Go Green the Right Way

By: Daniel Stevens, RealClearEnergy, November 20, 2017

Complaints against rooftop solar companies have skyrocketed in recent years as more Americans have installed solar panels on their rooftops. The complaints, filed by angry customers, reveal how rooftop solar companies exploit consumers – especially low-income and elderly homeowners. Federal regulators have taken notice: The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether rooftop solar companies are playing by the rules.

These problems don’t mean Americans should discount solar altogether, just that home rooftop panels may not be the best delivery system. But thanks to the Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community initiative, other ways for consumers to benefit from solar energy are in development.

The program, part of President Barack Obama’s Sunshot Initiative, provides millions of dollars in seed funding to nonprofits and communities that are installing solar panels that benefit low- and middle-income residents. The Energy Department is betting that these grants will uncover a sustainable business model that can then be expanded.

My organization, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), has been documenting how rooftop solar companies exploit vulnerable populations by reviewing consumer complaints filed against rooftop solar companies with state attorney generals as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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