Legal professional Common Tong Urges Warning in Reviewing Residential Photo voltaic Contracts

Legal professional Common Tong Urges Warning in Reviewing Residential Photo voltaic Contracts

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Legal professional Common Tong Urges Warning in Reviewing Residential Photo voltaic Contracts


06/21/2022

Legal professional Common Tong, DCP Commissioner Seagull Urge Warning in Reviewing Residential Photo voltaic Contracts

(Hartford, CT) – Legal professional Common William Tong and Division of Client Safety Commissioner Michelle Seagull right now suggested owners all for residential photo voltaic panels to do cautious analysis and be cautious of deceptive advertising and marketing and high-pressure gross sales ways by photo voltaic firms.

The Workplace of the Legal professional Common has obtained a lot of complaints from customers and has lively investigations into a number of photo voltaic firms relating to gross sales and advertising and marketing practices.

“Residential photo voltaic could assist cut back electrical payments and dependence on fossil fuels to energy our electrical grid, however customers should proceed with warning. We’ve obtained quite a few complaints relating to deceptive advertising and marketing and high-pressure gross sales ways by photo voltaic firms, and we have now a number of lively investigations. Solar energy buy agreements or lease agreements are sometimes long-term, complicated, and may be costly. Any electrical invoice financial savings varies per family relying on many components,” mentioned Legal professional Common William Tong. “Whereas electrical charges are excessive and we’re all searching for methods to save cash, customers ought to by no means really feel pressured right into a photo voltaic contract or some other main residence challenge.”

“Solar energy may be a horny choice for folks seeking to cut back their utility prices and carbon footprint, however we’re listening to from a lot of customers that the deal they have been supplied proved to be too good to be true,” mentioned DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Customers needs to be cautious when getting into right into a photo voltaic contract – do intensive analysis, evaluate prices, perceive if your private home is appropriate for rooftop photo voltaic, and don’t enable your self to fall sufferer to excessive strain gross sales ways.”

Legal professional Common Tong and Commissioner Seagull warned customers to pay explicit consideration to: whether or not their residence will get sufficient solar publicity to justify the photo voltaic panel funding, whether or not their present roof will want alternative through the projected lifetime of the photo voltaic panels, how tax credit and refunds work, the impact photo voltaic panels could have on their residence’s worth, and the way promoting their residence could be affected if leasing photo voltaic panels. Customers, and particularly seniors, additionally want to pay attention to potential high-pressure gross sales ways to signal them up for costly long-term photo voltaic contracts.

What should I find out about rooftop photo voltaic?

Not all houses are equally fitted to photo voltaic. The scale of the roof, orientation of the house, quantity of solar publicity, and the house’s vitality calls for are all essential components to think about. Photo voltaic firms could ask about eradicating bushes to extend solar publicity, which is an extra expense.

Some roofs require reinforcement or alternative earlier than photo voltaic set up. It is a separate value that photo voltaic firms usually won’t pay for. And, if roof work is required through the helpful lifetime of the system, the home-owner could must pay to take away the panels.

Evaluate opinions and costs. As with every main buy, you must evaluate different customers’ opinions of photo voltaic firms and store round to make certain you’re getting a good deal.

Know who you might be doing enterprise with, and guarantee they’re correctly licensed in Connecticut. Many photo voltaic firms contract out their advertising and marketing and installations to 3rd events, so that you is perhaps requested to signal a contract with a special firm than you thought.

By no means signal any settlement with a photo voltaic firm beneath strain. The Legal professional Common’s Workplace and the Division of Client Safety have obtained complaints of high-pressure gross sales ways by photo voltaic firms. Even when a salesman suggests you signal to “get the method going” or to “get extra data,” don’t signal except you might be totally comfy committing to the photo voltaic transaction. You need to by no means really feel pressured to learn a contract shortly, not to mention on the spot on a salesman’s pill or laptop. And it’s possible you’ll ask a visiting salesperson to depart your private home at any time.

Beneath Connecticut legislation, it’s possible you’ll cancel your contract any time earlier than midnight the third enterprise day after a transaction.
Listed below are some steadily requested questions on residential photo voltaic programs:

What’s a photo voltaic panel system?

