I typed the words “free solar” into Google and got 747,000,000 hits in half a second. We all know that solar systems are not free. But the technology that is being marketed is still so new and complicated that it is easy to scam homeowners who are eager to save money.
There are about half a million homes in the U.S. with solar, 200,000 people working in the U.S. solar industry, and 10,000 solar companies. Unfortunately, as in every big industry, there is a small percentage of companies that take advantage of consumers in order to make a bigger buck. Not surprisingly, complaints about unethical and fraudulent business practices in the solar industry are adding up.
Fortunately, the solar industry has been proactive with its efforts to reign in companies that are taking advantage of consumers. For many years several state solar organizations have published ethical and business practice guidelines. Most recently, the Solar Energy Industries Association published their Solar Business Code. This Code provides detailed principles for companies in the solar industry — specifically focused on protecting consumers.
Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as we go over some of the real-world problems that consumers experience, the solutions specified in the Solar Business Code, and the caveat emptor realities that apply to all big purchases and investments.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About Your Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock