Our friend Aaron Sutch of Solar United Neighbors is calling for prospective solar customers to watch out for misleading Facebook and other internet advertisements promoting special “low cost” or no money down solar programs. The problem, as Aaron wrote on a prominent solar email list this week, has gained national attention with this article.
Aaron’s message continues, and it is worth reading to bust this pernicious myth in solar marketing and give us all a dose of honesty:
I’ve seen quite a few pop up in my Facebook feed lately. Just beware that there are no special federal or state programs in VA that give low cost or no money down solar to homeowners.
These ads ares used typically used for private companies to generate leads. When somebody fills in their information, a private company often follows up with some type of solar loan or financing product– which may not have an upfront cost. But this is no special program other than a private company offering the service.
Aaron suggests a few tell-tale giveaways to look out for when browsing online:
- The appearance that the ad is an article from an independent publication may show a politician signing legislation.
- The overestimation of up-front solar costs
- Clever language that disguises a loan product for solar installations or other home improvements (i.e roof replacements) as a special program sponsored by a government or locality.
- The indication that program ‘funding’ is still available in ‘your area’ or that it is only available for a limited time
- Request that you fill out a form with your average bill/address to see if you ‘qualify”
We fully support everything Aaron said in this important alert. We’d like to echo his words of caution to energy customers looking to go solar – some things that sound almost too good to be true are real, like 12 months same-as-cash solar financing and the SREC marketing for residents and businesses going solar in Washington, DC.
But, as Aaron warns, “As a general rule, make sure to do some homework – get competing bids, understand your proposal so you can compare apples to apples, reach out to your local installers. VA has a lot of excellent installers that service all areas of the Commonwealth!” Come to the experts you trust with questions about anything you’re reading online. We’re all on your side!