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How To Avoid Solar Scammers

Going solar is a popular option for providing clean energy to a home or business. As good as that sounds, there are some negative issues within the solar power industry. Keep reading to learn how to avoid solar scammers. 

Like many Americans, you probably don't know a lot about photovoltaic (solar energy) or the companies that provide that service. The first tip is to recognize that. Because so few people have an in-depth knowledge of solar energy and how it applies to commercial and residential units, it makes it easy for con artists to trick you. Here is our list of things to consider before you sign a contract. 

1. Don't Be Rushed 

One tactic scammer's use is to pressure you into signing a contract right now. Don't. If you feel pressured into going solar, you are likely dealing with a scammer. They may tell you that deals are expiring or that there is a limited number of units available. Don't sign. Go slow, do the research, and be at peace with the decision and company you choose. 

2. Always Have A Contract In Place 

Never allow a solar company to begin work without there being a written contract signed. In short, a contract should spell out what the company has promised and what it should cost. Other essential features include timelines. Without a contract, you have fewer legal options if things go wrong. 

3. Check the Contractor and Company's References

Many scammers makeup references and will show letters from satisfied customers. Most of those are fake. Take a few minutes and check out the contractor and the company. At the bare minimum:

4. Is there a Warranty?

Be sure to read the fine print. There should be a warranty that covers installation and repairs as well as one that covers faulty parts. How long does the extended warranty last, and does that number match what the contractor has told you? Scammers try to pretend there are quality warranties in place. Verify their information. 

5. Don't Fall For Imposters 

One way Solar Scammers work is they approach you as though they are from a governmental or utility office. They may appear in a uniform with a company name on it, such as from your local power company. They will give you information about why you need to go solar and present a case with limited options. Just provide the local governmental agency or utility company they represent a call and verify that information. 

6. Choose the Best Financing for You

Many Solar scammers try to make you choose a financing plan that benefits them. Take your time and do the math. Be sure to go with a financing plan that fits your needs, not theirs. Should you purchase the unit or finance it? Never go forward until you can answer that question. When you work with a quality solar company, such as SunPower and Vinyasun, you receive the best options without all the games. 

7. Do the Tax Credit and Tax Benefit Research Yourself

Tax programs change often, so never rely on the information from the solar company. Find out for yourself what tax benefits are available for homeowners in your area. Be sure to check on both the State and Federal levels too. 

If you are a victim of a scammer, go to the police and file a report. Also, be sure to contact your local utility company. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can FPL or my HOA prevent me from switching to solar?

The Florida Solar Rights Act is a law that forbids any entity—including homeowner associations—from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings.

An association may require approval of a system installation and may establish restrictions for installations. However, any such restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and applied in a uniform manner for all association members. Also, any restrictions must not have the effect of impairing the performance, or increasing the cost, of a solar system.

In particular, a homeowner association may not prevent the installation of solar collectors on the roof of a home. The association may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed, so long as the collectors face within 45 degrees of due south.

Finally, any requirement(s) that a system be screened from view by trees, fences, ground mounting racks, or a remote roof location that is hidden from the street, will generally violate the statute.

Click here to verify information is provided by the Florida Solar Energy Industry Association

Is solar free for Florida homeowners?
  • The sun is free to everyone.
  • Solar panels and specific back-up battery systems qualify for a number of rebates, tax credits and incentives.
  • There is a cost associated with solar energy because you are paying for your system. 
  • Financing enables homeowners to make the transition with $0 upfront costs
  • Systems often cost the same amount monthly as your current FPL bill
  • Solar puts equity in your home because you own the system and increases the value a minimum of 4.1% - click here for the Zillow case study

Does solar increase my home value?

Not only can adding solar panels to a home save energy costs and help the environment, it also can potentially increase a home’s value. In 2019 Zillow found that homes with solar energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274.

The sale premium varies substantially by market. In Riverside, Calif., for example, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 2.7% more than comparable homes without solar power—a markup of $9,926 for the median-valued home in the metro. In the greater New York City metro, solar-powered homes have a premium that is double that of Riverside. At 5.4%, that’s an extra $23,989 in value for the typical home in New York. In three other coastal metro areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.—homes with solar power can fetch a premium of around 4%.

Sun travels 91 million miles to power your home-1

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