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Unethical Practices in the Solar Power Industry

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 02/19/2008 in
Updated 02/11/2019

Most of the People in Solar Power are Good…

…And some steal your cheeseburgers. It’s like this:

When I visit a home to do a solar evaluation, I crunch the numbers and get a very precise estimate of the output of the system based on orientation, tilt, and shading. Now that I know that, I can get an accurate ROI. After I have this data, I present them to the customer with everything on the table. I often say, “look, you’re gonna have to either cut that tree or this just doesn’t work for you financially.” After that, even with systems that are not cost effective due to shading some people still move forward because it’s something they want to do for the earth.

Everyone in the industry has the capability and the tools to make their numbers very snug and correct with not a lot of effort.

Most of the providers out there are good people, but there are a few who are giving us a bad name. I won’t name names, because I can’t. I don’t know where these pictures were taken or who installed them. I only know my friends gave me these photos of installations they had seen that they knew, by eyeballing, shouldn’t have been done (the first picture being far more egregious than the second) unless there is some giant weird exception. In the following two photos of bay area solar installations, both trees are to the south, making the solar array shaded to all hell. Unless your company has lots of referral resources they can give you, or you know them personally, ALWAYS GET A SECOND QUOTE.

Another Bad Solar Install

To be fair… I don’t know who installed these solar systems or what their story is. I don’t know that a solar salesman conned anyone into anything here… The owners could have plans to cut the trees… The owners could be super-altruistic and have money to burn on solar… They could even be uneducated solar do-it-yourselfers, I have no idea. What I DO know is that some solar installers get people to install systems that they shouldn’t. It’s rare but it happens. Addionally, to be fair to the hamburgler… I’ve met him. He’s got a habit… what’s he gonna do? When you get down to it he’s a nice guy… and with that laugh, how can you not love him. Dude just LOVES humburgers… Cut him a break!

Last modified: February 11, 2019

8 thoughts on “Unethical Practices in the Solar Power Industry

  1. Avatar for Pamela Peery Pamela Peery says:

    How do I report unethical practices? Nexus solar /flex advisors quoted me one thing but it ended up being an interest only payment! Suddenly a year late I am getting billed 60 percent more!!

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hey Pamela-

      I’m guessing the best way is to contact your state’s Attorney General’s office and lodge a complaint. I haven’t heard anything else about Nexes Solar/Flex Advisers. Also might be a good idea to have an attorney look over your contract and see if they may have included mis-leading language or false claims.

      Best of luck, and please write back if you get any more information.


  2. Avatar for eric eric says:

    I see it all the time. Some sales people just want that quota

  3. Avatar for Jay Guizar Jay Guizar says:

    Seeking sales position

  4. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    There is a solar company in the Hollywood area that did an awful installation and I would like to know what I can do to force them to do what’s right.
    The array was installed in a back house next to a 2 story house which shades about half of the array.
    I can post photos and the name of the company, maybe there are others who’ve been scammed by this company.

  5. Avatar for Scott Gordon Scott Gordon says:

    I always tell my customers that there are two kinds of bad solar installations. The first kind the are technically bad where components are improperly installed (poor stanchion flashings; missed trusses; uneven rails, heavily shaded, etc) while the second type is what I call ‘ugly solar’. The latter are the kind of installations that cause the entire neighborhood to shun solar because they are so ugly that no one else on the street wants to ruin their curb appeal ‘like that guy’. Both types five our industry a black eye. Thanks getting the conversation rolling here with your post.

  6. Avatar for pat pat says:

    what are so bad affects of solar panels. im doing a project on them

  7. Avatar for Keane Keane says:

    Robble robble!

    Great post!

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