In a recent post, State Representatives Harold Naughton and David Baria make an important point that consumers deserve to be well-informed regarding their choice to go solar and not deal with bad-actors. We agree.
Unfortunately, they neglect a key piece of context. The vast majority of our customers are fully satisfied with their solar systems. It’s true, a solar revolution is sweeping America and bringing a choice of clean, reliable and affordable solar power to millions of Americans. It isn’t true that there are widespread problems with predatory companies.
Our companies rely on word of mouth, and unhappy customers don’t support business growth. Yet, we project there are going to be one million new solar installations in the United States in the next two years. That only happens if our customers have a good experience.
No doubt, customers deserve accurate information when considering whether to go solar. To that end, we proactively created a suite of consumer protection materials, working with states, consulting with the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission, and winning the accolades of the Better Business Bureau.
SEIA released disclosure forms to give consumers a snapshot of key terms in a contract. Our consumer guide provides prospective customers with the key questions to ask when deciding whether solar is right for them. We have also released a guide for community solar. The goal is to make sure consumers are fully informed.
Last year, SEIA’s Board of Directors put into force the first national Code of Conduct for the solar industry which presents rules on advertising, consumer interactions, and contracts, along with a complaint resolution process by which every one of our nearly 1,000 SEIA member companies must abide. Today, any consumer can easily submit a claim to SEIA for examination and enforcement. And SEIA stands ready to work with state and federal regulators. True bad actors should not remain in business.
Finally, the post ignores the suite of state and federal consumer protection laws on the books which prohibit false advertising, unfair trade practices and unwanted telemarketing and robocalls, along with the laws that regulate solar installers, leases and other solar contracts.
SEIA is leading the way to ensure consumers have the information needed to make informed decisions. Let’s also make sure that the fear of progress or the influence of old-line entrenched interests don’t lead government agencies to strip consumers of the power of choice.