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Big Country EC News

Send Solar Swindlers Packing

Do your homework when considering vendors

Solar energy is booming as many homeowners turn to harnessing the sun’s rays to produce their own electricity using rooftop solar panels.

But with the increasing popularity of solar power, some businesses are taking advantage of the surge in consumer interest. While many solar companies are genuine and truly want to help consumers with a successful solar installation, there are bad actors to watch out for.

You’ve likely heard a story or two about solar vendors who promised rooftop panels that would generate enough electricity to power an entire home. Then, after the homeowner has paid thousands of dollars for the installation, the panels don’t work, and the vendor is nowhere to be found. Sadly, this story has been the reality for many consumers.

If you’re interested in solar panels for your home, consider these tips before installation to avoid getting swindled:

Talk to an energy adviser at Big Country Electric Cooperative first. We want you to feel confident about any decisions you make about your home energy use, especially decisions about generating energy at home.

Collect quotes from at least two solar companies to ensure you’re getting a competitive deal. As with any major purchase, research is key, so thoroughly read customer reviews for each of the three solar vendors and check that they’re listed on the website of the Texas Solar Energy Society, txses.org.

If you speak to a solar vendor and they use high-pressure tactics—like an offer that’s only good for 24 hours—run! Any reputable solar company will recognize that you need time to review a proposal and consider your decision.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So if a solar company is making promises that sound unachievable and outlandish, they probably are. Remember, if you have any questions, you can always count on your electric co-op for advice.

Finally, when it’s time to review and sign a solar contract, make sure the language is clear and easy to understand. Ensure any verbal promises are included in the contract.

Going solar is a major decision that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so do your homework first.