Watch Out For Solar Scammers – Get Multiple Quotes

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Jun 7, 2022

Young Industry = Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Since our founding in 2001, Puget Sound Solar’s witnessed a lot of changes in the solar industry including the creation of local and federal incentives that helped the industry scale up and drove prices down more than 90% in just the past decade. We’ve seen new technologies and manufacturers come and go.

Recently we’ve seen the emergence of predatory, aggressive and unethical solar sales companies making false claims and promises in their marketing and sales pitches. This happens with new industries and solar is attracting its share of scam artists whose primary goal is separating you and your money. The scammers aren’t concerned with the environment, your financial well-being, the quality of their equipment and installations, or customer service – and they’re oftentimes not even the least expensive solar option. These companies depend on consumers who don’t do some basic research. All solar companies are not the same!

Reliable Solar Solutions

To be very clear, the Puget Sound region is fortunate to have some excellent, well-established, ethical solar companies who do great work for a fair price. These companies have traditionally been involved with educating consumers, policy work related to renewable energy and are members of WASEIA (Washington Solar Energy Industries Association) and/or Solar Washington. We suggest getting a solar quote from at least a couple of these companies (including us!) when you’re considering solar.

One of the companies whom we respect and refer to is Western Solar, headquartered in Bellingham, Washington. They just put together an excellent blog post about ten of the common “red flags” we’re seeing with some of the scammer solar companies. With Western Solar’s permission, we’ve listed the red flags but please check out their full blog post “Protect Yourself from Solar Scams & High-Pressure Sales” or click on any of the ten items below.

Solar Scams and Red Flags

See if you qualify for Washington’s no cost solar program.

If you’re a Washington homeowner, 2022 is your last chance to go solar and the federal solar tax credit is expiring at the end of the year!

If you need to re-roof before installing solar, you can claim your new roof cost as part of your 26% solar tax credit.

Installer-specific rebates after your system is installed.

In-house financing that “covers your first 12 months of payments.

Your electric company will pay you for generating excess solar!

Net metering is going away! Act now!

There’s no difference between “economy” and “premium” solar panels.

You don’t really need to worry about warranties.

Sign within X days in order to receive special discounts.

While compiling this blog post, we also ran across a recent CNET article “Solar Panel Scams: How to Avoid Them and the Biggest Red Flags” with similar warnings for consumers.

Research Before Signing A Solar Contract

If you run into a company using the preceding techniques … run, don’t walk away or at minimum, get at least one quote from a solar installer on the WASEIA or Solar Washington websites. Do your research about any company you’re interested in, before you sign a contract. Check out the history of the company and its owners. How long have they been in business? Look at their online reputation on Google, EnergySage, SolarReviews and the Better Business Bureau. Does the company or it’s owners have a history of bankruptcy or legal trouble? Do they have a full-time Monitoring and Service Department? What is their Workmanship Warranty? Are they a local company with long time employees and roots in the community? By doing some basic research, you can reduce the likelihood of getting scammed.

We want to express our gratitude to Western Solar for taking the time to confront this issue in their blog post and for allowing us to share part of it here. Western Solar installs solar PV systems throughout the I-5 corridor, including Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Island Counties. They have also done projects in Thurston and San Juan Counties as well. If you’re curious if they install in your area, just give them a call at (360) 746-0859.

No Pressure Sales And Excellent Customer Service Since 2001

If you’re located in the Greater Seattle area, please give us a call at 206-706-1931 or complete our web form and tell us a little about your solar project. We offer free, no commitment, no pressure customized solar quotes that include information about the costs and financial and environmental benefits so you can see if solar might be right for you without an aggressive salesperson pressuring you into signing a contract. We’ve been helping our customers on their solar projects since 2001.

About The Author - Stu Frothingham

Stu has a degree in Clean Energy Technology, a Certificate in Sustainable Business Management and a BA in Communications. He’s experienced in marketing solar products and services plus he has a background as a clinician and researcher. Stu designed, manufactured and installed his own solar PV system and drives an all-electric Nissan LEAF to reduce his carbon footprint. Stu is active with local solar organizations, Seattle Parks and Sustainable Ballard. He wants to help to save the planet for future generations and believes sustainability is something we can all embrace.

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    Note that the file size limit is 25MB.