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Thursday, October 11, 2012
Consumer Reports: Protect Yourself from the Latest Solar Scams
By Selected News Articles @ 6:31 PM :: 8567 Views :: National News, Ethics

Consumer Reports: Protect Yourself from the Latest Solar Scams

SCAM--“This solar-energy system pays for itself, cutting your bills by $1,000 a year”

Consumer Reports Magazine, October, 2012:  A new twist on the home-improvement scam targets folks who want to cut their energy bills with rooftop solar panels or windmills. Solar energy, of course, can reduce your electric bill. But making the big up-front investment is the equivalent of paying for 30 to 40 years of electricity in advance. And lots of variables can confound payback, including living where cloudy weather is commonplace or in the shadow of towering trees, terrain, or nearby tall buildings.

Solar-panel scams. Consumers unfamiliar with those caveats give double-dealers an opportunity to lowball costs and talk up savings. The promised best-case scenario can lure you into paying a big deposit to a contractor who skips town or otherwise never delivers the system or savings. Some victims have been burned for several thousand dollars. Home-improvement companies are the third most complained about businesses, according to the latest survey of consumer-protection agencies by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.

Protect yourself: California is the leader in residential solar, so go to its electric utility website to see whether solar makes sense for you. If it does, work only with licensed contractors specializing in solar installation. Conduct an energy audit and get bids from at least three companies. Check their Better Business Bureau rating and references. Never pay the full price up front or a deposit of more than $1,000 or 10 percent of the project price, whichever is smaller.

read … Protect Yourself from the Latest Solar Scams

Solar Energy Industry Faces Uphill Battle Amid Politics And Scandal

SI: The incidence of questionable accounting practices - such as ITC fraud, basis inflation for Treasury 1603 grants, and leases with excessive escalation rates - has quietly been common knowledge in the industry, but at a time when solar's image is already under attack, these ethical violations will soon be exposed to the public.

The next issue of Consumer Reports will feature a story calling the practices of certain solar firms "the biggest scam in the U.S. today," Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association warned.

read … Solar Energy Industry Faces Uphill Battle Amid Politics And Scandal

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