Beware of Solar Scams
Posted on December 29th, 2022
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Yet, some solar companies attempt to mislead our members with promises too good to be true.
Collectively, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are one of the state’s largest net metering utilities, and we’re supportive of solar. However, we have issue with third-party solar or other companies using deceptive sales tactics to deceive our members.
Be aware of these red flags to look out for:
- No more electric bill. You’ll still receive a monthly electric bill for a service availability charge, a fixed fee that covers the basic monthly costs of providing poles, transformers, wires, meters, billing, etc.
- A 30% tax incentive. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers a 30% tax credit for rooftop solar. A tax credit is a reduction of the income tax you owe. It is not a rebate or discount.
- Financing makes solar affordable. Do the math. If your average electric bill is $200 per month, and your solar payment will be $200 a month, you’re not saving money. There are charges on your monthly electric bill that aren’t impacted by the installation of solar. Also, most financing options require a lump sum payment equivalent to the 30% tax credit amount within the first year to maintain your monthly payment, or your payment will increase. Financing solar often results in a lien being placed on your home. This lien could present an issue if you decide to sell your home. Financing decisions come with opportunity cost as you could finance something else with a better return for your money. When you finance a solar array, you are making the decision to pay 20 years of your utility bill up front.
- Solar panels add to the value of a home. The appraised value of your home may not increase with the installation of solar.
- Living off the grid. Solar energy is intermittent and does not produce energy when the sun goes down (or is not shining). You’ll still be connected to the grid to power your home when solar does not generate sufficient electricity. The co-op’s diverse mix of resources supplies reliable electricity when needed 24/7/365.
- No more power outages. Unless you have sufficient battery storage, you’ll still experience outages.
- Electricity costs will continue to rise. Over the past decade, the base rate of electricity has risen by an average of 1.5% annually. Solar companies often exaggerate the future cost of electricity to increase by 3 to 6% annually. This makes for impressive saving projections that simply aren’t based on long-term historical rates.
If you’re still interested in solar, please contact First Electric. As your trusted energy service provider, we can look at your account and provide you with factual data to help you make an informed decision before you sign a contract. If you see a misleading solar ad or are approached by an aggressive door-to-door solar salesperson, don’t fall for their scams! File a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800-482-8982 or by emailing consumer@ArkansasAG.gov.