Solar knocked on the door of your home. Is what they’re saying true?
May 10, 2018
by EmPower Solar
THE REALITY OF MISLEADING DOOR TO DOOR SOLAR SALES
You were at home finishing up some cleaning, or washing your car and someone knocked on your door with the promise of handing you a brand new solar system for free. You were likely skeptical at first, but by the time they left you were left wondering how much of what they were saying was true. In some cases, they might have even “qualified” you on the spot, but that could mean they just signed you up for a new solar system.
Here’s our take on solar door knockers, from our experience.
WHAT IS TRUE
1. Solar panels for your house results in significant and immediate savings. TRUE!
2. It’s possible to get a solar system without any payment up front. TRUE! Whether you choose a solar loan or a lease, you can install a solar system on your roof with a solar panel cost of $0 dollars down with a monthly payment of as low as $79/month, and receive a $5,000 state tax credit right away.
3. You do need to qualify for solar. TRUE! It is necessary to get a credit check, and to qualify your home’s roof condition and structure in order to install a system.
WHAT IS NOT TRUE
1. Solar is not “free.”
There are many ways to get a home solar system, and the most popular way to do it is with a $0 down financing program like a lease or a loan. While these programs are less expensive than if you choose to NOT going solar, there will still be a monthly payment involved unless you purchase your system outright. So while there is definitely an immediate savings with no out of pocket solar cost, to say “free solar” is misleading and untrue. This is the kind of thing we’ve seen: “This program requires absolutely no money from you at all.”
2. The door knocker does not represent New York State or a government agency.
We’ve heard this one plenty of times. In fact, NYS recently released an order barring solar companies from misrepresenting themselves as a state agency or utility company. It is true that NYS offers rebates and incentives for going solar, but they do not have the resources, (nor would they use tax-payer dollars) to knock on your door to tell you about it.
3. New York State/PSEG/ConEd is not paying for your solar system. See numbers 1 and two.
There are no grants or free giveaways, though we wish there were! The good news is there is state financing, rebates in certain areas, and tax credits for those who qualify.
4. Overemphasis on the savings or production.
Often times, without even designing a system, solar salesmen will promise to offset 100% of your monthly usage. This is possible, and we do it all the time, but it does depend on panels used and home usage, so it could be an exaggeration. You shouldn’t take any system production numbers at face value unless they come from a specific analysis of your home’s actual system design.
5. The “qualification” process.
We’ve heard stories of homeowners that thought they were checking their eligibility to install a solar system, and they ended up inadvertently signing a contract. Just know that you reserve the right to cancel your contract, and you should make sure to report the company here.
A WORD FROM AN EMPOWER SOLAR EXPERT + HIS EXPERIENCE WITH SOLAR DOOR KNOCKING:
You’ll also want to make sure they’re not signing you up for a “one size fits all” approach and setting “all of your neighbors” up with the same solar system. Going solar should be as custom as a well fitted tux! Our in-house design team will make sure your solar panel production matches your energy needs and fits your house like a glove.
Most importantly, do your research! Most canvassing companies are national companies, and many have closed up shop in the last few years. Here’s a blog on what to do in case that happened to you. Speak to at least one other solar company to get an idea of what different kinds of options are available in your local area. You’ll want to ask questions about workmanship, warranties, cost AND savings, etc.