Saturday, August 16, 2014

Don't Get Swindled by Solar-Energy Scams This Summer

Summer is here and homeowners looking for new ways to go green may find solar energy to be a great alternative, however, Connecticut Better Business Bureau advises consumers to beware of solar energy scams.

There are many state and federal rebates that offer a reduction in the initial costs of solar products. However, consumers need to be wary of the less-than-reputable and unqualified contractors that breeze into town promising a variety of “green” services at discount prices. Homeowners should find an installer that is trustworthy, as well as knowledgeable about the benefits of solar energy.

Fraudulent contractors prey on consumers who are unfamiliar with solar energy products and systems. In 2013, consumers inquired more than 90,000 times about solar energy equipment and system dealers. Unfortunately, BBB also received 259 complaints about solar energy dealers that detailed problems with products, installation and customer service.

If you are considering investing in solar energy:

Get expert advice before making your decision - Due to the high costs associated with the initial investment of solar power, it is important to conduct an energy audit to determine if solar energy is right for you. If your monthly bill is less than $100, consider alternatives that may be less costly than solar energy. Be sure to ask about local, state, and federal laws concerning the standards and codes of the solar panels.

Inquire about tax credits - Find out the amount of tax credits you will receive for the amount of energy that is generated. Ask about the length of time you will receive tax credits and if you will be taxed on those benefits.

Settle the details - Be cautious if installers promise no out-of-pocket costs prior to reviewing your specific situation. Be wary if an installer suggests obtaining credit for the full amount of the system even though they are promising very low or no costs due to rebates. Ask what will happen if you do not save as much on your post-installation utility bills as was promised.

And finally, make sure the roof of your home is equipped to sustain a solar panel system. Even though a properly installed solar system will not damage your roof, make sure your roof is in good condition before you begin the installation to avoid any future problems.


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