Dont’ fall prey to a solar paneling scam

Living in Texas, chances are you’re probably used to the 100-degree temperatures. However, the big bill that comes with cooling a home during the summer months can leave you looking for alternative ways to cool your home. If considering green solar energy, there are a few things to consider before making the switch.

Solar energy scams work the same as any other typical contracting scam.  Fraudulent contractors prey on those who are unfamiliar with their product. So, don’t make it that easy. Make sure you understand how solar energy works and the benefits before investing the $5,000 to $60,000 chunk of change on any solar energy products. You might even qualify for the state and federal rebates that offer a reduction in the initial costs.

Before hiring a solar paneling contractor, consider the following:

  • Determine if solar energy is right for you. Due to the high costs associated with the initial investment of solar power, it is important to conduct a self energy audit to determine if solar energy is right for you. Usually, if your monthly bill is less than $100, consider other ways to save energy that cost less.
  • Consider all the costs associated with solar energy. Ask about all the costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the system. Determine if the benefits and savings outweigh the costs over the long run.
  • Stay informed about state and federal incentive programs. Depending on your location, state and federal programs can save you as much as 50 percent on installation costs for solar panels. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the incentive programs and conduct your own research prior to signing a contract with an installer. For the latest information on state programs, visit www.dsireusa.org.
  • Be cautious of installers that promise no out of pocket costs prior to reviewing your specific situation. Be leery 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.
  • 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.
  • Understand how your solar energy works. You can take full advantage of the benefits in solar energy once you know how it works. For instance, panels facing south with no shade obstructions receiving maximum sun exposure during the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., will provide the greatest percent of energy. Significant savings occur when you have excess energy that is not consumed by your household. This excess energy can then be credited to your utility bill, saving you money.