A photo voltaic system consists of rooftop panels and an inverter which converts daylight into electrical energy. Putting in photo voltaic panels may be an intensive course of: the system have to be professionally designed and put in, permitted and inspected by native officers, and accredited by the electrical utility. Roof reinforcement or alternative could also be required earlier than putting in a photo voltaic system, at further value to the home-owner.

The identical client safety provisions apply to photo voltaic installers and salespeople as different residence enchancment contractors and salespeople. For extra data, go to the Division of Client Safety’s web site.

Is residential photo voltaic cost-effective?

The advantages and prices range. Customers needs to be cautious of photo voltaic firms that promise that photo voltaic is sensible for them earlier than rigorously analyzing their state of affairs. By no means decide primarily based on on-line calculations or estimates, which can be primarily based on knowledge from different elements of the nation.
Salespeople will emphasize that the price of electrical energy is excessive and will increase yearly. Whereas electrical energy prices do enhance, customers ought to watch out for guarantees by photo voltaic firms {that a} photo voltaic system can assure a sure stage of financial savings. You’ll find historic electrical prices to your utility right here.

Can I get a photo voltaic system for free of charge?

No. There isn’t a such factor as a no-cost photo voltaic system. Whereas some photo voltaic installations could haven’t any up-front value, these choices require month-to-month funds and might not be clever in the long term.

What about tax credit or different incentives?

There’s a 26% federal tax credit score on the price of photo voltaic programs put in by means of the tip of 2022. The credit score drops to 22% in 2023 and expires in 2024 except renewed by Congress. Solely the purchaser of a photo voltaic system could take the tax credit score, not lessees or PPA prospects, and purchasers will solely profit in the event that they owe federal earnings tax. Whereas photo voltaic firms could promote low value and even “no value” photo voltaic applications, these contain the photo voltaic firm, not the home-owner, receiving any tax credit score.

Who pays for the photo voltaic system?


Buy. Customers should purchase photo voltaic panels utilizing money or receive financing. The buyer owns the system and usually is answerable for sustaining and repairing it. Solely a purchaser can profit from any relevant tax credit.

Lease. Customers can lease photo voltaic panels by paying a hard and fast month-to-month cost in trade for the usage of the photo voltaic panels for a set time period. Very like a leased automotive, the buyer should purchase the panels on the finish of the time period, give again the panels, or renew the lease. There isn’t a assure that the lease funds will likely be lower than the electrical energy invoice would have been with out panels. And, if the system doesn’t generate sufficient to cowl the house’s full vitality use, there may be nonetheless an electrical invoice.

Energy buy settlement (PPA). Beneath a PPA, customers don’t personal or lease their programs, however pay a month-to-month cost primarily based on how a lot electrical energy they use. The fee per kWh is mostly lower than electrical charges, however will increase over time. As with a lease, there isn’t a assure that the month-to-month funds will likely be lower than the electrical energy invoice would have been, and, if the system doesn’t generate sufficient to cowl the house’s full vitality use, there may be nonetheless an electrical invoice.

Will I nonetheless have to pay for energy from the electrical utility?

Properties with photo voltaic panels are nonetheless linked to the ability grid. This implies the home-owner pays for energy from the electrical utility except their system produces sufficient to cowl their vitality wants. A residential photo voltaic system can ship vitality again onto the grid and, relying on the association the home-owner selects with the electrical utility, the utility will present a credit score if the house generates extra energy than it makes use of. Extra details about credit for photo voltaic technology is accessible right here.

Does a photo voltaic system have an effect on my residence’s worth?


Photo voltaic firms typically declare that photo voltaic panels enhance the worth of your private home. There may be at present not good knowledge to help this declare. Many residence patrons don’t see photo voltaic panels as a profit. Additionally, owners with leased panels or PPAs could have problem promoting their residence because the new purchaser and the corporate have to comply with switch the lease or PPA.

Connecticut customers who consider they’ve been harmed by a photo voltaic firm’s practices ought to file a criticism with the Workplace of the Legal professional Common right here: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/criticism/ or with the Division of Client Safety right here: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Grievance-Middle/Customers—Grievance-Middle.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong

Fb: CT Legal professional Common


Media Contact:

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https://portal.ct.gov/AG/Press-Releases/2022-Press-Releases/Legal professional-Common-Tong-Urges-Warning-in-Reviewing-Residential-Photo voltaic-Contracts

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