Studies have shown that green consumers are willing to pay extra for eco-friendly and sustainable products. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals are quick to notice this trend that there has been a surge in scams related to solar technology over the past several years.
The list below explains the two common tell-tale signs of solar panel scams.
- Dirt Cheap Offers
While the cost of solar panels continues to decrease over the past several years, don’t expect them to be dirt cheap. After all, producing them requires advanced manufacturing processes and expensive raw materials such as lithium and high-grade silicone, which are costly.
To give you a benchmark price, the Center for Sustainable Energy says that, on average, installation and solar system costs between $15,000 and $25,000. This wide variation is due to multiple factors such as rooftop design, household electricity demand, type of solar panel, accessories, labor cost, and rebates and tax incentives which differ from state to state.
- High-pressure sales pitch
If scammers have one favorite tool at their disposal, it is their high-pressure, time-constrained sales pitch. The goal here is to overwhelm you with baffling information in an attempt to force you to give in to their request, which often involves signing a shady contract or not giving you enough time to read the terms and agreements.
Remember that reputable sales reps will not shove their products down your throat. Anyone who forces you to make a quick, on-the-spot decision is either a scammer or rude, both of whom are not good to have a business with.
If you are unsure of the offer, tell the agent to leave his company details so you can call them at another time. If he refuses and still pressures you to sign up on the spot, you must realize that this is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
Do Some Companies Lease Solar Panels for Free?
While sales representatives may tell you that you will get solar panels for “free” if you sign up for their contract, you must realize that they will lock you into an arrangement that requires a monthly fee.
Another contract you have to be wary of is the power purchase agreement or PPA in which, as a homeowner, you purchase energy directly from the solar power company at a specific rate. In this arrangement, the company can take advantage of the tax and even monetary benefits provided by the state and local governments because they are technically the “owner” of the solar panels, although as an individual consumer, you still have to pay for the system that isn’t actually yours (talk about legal loopholes here).
To prevent becoming a solar scam victim, make sure that you do your due diligence before signing up for any service.
- Ask for paper copies of documents.
- Scrutinize every contract that requires your signature.
- Insist that the sales representative get all his promises in writing.
- Make sure that you are satisfied with the salesperson’s answers to your question.
- Never let anyone pressure you from signing a contract that you haven’t yet examined.
- Seek advice from a trusted advisor or a licensed solar installation contractor.
If you have roofing and solar installation needs, contact Yorkshire Roofing and RoofMax, a licensed and insured contractor servicing residential and commercial buildings in Northern California.