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BBB: Homeowners beware of solar scams

Choosing the right solar company
The Better Business Bureau warns homeowners to be watchful of potential solar scams
Posted at 11:14 AM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 10:33:41-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The solar industry has grown tremendously in the last 10 years and in 2019 Texas ranked second in the nation for solar growth.

Solar energy promises consumers lower bills, tax incentives and an increase in home value, making it a tempting option for homeowners.

With Spring the most popular time for solar panel sales and installation, consumers will start their search for the best deals.

But buyers beware!

Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau says there are a few things you should know before you buy solar.

Galan says when it comes to solar consumers do your homework.

"As the demand and use of solar energy grew, so did the number of complaints against the industry," she said. "Between 2010 and 2014, only 70 complaints were filed with BBB against Texas-based solar companies, but more than 1,000 were filed from 2015 to 2019. "

Many of the complaints reported issues with poor installation, inaccurate information regarding the federal solar tax credit and unsatisfactory panel performance.

Galan says most of the complaints centered around misleading claims about savings and benefits.

Solar panels can save homeowners money, but some companies claim or guarantee individuals can save thousands of dollars by using solar panels.

In reality, the amount saved depends on several factors, such as roof size, how many hours of direct sunlight your house receives and how much electricity a homeowner uses.

Solar energy offers several benefits, but if you're considering installing panels on your home, Galan has these tips to follow:

  • Review your utility bill and see how much energy you used in the past year along with the cost.
  • Evaluate how you use energy and determine if there are ways to reduce your usage. For example, purchasing more energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.
  • Figure out what size panel system you need, then use the customization calculator from the Department of Energy to help you estimate how much energy it will produce.
  • Contact your utility company to see what arrangements it makes with homeowners who produce solar power.
  • Determine if you need your homeowner's association permission to install a solar panel system.

To learn more about a particular business or product, always visit BBB.org for the latest information.