The Rooftop Solar Market: Considerations Before You Invest

Photo by Angie Warren on Unsplash

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible source of energy – Sun, wind, and tide… I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” -Thomas Edison

Due to increasing energy costs and a growing solar market, consumers face purchasing decisions that may significantly impact their finances and residence.

If you received a solar quote, you likely questioned what you were being offered and at what cost and benefit.

At our office, we have learned about complaints from throughout the country where solar sellers misrepresent various aspects of the transaction. Often it has to do with important terms of the agreement, such as the number of payments, equipment and installation warranties, the real costs of a lease, energy and tax savings, or environmental benefits.

To help you understand the questions to ask about rooftop solar, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a consumer guide called Solar Power for Your Home; the website address is

We have learned that tax benefits that come with solar are not always transparent in marketing and sales of solar.  The Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics, on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, may help avoid confusion or reliance on a scheme that promises tax benefits that you aren’t eligible to receive.

It is important to realize that many (often undisclosed) assumptions are made in response to the question about the payback for a system. One presumption is of the performance of the system within your home without considering variables associated with your area and home. The price of electricity and whether payment under net metering will increase over the life of a system are factors that rely on the future costs to produce electricity; such reliance is a big risk, given the price is often determined by changing regulatory rate structures. Consumers rely on payback representations that the existing regulatory structure will remain for at least the next 15-20 years.

Another question to ask the installer is if they have had any complaints or lawsuits filed against them.  If there is a finance company involved, ask them too.  Often a finance company for solar transactions has an agreement with the installer, so ask if they have received complaints about the installer and what exactly is the agreement they have related to your transaction.

So, please do a little homework and ask questions to vet those individuals you will be relying on and to appreciate the cost variables before making such an important decision.

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all information is for general informational purposes only. This information may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Links provided are only for the convenience of the reader. A. Ferraris Law, PLLC, and its members do not endorse the contents of third-party references.

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