Solar energy is in the news, thanks to the recent Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Biden in 2022. With all the great incentives offered to new and existing solar panel customers, many people are investigating their solar options and how they can get the most from their system. But unfortunately, there are always companies that work to take advantage of customers as they work to learn about and choose a solar system.
Whether you’re looking into solar panels and have experienced bad (or illegal) sales tactics, or you’re dealing with a solar company that has gone out of business, KC Solar is here to help. Keep reading about the scams you need to be aware of, and what to do if your solar company goes under.
Solar Scams To Watch Out For
At KC Solar, our team is always working to continuously educate themselves about the changing solar landscape in the United States. Our team recently attended a conference, where we learned about some of the scams facing the industry. Here are just a few of the common ones we want you to be aware of.
Illegal Sales Practices: Have you ever had a salesperson show up at your door and refuse to leave your property until a contract is signed? If so, you’ve experienced a sales practice which is technically illegal. In even more extreme cases, these companies may convince homeowners to sign a “waiver”… which turns out to be a contract.
The Hammer Test: Some solar companies are using low-quality solar panels to “compare” to their panels, using the hammer test. With the hammer test, the solar company representative will demonstrate how durable their solar panel is by hitting it repeatedly with a hammer. Then, they show how their “competitor’s” solar panels instantly shatter. But those solar panels they claim to be a competitor’s panels are usually either replicas or of extremely low quality.
Saying they “Partner with Evergy”: If a solar company salesperson comes to you and says they “partner with Evergy,” they’re not telling you the truth. At the conference we attended, an Evergy employee shared that they do NOT partner with individual solar companies, so solar companies shouldn’t be telling people that. If they lie to you about this, what else might they lie to you about?
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the many solar scams floating around Kansas City at the moment.
When Solar Companies Go Bankrupt
Due to the nature of the industry and the highly competitive atmosphere, solar companies can go bankrupt, just like any other type of company can.
For example, Pink Energy in Springfield, Missouri, recently shut its doors, leaving its customers in the dark. Pink Energy, which is a national solar panel chain with locations around the country, filed for bankruptcy. And customers weren’t able to get in contact for the help they needed with their solar systems.
In fact, several of Pink Energy’s customers were so frustrated that they reached out to the local news’ investigation team to help them get answers.
And even the Missouri Attorney General’s office has gotten involved. According to KCTV 5:
“The Missouri Attorney General wants restitution for customers and for Pink Energy to pay penalties. Court documents read Pink Energy installers are ‘often incompetent and do not know how to actually install the system’.”
To any Pink Energy customers who may be reading this: We’re so sorry to hear what’s happened, but we’d like to chat. Please get in contact with us!
What to Do If Your Solar Company Goes Out of Business
So, what do you do when you call your previous solar company or installer about a maintenance issue, and you find the phone number no longer in service?
First of all, don’t panic.
Start by trying to call the customer service line for your inverter manufacturer or your module manufacturer. Most of the products in use on your solar power installation are under warranties, regardless of who installed them. Depending on the time left on the warranty, the solar manufacturer could provide the maintenance you’re looking for.
The new standard for panel warranties have recently extended to 25 years and materials coverage may only have 10 years. In the case of an expired warranty, investing in a complete replacement may be required in order for the system to continue to operate correctly.
Then, it could be a good idea to get in contact with a local, reputable solar company and asking for their help. Many of them are happy to assist you with service and deliver whatever maintenance needs you have. Most of them — including our team at KC Solar — will accept your request and provide you with the service you need for a one-time fee.
How To Be Proactive When Choosing a Company and Installing
A proactive approach can help ensure you’re protected throughout the process of installing your solar panels — and for years to come.
Doing proper research about the company you’re working with can go a long way. Read reviews, talk to previous customers, or even interview the solar company. Many times, you can get a good feel for whether a business is well run with trustworthy people just by talking to them.
You can also get insurance for your solar installation. Most insurance companies are willing to insure renewable energy systems in homes. That will cover most panel repairs and damage caused by external factors.
If you’re worried about the length of your warranty, buying an extended warranty could help offset the cost of future repairs. This can especially help with needed items between 10-25 years. Most sources agree that buying a third-party extended warranty offers peace of mind and protection from any part of the chain going out of business.
Note: If both your installer and manufacturer go out of business, you may be at risk of losing all warranty protections you had previously. This is why third-party protections, like insurance, can be very helpful.
Ready To Go Solar? Let’s Work Together
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. We are here to discuss all your concerns about solar panel durability, severe Midwest weather, and more. We are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts.
Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business. We can also help you understand all your options, including the Evergy Solar Program.
KC Solar is the only local solar company in Kansas City with KC natives who own and operate the daily activities of the business. We are your Kansas City Solar Panel experts. And solar panel installation in Kansas City is our passion.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.