In today’s world, you must have encountered spam communications a few times. It happens because once you communicate your intent for any product, the information gets distributed throughout the internet. People and others in the solar industry want to reach someone like you.
It happens in the solar power industry as well. If you ever fill out your contact form on the wrong website, you might get surrounded by telemarketing calls, texts, and spam emails.
These spam calls can be from a solar panel company, third-party operations that contract with these solar industries, or multiple solar companies. Solar scam is known to hurt the solar market. Increasing solar scams make it difficult to communicate the true value of solar to consumers.
Keep reading to know how to avoid solar panel scams and more.
What are Solar Panel Scams?
Solar panel scams are self-explanatory, so let’s talk about their purpose. Some companies do this to sell solar products or services in a pushy way. Commonly, it is done over the phone where the spammers continuously try to reach the customers in a pushy way.
It’s advised to be aware of the information you put out publicly as the scam takes place through calls, emails, and similar messaging systems. That means whenever you put out your phone number or email publicly; you unknowingly open the possibility that your information can get into the hands of spammers.
Types of Solar Power Scams by Solar Companies
One of the most acceptable ways to avoid solar panel scams is to educate yourself about spam types. Below are some of the most common ways that some companies use solar panel scams:
#1 Misrepresentation of Solar Incentives
Customers who decide to go solar get to choose from different incentives. Some popular ones are federal solar tax credits and additional local incentives through city government, state government, or utility companies.
The many options can easily make you overwhelmed to research and understand each opportunity. Unfortunately, a solar spamming company can use it to its advantage to misrepresent the incentives.
It’s advised not to rush into anything. Instead, you must take time to easily underrate whether or not a solar industry is misrepresenting the information. Lastly, you must check the “.gov” websites for rebate information.
#2 Government Program Representative
Some solar scammers pretend to be government program representatives. They pose as a person looking to help with the ongoing constituents in the going solar market.
You must note that the government never engages in such activities or hires anyone to spread such information. So, if you ever get a call from someone claiming to be a government representative, it’s another solar panel scam.
#3 Instant Solar Quotes
A few companies offer a feature called a solar quote calculator, which helps to calculate solar quotes instantly. While it’s a great feature, it’s important to remember that each home is different. So, adjusting to a single solar quote is irrelevant and not possible.
Major Red Flags for Solar Power System Scams
The number of companies offering solar power panels has increased with the demand for renewable energy resources. But before you invest in any solar energy system, you need to have accurate information, so you don’t get scammed.
You must avoid solar panel scams while generating your energy. Below are a few ways you can spot a scammer and protect your money:
#1 High-Pressure Sales Tactics
A major red flag is when trying so hard to make the customers purchase the solar energy system no matter what. Such sellers might also offer oversized systems that might not benefit from the solar.
They would also give you a solar energy system quote without evaluating your building. If any seller offers this service, you need to relax and ask yourself, “how does the seller know the size of a system to be installed without measuring the obstructions and square footage?”
A professional solar industry company will always correctly inspect your home. That way, they would be able to give a proper estimate of the system’s cost and whether it’s ideal for you or not.
#2 Unrealistic Deals
Always remember that certain things are too good to be true, like free installation and extremely low prices for solar power panels.
Solar panel scams are similar to a contractor offering unbelievably low deals that cannot be trusted. Indeed, the deals are pocket-friendly, but they will leave you empty-handed with their low-class service.
#3 Long-term Contracts
Certain sellers claim to offer free solar products if you sign their long-term lease agreement. This agreement might help you save a few bucks but won’t offer you the full benefit of your investment.
Investing in solar energy is wise as it can pay for itself in ten years. A solar system can offer energy at 90% efficiency for up to 25-30 years. But if you lease a system, you might not be able to reap the return benefits.
Furthermore, purchased solar power panels offer better tax breaks than a leased system. Also, it’s difficult to break long-term contracts once you have signed them.
#4 Posing as Government or Utility Company Representatives
Another major red flag is when a seller is trying to make you its customer by claiming to be a government entity. Always beware of the companies that claim to be government officers or utility company representatives. They may claim that their product has zero upfront cost. Or they can contact you to sell a solar loan.
Federal, state, and local governments indeed offer limited-time tax credits and rebates; you can find better deals online. You can also contact a professional company to know whether or not you can take advantage of this scheme.
#5 Tax Credits
Sellers try to get more customers by promising substantial tax credits. But you won’t be able to get these credits if you lease the solar energy system instead of purchasing it.
#6 Solar Panel Replacements
Many companies claim to replace your existing solar panels. It’s advised to avoid such companies as the offer comes with strings attached.
For instance, the dishonest seller might want you to sign for a roof replacement loan. Many companies would try to lure you into replacing existing panels for free only to exchange them for faulty ones.
#7 Affiliating with a Utility Company
Trusted solar installers would never partner with any solar installation companies. Supporting and leveraging solar systems differs from asking customers to purchase solar energy systems from a specific company.
#8 No Utility Bill
Any company was claiming that you won’t be receiving electricity bills after installing a solar energy system. You will surely get electricity bills, but the amount will be much less.
#9 High Deposit
It’s important to note that no trusted company would ask you to pay the full amount while you place the order. When you pay the full price, the company offers terrible service. Most companies only ask for 10% of the total amount for solar systems, which is justified.
#10 Long Waiting List for Installation
If a company makes you wait for more than six weeks for solar system installation, you just think again. In such a case, it’s better to ask the company why they can’t book your installation for a date within two months and proceed with caution.
A professional company would never keep you waiting, even during the busiest months of the year. The maximum a trusted company will make you wait is around 4 to 6 weeks.
#11 Bad Reviews
No matter what you purchase, you should never ignore online reviews. The reviews help you understand whether or not the product is worth it.
You can check Facebook, Google, Better Business Bureau, and Solar Reviews for a solar energy system. This way, you can know what the customers are saying. You can check the local reviews of the company to get a better idea about its working.
#12 No License, Certifications, or Insurance
Any solar panel installation company that does not have proper certifications, licenses, and insurance should be off your list. The best thing to do is ask the company to show proof that states that the company meets all the state requirements. If a solar company holds NABCEP certification, you must consider hiring it as it is considered the gold standard in solar.
#13 Use of Subcontractor
Before selecting a company for solar system service, you need to check whether it outsources installers or has in-house installers. Anyone working on your solar project must understand the work well.
Without the right training and knowledge, the installer might not be able to offer satisfactory service. You can ask the solar power company to perform a background screening for each employee before they install a solar system. It will ensure the safety of your family members.
How to Stay Away from Solar Panel Rip-Off Schemes
Here’s how you can avoid solar panel scams when you are looking to install a solar system.
- Before saying yes to any solar panel installers, you must read the online reviews. It will help you avoid companies with low ratings and complaints.
- You can also check whether or not the solar system company has outstanding complaints. For this, you can take help from the Better Business Bureau and local consumer protection agencies.
- Always look for unrealistic deals and high-pressure sales tactics.
- Hire a company that sells panels and does not lease them.
- Stay away from installers who do not want to work with a contract.
- Lastly, you must ask questions about cancellations, service agreements, and warranties.
Instead of rushing, you need to take your time to find the right seller. You can avoid solar panel scams with common sense and legwork.
It’s advised to immediately report to the FTC after you get caught in the scam. You can also consult your attorney to find the right civil lawsuit against the company.
Is my Home Suitable for Solar Panels?
Many house owners are looking for ways that can help them to reduce costs. In doing so, utilizing the sun’s power can significantly help. That’s because it helps lower energy bills and contributes to a green environment.
But you cannot choose a random seller to add a solar system to your home. You need proper planning, investigation, and research to get satisfactory service.
In addition, getting a solar system might not make sense for every home. So, before you get onboard with the solar system idea, you must know:
- Energy Usage for the Home: You must evaluate the power required to fulfill your and your family’s needs.
- Roof’s Condition: You need to find out the weight that the roof of your house can handle. If the roof can’t handle the weight, should you replace it or repair it?
- Location of the Home: Do you live in an area that can benefit from solar system installation?
- Sunlight vs. Shade: You need to figure out whether or not the roof of your home gets enough sunlight. Also, if you should remove the trees or not for the efficient working of the solar system.
