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SOLAR SCAMS: Absurd Deal For Elderly Couple Moves Arizona Senate To Action

SOLAR SCAMS: Absurd Deal For Elderly Couple Moves Arizona Senate To Action

Amid claims that solar companies have misled homeowners, the Arizona Senate is considering legislation that would require them to disclose the true costs of rooftop solar panels.

Republican Sen. Debbie Lesko claimed in an op-ed for the Arizona Capitol Times on Friday that she decided to introduce the bill after hearing from a couple who was told that installing solar panels would increase the value of their home by $25,000, only to find that potential buyers consider them a liability.

“A solar company talked them into leasing solar panels for 20 years, even though they are in their 80s,” Lesko pointed out, adding that numerous lawmakers and watchdog groups “have raised serious questions about the financing agreements and sales practices of some of the roof-top solar companies.”

One such lawmaker is Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, who raised the issue during a committee hearing about the Department of Energy’s 2016 budget request. (RELATED: Solar Industry Demands Extension of Subsidies)

“Earlier this week, a solar company in Arizona called Stealth Solar admitted to illegally marketing services related to installation and leasing of rooftop solar systems,” Flake told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

“I can tell you that in Arizona, as people now go to sell their homes after entering into these long-term agreements, a lot are in for a surprise,” he added, noting that, “Some have already received that surprise when they realized they have to pay off [the panels] or have a lien put on their house.”

Flake then asked Moniz “what role, if any, can or does DOE plan to play in assuring that these companies—who access federal tax credits—aren’t misrepresenting what they’re doing for their customers?”

Moniz admitted that, “I was not aware of this,” but promised Flake that he would “look into this and discuss with others in the government if there is a role for us to play, or whether it’s a purely state issue.”

Lesko, however, does not appear interested in waiting for the federal government to take action, claiming that, “It is time that something is done” to eliminate such deceptive practices. (RELATED: Solar Energy Will Produce Less Than 1 Percent of US Power in 2015)

“Some companies may be doing a good job, but others are not,” she asserted, saying “a good starting point” would be to require solar companies to provide the same level of disclosure to customers that the law already requires from the insurance industry, motor vehicle dealers, and mortgage lenders.

“SB1465 does nothing more than require standard disclosures so that homeowners considering solar leasing or purchase will have more complete, understandable information before making a decision.” (RELATED: Report: US Green Energy Subsidies Jeopardize American Companies, Global Markets)

Lesko’s bill would require solar panel agreements to be written in at least 10-point type, identify any associated tax incentives and subsidies (and who will receive them), and spell out the terms and credit requirements for a future homebuyer to assume the lease.

“Consumer protection disclosures are in everyone’s best interest,” Lesko said, explaining that not only do they protect consumers, “They also protect the responsible solar companies with an affirmative defense that they have given the buyer the information they need if a dispute does arise.”

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