Have you been bombarded with advertisements mentioning how to get solar panels for free?
Beware these claims, as they are at best misleading, and at worst downright wrong.
You’d expect as much from an industry that has been growing 24% annually for the last decade.
With so much investment in distributed energy (rooftop solar), there are bound to be a few bad actors ready to take advantage of those trying to invest in their renewable energy future.
But make no mistake, these national solar companies are counting on you to sign first and think later.
In this post, we’ll examine claims about how to get free solar panels and shed light on these claim’s potential pitfalls.
How to Get Solar Panels for Free Claim #1: Solar costs nothing to install
Don’t be fooled by this claim! There has never been free solar anywhere in the Northwest, even for low-income folks.
You wouldn’t want just anyone fixing your home’s plumbing or wiring your electrical system, right? The same goes for a complex electrical system like solar panels and battery backup.
Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is…
Free Solar Panels Claim #2: New roofing is covered by the 30% federal tax credit
Yes, some lenders will cover the cost of a new roof, but it could not be any clearer in the IRS tax code that roofing is excluded from the federal tax credit. Experienced solar contractors will tell you this. Only solar shingles (like Tesla’s ill-fated experiment) could potentially qualify (see IRS 5695, “Qualified solar electric property costs”).
Free Solar Panels Claim #3: You’ll get paid to go solar
Implying you’re getting paid to go solar? This is so misleading!
Between the utility, the state, and the feds, absolutely nobody is cutting you a check to generate energy for your home.
Don’t worry Oregonians! There are generous Oregon solar incentives as well that can reduce the cost of installing solar panels!
What’s more, most of the ~90 utilities in Washington and Oregon will give you a bill credit (net energy metering) for the excess solar energy you send back to the grid.
High-Pressure Sale Tactics to Secure Low Rates
National solar companies often employ high-pressure tactics to convince customers to sign contracts immediately.
Sign NOW… “interest rates are going up” or “Discount we’re offering expires today”.
Don’t fall for it.
Instead, get proposals from local solar companies that care for the integrity of the solar industry, and want the best for their customers.
Because signing immediately ensures you’ll never know how a local solar company could save you time, money, and a whole lot of grief.
How can you protect yourself from solar scams?
Before signing a contract, check to make sure the solar company is appropriately licensed.
Check reviews left by other consumers who’ve worked with the solar contractor. We recommend Google, Yelp, and social media websites like Facebook and NextDoor.
The most important step you can take in protecting yourself from unscrupulous solar companies is to get multiple bids.
Read the informative blog post originally produced by Western Solar about how to protect yourself from solar scams.