Solar energy is a great alternative, but watch out for solar energy scams

solar energy scams
Solar energy is a great idea but you do have to watch out for scam artists.

A Website dedicated to exposing scams writes that solar scams are among ‘the biggest scams around’ this year. CBS News did a story July 30, 2018, that includes a section about solar energy scams. And they’re right. They are scam artists working the solar energy front to separate honest consumers from their money every day. In spite of the scam artists, solar energy is a great way to save money, cut the cord with energy companies and do something to protect and preserve the environment.

Unfortunately, when there is a good idea, and that idea is popular, people who want to break the rules and cheat their way to your hard-earned dollars come out of the woodwork. Those scammers see opportunity in the solar-energy market.

Some people are so eager to rush in and do something for the environment, while reaping the benefits of solar energy, that they aren’t sufficiently cautious with their money.

With solar energy, you can generate your own energy and reduce or eliminate the utility bills that show up, like clockwork, in your mailbox each month. And, there are government incentives and tax breaks that encourage consumers to take the plunge and go solar. But, that’s one way that the scam artists work on the good intentions of consumers.

Advertisements, often seen on social networks, will over-emphasize the incentives and tax breaks available to homeowners who have solar panels installed on their roofs. And when they come out to install the solar panels and hook up the solar energy system, with their focus on scamming consumers, the quality of their workmanship is often sadly lacking.

Protect yourself from scammers when shopping for solar energy products and installation

Like any purchase, the more you educate yourself, the better prepared you are to make a wise purchase and the less susceptible you are to scam artists. This is all the more important when making a major purchase, such as installing solar panels on your home.

There are strong emotional motivations for ‘going solar.’ But you don’t want your emotions to dominate your solar energy purchase. You want to take a good look at the company you hire to install your solar panels and connect your solar energy system. Are they an established company in your area? Do they have solid references – people you can talk to about their experiences with the solar energy contractor?

You want someone who can give you the story straight and without hype – someone who knows solar energy intricately. The right contactor will share the pros and the cons and will tell you up front what you can actually expect when you convert to solar energy.

A legitimate solar energy contractor knows that the benefits are great enough that solar energy will generally sell itself. The contractor doesn’t have to dazzle prospective buyers with nonsense. If solar energy isn’t the right fit for someone, it’s better that they find out and wait until it is right. There are more than enough people who will truly benefit from ‘going solar’ that truth is always the best approach.

Community Solar: the truth about this option?

community solar

What is the truth about community solar?

(July 21, 2018) The concept was great. For those who found solar unattainable, community solar offered a way to buy into a larger community solar energy system. If a property is surrounded by trees making solar impractical, the home or business owner could purchase solar panels, as part of a community system, equal to the number of panels needed to offset their electrical usage. If that person’s solar panels represented 5% of the solar panels in the community system, they would receive 5% of the system’s electrical production to offset their electric bills.

They also received all the benefits of private-solar-energy-system ownership, including tax credits and state incentives without needing to maintain the system or provide space for the system. But, community solar has taken an unforeseen turn since the concept was introduced. Rather than marketing community solar for joint ownership, developers have pushed the systems to electrical consumers on a leased basis. Instead of selling panels, the developers are selling subscriptions to access the large energy systems.

By leasing, the developers retain ownership of the systems. They also receive all of the incentives, including federal tax credits and State Renewable Energy Credits (SREC). In return, all the lessee receives is the power equivalent of their needs at a discounted rate. That discounted rate usually works out to a reduction of 20% compared to what they normally paid.

The only advantage for the subscriber is that they avoid the initial investment to buy into the community solar system. That’s it.

Leasing solar energy may seem like a great deal but you may want to take a closer look before signing a customary 20-year contract. That’s two decades where the subscriber won’t have the advantage of federal tax credits, SRECs or writing the system off on their taxes.

When purchasing a solar energy system, once the cost of the system is recouped, the owner of the system is essentially reaping the benefits of free electricity delivered by an indiscriminate sun. The same is true when someone purchases panels in a community solar system. But, with a lease, the developer enjoys the post-installation-cost advantages.

The way to see community solar, as applied by developers today, is to Think Timeshare. There are commercials offering ways to defer a timeshare owner’s loss when they want out. In the future, the same commercials may run for those stuck in community solar leases that sounded a lot better when the subscriber first signed up.

Sincerely,

Paul A. LaBarbera

President / CEO

Magitek Energy Solutions, Inc.