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Aug 16, 2022

The Latest Solar Scams and What You Can Do to Help Stop Them

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Parker - COO, Cape Fear Solar Systems

Solar is a popular home and business improvement. There are many reasons to go solar today—saving on electricity costs, taking advantage of the current federal tax credit, and helping the environment. In fact, with an optimal solar design and attractive financing, many Cape Fear Solar Systems customers start saving money as soon as their solar system is installed and turned on. 

Southeastern North Carolina has a lot of homes and businesses that can take advantage of solar. However, this is also attracting a lot of solar scams to our region. The most popular being performed are door knocking, misleading Facebook and Google Ads, and even phone calls. 

Every day, Cape Fear Solar Systems takes dozens of calls from homeowners that were scammed or looking into an offer that sounded too good to be true. If you are promised “free solar,” a huge rebate, or are told the utility company or government will pay you—that is a good indication you should do some extra research. Here are a few solar scams and what you can do to help stop them in your community. 

Solar Door-Knocking Scams
A solar canvasser shows up, promises the solar is free, says you will make money, claims to be the utility company, or simply asks you to sign a form stating they came to your home. While the offer may sound too good to pass up—be sure to research the company before signing any paperwork. We recently spoke to a homeowner that signed a paper for a door knocker, so they could get credit for the appointment. It turned out to be a sales contract! Currently, there are no reputable solar companies gaining businesses in our region from going door-to-door soliciting.

If you are door knocked by a solar company and live in a “No Soliciting” neighborhood, let your Homeowners Association know. Share the company name, along with the date and time of the solicitation visit. Many HOAs are getting fed up with these policy violations and will send a certified Cease and Desist letter to the company. 

Click here to read, “What’s the Deal With All These Solar Companies Door Knocking,” which includes tips to keep your community safe and how to report utility company impersonators. 

Solar Facebook/Google Ads
Misleading ads seem to always be spamming our user experience online. Here are just a few common ads to be careful with:

  • Get paid to go solar
  • Free battery backup with purchase
  • North Carolina solar program—see if you qualify!
  • Federal solar program—find out if you qualify! 
  • Huge discount or rebate 
  • Now installing in your area
  • See if your home qualifies for free solar 
While these ads sound good. Here are a few things to consider. 
  • Solar is not free, it’s a smart investment—but never free. 
  • There is no such thing as a “free” battery backup with purchase of solar. Unless it’s a smaller ticket item (such as an attic fan or EV Charger) the equipment cost will always be hidden in your overall cost. If you get a second quote from a reputable local installer—the cost will likely be MUCH lower. 
  • There is no North Carolina or federal solar program to qualify for. There is however a tax credit for going solar, but anyone with tax liability can take advantage of it.
  • If there is a huge discount or rebate being promised, it is either hidden in your cost or the company was overcharging you in the first place. 
  • If an ad says, “now installing in your area” it is a good idea to investigate. Will they be here to service your system later or are they testing the market? 
If you see a misleading solar ad, the best option you have is to report it. Usually there are three dots at the top right of any ad—giving you power to report the ad to Facebook or Google. This will help prevent others being targeted. 

Solar Phone Scams
Phone scams are certainly not new. We’ve all had a scam call but a solar scam call?  Here are a few solar phone scams happening today:
  • The caller says they are with the government and informs you that you may qualify for their solar program. 
  • The caller is offering to pay you for solar referrals, but you did not previously do business with them. 
If you believe you have received a solar scam phone call, be sure to collect as much information as possible, such as a call back number, the company name, and caller’s name. Note the day and time and context of the call. If the caller claimed to be affiliated with the company you purchased solar from—call that company to check to see if they have an established relationship. There’s a good chance it’s a scam. This has happened to Cape Fear Solar Systems and our legal team takes these actions very seriously. Luckily, our customers were quick to alert us. You can also report the call to Federal Trade Commission

Stay up to date on solar scams by visiting our Alerts page. If you need help with your solar system and the company is no longer taking your calls—give Cape Fear Solar Systems a call at (910) 409-5533, and, in most cases, we can have our dedicated service team help get your solar system operating. If you are looking into solar, do plenty of research, check local reviews and the Better Business Bureau, and be sure to choose a local, insured solar company such as Cape Fear Solar Systems

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