoid Solar Scammers
Want to know a great way to avoid solar scammers and dishonest companies? Use EnergyBillCruncher when the time comes to explore your solar energy system options. You can compare solar energy offers from the comfort of your home before doing some digging of your own.
We'll leave you with perhaps the most important piece of advice. Take your time making a decision about your home solar energy system. Of course the 30% solar Federal tax credit is great (that's a no-brainer), but be sure to review state-specific solar incentives and solar rebates to ensure that you're making the most of every available solar offer.