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BBB Warns MD Residents of Solar Energy Scams

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 04:35 PM EDT

"Going Green" by utilizing solar energy may seem like a cost effective alternative to traditional energy sources, but the BBB of Greater Maryland is warning consumers that being unfamiliar with the solar technology could leave them susceptible to a scam, with  issues in installation to the actual panels themselves

In 2013, the BBB received 259 complaints about solar energy dealers ranging from contract and service issues to customer service issues.

According to BBB homeowners may be approached by a contractor falsely advertising their product, promising measurable energy savings and simple roof-top solar system installation. With promised energy savings, no upfront costs, and aggressive sales tactics, many consumers fall prey to the 'too good to refuse' scam. The promised savings are commonly based on inflated assumptions about future utility rates that are rarely supported by a reliable analysis, BBB said.

The complaints range from faulty equipment installation issues to customers seeking thousands of dollars from slar energy "brokers."

"There are many state and federal rebates that offer a reduction in the initial costs of solar products," BBB said. "However, consumers need to be wary of the less-than-reputable and unqualified contractors who breeze into town promising a variety of 'green' services at discount prices. Homeowners should find an installer that is trustworthy and knowledgeable on the benefits of solar energy."

BBB offers tips when investing in solar energy:

Determine if solar energy is right for you. Talk to your energy company to determine if the initial investment in the expensive solar technology is financially beneficial for you. To do this you can conduct a self energy audit.

Solar energy is dependent on sun, so find out on average how many sunny days your home sees annually.

Depending on your location, state and federal programs can save you up to 50% on installation costs of the solar panels. Tax credits are also available depending on how much green energy is generated.

For the latest information on state programs, visit http://www.dsireusa.org.

BBB Warns MD Residents of Solar Energy Scams


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