As a solar industry marketing and media veteran of over 5 years, I have been very much in tune with the substantial benefits solar can offer. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there that, presumably to provide a sales proposition unique from other solar companies, are making grossly deceptive claims and promises. They do this to generate responses, then spin their claims once a prospect connects with them to learn more. This bait-and-switch practice of generating responses is a short-term strategy that will turn off potential customers of that company and of the solar industry as a whole (guilt by association). I continuously see and hear multiple advertising messages for solar that deceive prospective customers into believing that solar, which legitimately offers many superlative advantages, is something it is not.
False claims being spread by unscrupulous companies include:
“Call today! Install tomorrow!” - In reality, each solar energy system is specifically designed and customized for every individual home, which when done correctly, takes precise analysis and configuration. This process takes at least a few days to complete. Other factors include site inspection, permits, and financing, all of which require multiple days to complete. So the average solar installation is actually executed approximately one-month from the initial inquiry.
“The average payback period is 4-5 years and then your electricity is free forever!” - This claim is extremely misleading as the “payback period” being referenced by solar marketers is the period at which the savings you get from your solar energy system exceeds what you would have paid to your utility company during that same period. It is not the “payoff period” which is the time it takes for you to fully pay for your system. Regardless of when your solar energy system is fully paid off, homeowners with a solar energy system will still make a small payment to their utility company for a connection fee, and most will have a much-reduced, but still existing payment to their utility company, as many systems are designed to offset less than 100% of projected electricity usage. This is often done since the first bit of a homeowners monthly usage (known as “Tier 1” in California) is still very inexpensive. In an instance such as this, a system would be designed to offset subsequent “Tiers” that charge the higher price per kilowatt of usage.
“Solar is Free!” - This is a cunning way to get prospects to respond, as the claim implies that a homeowner can have a solar energy system installed in their home for free and then get free energy. Obviously that is not the case, and it would be a terrible business model for those in the solar industry! But if properly explained, homeowners will see that going solar can actually be “better than free” as solar can be a “money-maker” when they lock in a fixed rate for solar and avoid the ever-increasing rates charged by the utility company (saving money = making money).
“The Government will pay you to go Solar!” - When solar marketers make this claim, the natural assumption is that you will get a check from the government if you install a solar energy system. The truth is that the government will issue you a 30% tax credit for going solar, which is an exceptional benefit but can only be taken advantage of if you indeed pay enough taxes each year to acquire those credits (known in the industry as having a “tax appetite”). Those (primarily seniors) who are on a fixed income with no tax appetite would not qualify for such a benefit, and thus that claim would not apply to them.
Green Solar Technologies is exceedingly diligent in giving our customers a complete and accurate picture on the advantages of going solar, and we examine each homeowner’s specific situation to see if going solar is right for them.