Solar Panel Scams

One of the most annoying parts of being an active consumer in our society is being flooded with spam communications. Once you signal to the digital world that you are looking to purchase a product, this information gets shared all around to organizations and businesses that want to reach out to someone like you.

In the solar industry, it is no different. If you fill out a contact form on the wrong website you may get deluged by spam emails, telemarketing calls, texts, and other forms of spam. It may be from either the solar panel company itself, multiple solar companies at once, or a third party operation that contracts with these companies to generate prospects for their business.

At Solar.com, we have never employed any of these techniques because we understand the negative impact it can have on a prospective solar owner. We find that by providing real value through our unique bidding platform, we can naturally build interest and educate our prospective customers on why solar is the right solution for them.

Not only this, but solar spam as a whole has clear negative effects on the solar industry. The more solar spam, the harder it is to communicate the true value of solar to consumers and the more wary communities will be about approaching the technology.

What is Solar Spam?

Solar spam is pretty self explanatory. The purpose of solar spam is to try to sell someone on a solar product or service in a pushy fashion. Most commonly done over the phone, these callers will continually reach out to you, often even after you made it clear that you do not want to become a customer. It is easy to see why this can become a huge nuisance.

Because solar spam is facilitated through phone calls, emails, and other messaging systems, you should always stay aware of the information you are putting out publicly. Anytime you make your phone number or email available online, whether it is on social media or through manually inputting it into a website, you are opening the possibility that this information will get into the hands of a spammer.

Be sure you carefully review a website terms, conditions, and privacy policy. A good indicator of a site’s trust level is whether or not they include a pledge to never sell customer information to third parties.

Be especially wary of text like this:

TCPA Disclosure

“By clicking the “Continue” button you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and authorize (company) or our chosen solar installers to use the phone number entered. Some installers may use auto-dialers or send automated text messages and these may result in charges to you. You consent to receiving these communications even if the phone number entered above is on the “Do not Call” register.”

This language is required on spam sites by the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It may be in very small font or hidden at the bottom of a webpage, so be sure you read through everything before submitting an online form. If you were to submit your information on a site with this language, you’ll likely be immediately contacted by multiple companies at once who have paid the website manager for the opportunity to solicit you.

Types of Solar Spam

Once you educate yourself on the types of spam that is out in the solar industry, you can do a much better job of avoiding it or rendering it ineffective.

Here are some of the most common tactics that are used in solar spam:

Misrepresentation of Solar Incentives

There are several incentives available to consumers who go solar. These include the federal solar tax credit, as well as many additional local incentives through your state government, utility companies, or city government. With so many options, it can be overwhelming for a consumer to research and understand each opportunity. A solar spammer may misrepresent these incentives to you. The most important thing to do is always take your time before making a decision so that you can identify when someone is lying or misrepresenting something. Referencing official “.gov” websites for rebate information is also important.

Government Program Representative

Solar spammers may pretend to be a representative of the government company and pose as someone looking to aid constituents in going solar. Well, the government never engages in these activities or sends out other parties to do this, so anytime someone is posing as a government representative, you know it is solar spam.

Instant Solar Quotes

Many spam sites will feature a solar quote calculator that will instantly provide you with quotes from solar installers. Every home is unique and solar companies adjust quote pricing constantly, so this is simply not possible. You’ll likely be led down a path that will eventually require your contact information to continue. You’ll then likely never get any quotes from the site until installers start contacting you.

There’s a critical difference between “quote generators” and solar estimates calculators. Solar.com’s developed a detailed estimator for solar costs, but we make no claim to instantly provide full quotes from solar companies. Professional quotes require panel placement designs and an understanding of what your system preferences are.

The Harm of Solar Spam

At the end of the day, the effect that solar spam has on the industry has to do with its influence on the solar customer’s perception. As consumers get inundated with phone calls and emails, they start to get a ‘feeling’ for the industry.

If they are flooded with spam, then they are going to see the process of going solar as one filled with annoyances and potential issues.

On the other hand, if the process of going solar is smooth, straightforward, and honest, they will have a great image of the industry and will likely recommend others to go down the same route. This is why Solar.com never engages in solar spam. We wouldn’t want that kind of experience either!

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