- Panel Configuration: If your home’s roof does not have enough space for the solar system, you must reconsider your decision.
Tips for Buying Solar Power System
Buying a solar system for residential use is essential. But you must never get carried away with the advertising. Purchasing solar power is a substantial investment, which requires you to focus on the main aspects of the buying.
Below are tips you can follow to purchase the best solar system without disappointment.
It’s always better to ask your friends or colleagues who previously had installed solar systems. They can guide you with their experiences, so you don’t make the same mistakes. You can also know about the problems which you can easily avoid. It’s one of the best solar system buying tips.
#2 Length of Manufacturer’s Warranty
You must consider what the manufacturer guarantees and offers when looking for a solar system. If the seller offers an extended warranty period of around 25 years through a power purchase agreement, you know that the panels will last longer.
At the same time, it’s also important that the company must remain still in operation so you can claim the warranty. Consider purchasing solar systems from trusted companies so the warranty is not revoked.
#3 Have Realistic Price Expectations
If you have purchased solar panels for a significantly lower price than similar-sized ones, you might find yours working poorly. Remember that quality equipment and solar installation come at a price.
You must always compare the components and warrant periods. In addition, don’t forget to check with the company that offers the installation service. Most companies offer reduced costs by cutting necessary corners. You must be aware of such service providers.
#4 Solar Panel Certifications
Before making a purchase, you must check the certification, especially for purchases that might attract a government rebate. By checking the certification, you can know the type of testing the solar system has undergone.
For example, if your solar panels have TUV IEC 61215 certification, it has undergone independent laboratory testing. Also, it has met the advertised specifications. Besides this, solar panels also have self-attested certifications where the company claims to be honest about its advertised promises.
#5 Choose the Type of Panel
There are different solar panels. Thus, you need to choose the right type, so it serves the purpose.
Mono-crystalline solar panels should be your pick if you have limited roof space. It’s highly efficient and will help you reduce your utility bills. The next solar system is polycrystalline solar panels, an advanced version. These have thin-film technologies.
If the roof space is sufficient, you might consider the panel sizes and output. If you fill up your roof with low-quality solar panels, it might reduce the possibility of adding more panels. It can further decrease the power output of the space.
No matter what the company claims, no solar system can work efficiently in the shade.
#6 Solar Panel Mounting
It’s important to ensure that your area’s tracking system, roof, or ground mounting has been certified.
For instance, if your area is cyclone prone, you need to invest in a solar system that has a cyclone-rated mounting system and mounting brackets. Similarly, the quality systems must be rated wind certified.
If you overlook the certifications and make a random purchase, your solar panels can be taken off during the nasty climate. So, you must check the warranty agreements and wind certification and get a copy of essential documents.
#7 Solar Inverter Efficiency
A power inverter for the solar system is a box that can perfectly convert DC electricity from the solar panels into AC energy for usage. Since solar inverters are different, they can take a toll on efficiency. So, you must always check the efficiency because the more it is, the better it works.
More efficiency also ensures less wastage of heat during energy conversion from DC to AC. You can ask for recommendations or quick research to find the best options.
#8 Get Solar Quotes
The last thing you can do is get solar quotes from trusted and reputed providers. While getting the quotes, you must not get swayed away by the quoted prices. It is because cheaper quotes might not always be the best option.
Installing solar panels is encouraged as it’s a renewable energy source. It significantly reduces the electricity bill and has diverse applications. Not to mention, the maintenance cost is also significantly low.
But you must be aware of the solar panel scam when getting one for your home. Solar panels are getting popular with the increase in the demand for renewable energy. Along with it, solar panel scams are also taking over.
You can follow the tips mentioned in this post to mark yourself safe from the solar panel scam.
Which solar panel is the best?
Mono-crystalline panels are the best among the available types as they have a better efficiency rate than other solar panels. These panels can convert 20% of sunlight into AC energy. On the other hand, polycrystalline panels can convert around 15%-17%.
How to tell the quality of a solar panel?
A lower-quality solar system might be a high-temperature coefficient. Around 0.5% to 0.3% is a reasonable number. But 0.7% is not a good solar panel.
How long does a solar panel last?
On average, solar panels are built to last for 25 years. But the best ones can last a lot longer than this.