We went to the house of a very nice and well educated customer who wanted to install a solar panels system at her house, and wanted to generate as close to 100% of her power from solar. Her husband and her have all the good intentions of doing their part in saving the environment, while saving money. She was very knowledgeable about financing and numbers.
Signed with a Solar Contractor
Unfortunately another solar contractor had talked to her before I had, and sold her on a solar array unit which was way too small for her property. He had signed her up for a system which had only 17 panels, and her bottom line number was about $30k. She was happy that it wasn’t costing her much, they were going to do all her paperwork and processing, and gave her a 25 year warranty. Her financing was great, 2.9% interest (more about solar financing). But she felt like something was wrong, therefore had contact us for another estimate.
Here is the problem, he property really needs about twice the number of solar panels from what he quoted her, even with higher efficiency solar panels. Those same 17 solar panels would have 35% cheaper with our company, coming in at about $21K, (instead of $30k) including everything.
Here is the Solar Contractor Bait and Switch
Why would a solar contractor have given her such a low estimate, why put her in a contract where she is buying less than what she needs?
The answer is simple; Change Order.
After the contracts cancellation clause, when the customer can no longer cancel her contract and is already committed to making the purchase of the overpriced 17 panels, she might eventually be told that she needs more panels to completely provide the 100% solar power generation her property really needs. Since she is already locked into a contract for the 17 panels, she can either go with the change order or just stick with her original contract. And she is stuck in a contract paying about 35% more than what she should really be paying.
Unfortunately not every Solar Contractor is honest
Just like everything else in life, some people are honest and some people are not honest. Because Solar is such a new concept, there are some solar contractors who are not honest and will not use ethical practices.
This other solar contractor even told them that if they moved to another house they would move the panels to the new house at no cost. How does that even make sense??? Of course not! There are so many reasons why you would never even want to transfer your unit from one house to the other…
A change order actually a normal situation in construction, and contracting. There are some situations which just can’t be foreseen, and therefor can’t be written into contracts. But when something is just obvious, it’s unethical.
There are so many solar contractors who really want to do the right thing, but there will always be a rotten apple somewhere. Most solar contractors are in this business because they believe in the product, they believe solar makes a difference in the environment, and want to do their part in provide a greener earth for our children and grandchildren.
I don’t really like to toot my own horn, but I would rather loose a customer, than have to resort to unethical resources. I am very upfront, I make money when you buy a solar system from us. But I rather you have a great experience and refer your friends, family, co-workers, and everyone you know, than make only one sale and never get a referral because you were not a happy customer.
If you are ever caught in a situation which doesn’t seem right or just want to talk to someone about solar, I am more than happy to just talk and answer any questions you might have. It’s not always about the sale.