When Going Green Can Cost You: Solar Energy System Scams

By Dylan Donley, Spring 2014 Graduate Research Assistant

greenAs reported by Consumer Reports, there is a recent scam manifesting itself in the form of fake solar-panel service providers.  In this time of people and businesses increasingly “going green” and becoming more energy efficient, consumers are becoming victim to fraudsters promising big savings upon payment of a big deposit, then skipping town with the money and never installing the solar-panel system or delivering the promised savings.  In order to avoid falling prey to these scams, make sure you research any contractor or business advertising solar-panel (or any other type of home-improvement) installation service before providing any personal information or payment, such as checking their Better Business Bureau rating and references.  Consumer Reports further recommends working only with licensed contractors, conducting an energy audit, and seeking bids for the work from at least three different companies to ensure that you are not being overcharged for the service.