The solar industry has grown tremendously in the last 10 years, and Texas ranked second in the nation for solar growth in 2019. Solar energy promises consumers lower bills, tax incentives and an increase in home value, making it a tempting option for homeowners. Spring is the most popular time for solar panel installation, which means consumers will start their search for the best panels and deals soon. But what should they know before they buy?
As the demand and use of solar energy grew, so did the number of complaints against the industry. Between 2010 and 2014, only 70 complaints were filed with BBB against Texas-based solar companies, but more than 1,000 were filed from 2015 to 2019. Many of these complaints reported issues with poor installation, inaccurate information regarding the federal solar tax credit and unsatisfactory panel performance, but misleading claims about savings and benefits of having solar panels are the biggest problems consumers encounter.
Solar panels can save homeowners money, but some companies claim or guarantee individuals can save thousands of dollars by using solar panels. In reality, the amount saved depends on several factors, such as roof size, how many hours of direct sunlight your house receives and how much electricity you currently use.
Solar energy offers several benefits, but if you’re considering installing panels on your home, remember these tips from your Better Business Bureau as you shop:
• Review your utility bill and see how much energy you used in the past year along with the cost.
• Evaluate how you use energy and determine if there are ways to reduce your usage. For example, purchasing more energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.
• Figure out what size panel system you need, then use the customizable calculator from the Department of Energy to help you estimate how much energy it will produce.
• Contact your utility company to see what arrangements it makes with homeowners who produce solar power.
• Determine if you need your homeowner’s association permission to install a solar panel system.
To learn more, visit us at BBB.org.