If you’re considering installing a solar energy system on your home, you may be tempted by solar ads for “free” solar panels. However, before you sign up for this seemingly too-good-to-be-true deal, it’s important to know that there’s usually a catch.
Many people are clicking on fraudulent ads for solar panels, and we want to ensure that you don’t become one of them.
Solar Scams, Lies, And False Advertising
Being solar experts for over a decade, it’s disappointing and disheartening to see homeowners bombarded by all the deceptive advertising and misleading sales practices used to generate leads and sell solar.
There is no need to lie: Solar sells itself, and with the skyrocketing cost of electricity, it makes more sense than ever. So be on the lookout for these deceptive solar ads.
The 5 Most Common Solar Scams & Lies
Don’t be victimized by falling for false solar advertising claims. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Companies making false claims are untrustworthy and give a black eye to the solar industry. Unfortunately, these rooftop solar ads are everywhere. Here are five of the most common solar scams and lies to watch out for.
1 – Free Solar Panels (Scam & Lie)
Don’t fall for ads promoting free solar panels. Everyone loves free, but considering the average solar system costs between $20,000 – $50,000, this is dishonest at best and predatory at worst. Nothing is really free in this world. While the energy from the sun is free, the panels that convert it to usable electricity aren’t. You’re going to pay for it with monthly payments.
These ads are clickbait created by lead generators selling your information to solar companies promoting solar leases and power purchase agreements. Always read the fine print before you sign any solar agreement.
We rate this both a scam and a lie.
“If you want solar panels, be very careful when evaluating installation offers. Con artists use misleading sales tactics and outright lies to trick homeowners out of money and personal information.”BBB
2 – New Government Solar Program Available (Scam)
This scam is becoming more and more prevalent in solar advertising, and we get many homeowners reaching out asking if it’s true. The government does not have a new solar stimulus program.
The Federal tax credit has been around for well over a decade. This advertising ploy is just a scam. Financing and leasing programs are offered through private companies but not the government. Because people like getting free stuff from the government, this is clickbait, plain and simple.
Some homeowners may indeed be eligible for tax credits related to solar panel installation, but that is not the same thing as a cash payment or free solar panels from the government.
We rate this claim a scam, and so does Verify.
3 – Get Paid To Go Solar (Scam)
In our opinion, this is an unethical scam because the homeowner pays for this one. The solar company inflates the cost of your solar, adding it to your contract and loan. This amount is returned to you as a “rebate or bonus” after installing the solar. The sad truth is that you’re paying yourself to go solar and often paying hefty dealer fees and interest to finance it! These are typically 20-25 year loans.
While there are ways to reduce costs with the federal investment tax credit, financing options, and other programs, no state or federal programs will directly hand you cash to switch to solar or install a system at no cost.
No one is paying you to go solar. So this is a scam.
4 – Everyone gets the tax credit (Lie)
Solar salespeople are not tax experts, yet many advise homeowners that they will definitely qualify for the Federal solar tax credit. In reality, only 60-70% of people will qualify. The solar tax credit can only be used to pay your taxes. Your income, deductions, dependents, and other factors determine how much taxes you owe. If you owe no taxes, you get no tax credit.
It’s a big deal if you’re financing your solar with a loan, and here’s why: solar loan payments are calculated with the assumption that the tax credit will be received and paid to the loan company in the first 18 months. If you don’t pay the tax credit into your solar loan, your monthly payment will go up by 30%! Check loan terms carefully and beware of this sales pitch.
Therefore, it would be a lie to say that everyone will be eligible for the 30% solar tax credit. On the contrary.
To use the solar Investment Tax Credit, you must owe federal income taxes. And It’s only available to taxpayers for their primary or secondary residence in the U.S.
If you don’t owe taxes — you won’t be eligible for the solar tax credit.
We rate this one as false since it’s a lie. And remember, always consult a tax expert for advice.
5 – You will never get another electric bill (Lie)
Unless you’re going off-grid, which is extremely rare, you will continue to receive a utility bill with a monthly service charge. Your energy charges and credits will accumulate over 12 months if you have net metered billing. You will then get a True Up bill with either a credit or a balance for the net energy you used.
Because you will always have a minimum monthly service charge from your utility company, solar can never eliminate your utility bill.
So the claim that you can eliminate your electric bill is simply false.
Avoid Solar Scams By Reading The Fine Print
Solar power is a great option for homeowners, but you must ensure you get honest, reliable information first. Homeowners considering solar for their homes should be careful to avoid common solar advertising scams and lies.
Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Educate yourself about solar power at californiasolarguide.com to make the best decision for your home and your wallet.
Find out how much solar panels really cost here.
Recommended reading: The 7 Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Going Solar