In neighborhoods all over Houston people are getting solar panels put on their homes. The solar panel industry is booming - which also means there are more complaints. Investigator Amy Davis explains what you need to know before signing a contract.
We’re hearing from a lot of you about how some solar panel companies operate in Texas. Everything from lying to customers about free grants to disappearing after the panels are installed.
Charles Moster of the Moster Law Firm helps people fight deceptive solar panel companies. Moster says Texas is not as aggressive as other states when it comes to going after solar panel companies.
“All around the country Attorney Generals particularly in Minesota and in 10 or 11 states have been very aggressive. Not so in Texas where our residents are being devastated by fraud everywhere. So, there’s really nowhere to go,” explains Moster. “If you go to your local district attorney’s office because this is criminal fraud our clients have placed DAs in every major market - they won’t take the cases. Not because they don’t want to but because they don’t have the resources.”
The most common solar panel fraud tricks
- Lies about the solar panels being free through government grants
- Misrepresentation about how much money the panels can save you
- Exaggeration about how much electricity the panels will produce
You may remember a few months ago, Amy introduced you to a couple who says they were tricked into signing up for solar panels. They were told the solar panels would be paid for with government grants. They didn’t realize they were signing to agree to pay for 25 years.
“They have no idea what the terms are when they sign it. They sign it based on the presentation. Which is false that they are going to save all this money. The signing of the agreement is just an afterthought,” said Moster. “In a number our cases the person is actually directing them what to sign digitally. We’ve also had incidents of forgery. Basically, even more sophisticated wonderfully educated people have no idea what the terms are. Very, very complex and they can’t enter into these things voluntarily so it’s a total fraud.”
The full Ask Amy episode with Moster airs at 11 a.m. Tuesday on KPRC 2+.
The BBB has a few things you should think about before going solar
- Consider the condition of your roof. Since that’s where the panels are usually put, your roof will need to be in good condition.
- Ask about warranties. A reputable company will offer you some sort of equipment warranty.
- Make sure the contract addresses what will happen if something breaks or the manufacturer goes out of business.
- You should also call your tax professional to see if you qualify for any tax breaks related to solar panels.