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Trinity Valley EC News

Send Solar Swindlers Packing

Do your homework when considering vendors

man installing rooftop solar panels

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

Here at your co-op, we have been contacted with some very unfortunate stories where the cost of the solar installation was so high that it will not likely pay for itself within the expected life of the panels, or the installation was not done properly to maximize the benefit of having the system.

While the concept is simple, solar power generation systems are complex. And just like any other major purchase, it can really pay to do some homework before taking the plunge. Your initial considerations should include whether other investments in energy efficiency make more sense for your home and budget. In many cases, upgrading to a heat pump HVAC system or adding insulation can give significant energy savings without the potential downsides of owning and maintaining a solar installation.

If you decide solar panels are right for your home, consider these tips before installation to avoid getting swindled:

Talk to an energy adviser at Trinity Valley 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 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 writing in the contract.

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