No one likes pushy salespeople showing up at their home to sell this or that. At Compass Solar, we don’t engage in such kinds of aggressive and, often, misleading ad campaigns.
On the other hand, fly-by-night solar panel startups do, in fact, often rely on these kinds of marketing campaigns to try to bolster their sales. In their efforts, they often fail to accurately and fully explain all of the important aspects of solar panel systems that homeowners and business owners need to understand.
Here’s why you should greet door knockers with a healthy dose of skepticism and how to handle them when they turn up at your front door.
Why should you be skeptical of solar panel door knockers?
First, the volume-based, immediate-payoff door-knocking business model requires that these businesses sign new customers immediately. Their goal isn’t building long-term, stable roots in a community for decades of repeat business but rather short-term profits through quick sales.
Second, it’s important to understand that door knockers are, in general, not solar panel experts. Think about it: could companies afford to hire real, bona fide experts to pound the pavement door-to-door to sell their products? They couldn’t.
Instead, door knockers are often minimum-wage recruits from the ad pages of Craigslist whose only education in the industry is a flash course in flashy talking points.
These solar panel startups specifically train door knockers to upsell potential customers on all of the benefits of solar panel system ownership while leaving out any of the potential drawbacks or considerations that property owners should weigh carefully before making such a large financial investment.
Questions to ask solar panel door knockers to avoid scams
Of course, the easiest way to avoid door-knocking solar panel scams is to not answer the door in the first place – a totally understandable tact to take if they show up while you’re enjoying a family meal or relaxing on a weekend.
But, if you must engage with them, probe them with these questions to suss out a scam before you become a victim.
Question #1: How does the solar panel tax incentive program work?
One of the common misleading sales pitches that door knockers use is to suggest that the government will reimburse customers with a direct check to compensate for their investment after getting their panels installed.
That is not true. The federal government does offer a residential investment tax credit (ITC) which, as the name indicates, is a tax credit and not a rebate. It’ll reimburse you for about a quarter of your money back in the form of a shaved tax bill.
In addition to the federal tax break, Florida residents also qualify for Residential Solar System Tax Exemption which will allow you to retain the 6% sales tax you would otherwise have to pay.
The bottom line is that you’ll get plenty of tax incentives, but you’re not going to get any government checks for your solar panel system.
To get real information about how the government’s tax incentive program works, check out our informative blog post.
Question #2: How does net metering work?
Another favorite deception of door knockers is to try to convince you that the utility company will pay you to install your solar panel system.
If a door knocker tries to convince you otherwise – that, for example, Florida Power & Light (FPL), which recently acquired Gulf Power, will pay for your system – that is flatly untrue. It should serve as a red flag that whatever company this door knocker represents is not being upfront.
What utility companies will do is buy back your excess energy if you are willing to sell it. This is called “net metering.” Thanks to the organizing efforts of local solar power proponents, we recently defeated legislation that would have limited Floridians’ ability to sell their solar-generated power back to the utilities at full price.
So, with that legal victory under our belts, you still have full incentive to make your own independent power supply and sell what you don’t need at a fair market cost to the public.
That’s good news for property owners, the environment, and the whole community given that electricity prices for Floridians have skyrocketed.
Of course, if you so choose, in most places in Florida going off-grid is fully legal. You can keep your energy for yourself and your family – a popular option for many who value full independence over other considerations.
Question #3: Is there a solar ‘stimulus’ program?
Latching onto the popular parlance surrounding the “COVID-19 stimulus,” many opportunistic solar startups have begun using these same talking points to try to lure potential customers into signing on the dotted line.
There is no such thing as a “solar stimulus” program from any level of government.
In addition to being a common tactic used by door knockers, the “solar stimulus” lie has also proliferated across social media. After all, we live in the disinformation age. COVID-19 put a temporary halt to door-to-door sales, so pioneering startups took to the internet to disseminate their deceptive marketing campaigns instead.
If, at any point, the term “solar stimulus” pops up in the sales pitch, you can rest assured you’re dealing with a dishonest vendor.
The basic rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
The best guiding principle when handling door knockers is to use your best judgment – what your parents probably called “common sense.” Solar panels cost money and the government or the utility company aren’t going to pay that cost.
However, if you choose the right, respected firm to install and help you maintain your system over years, and you demand top-of-the-line gear like Tesla’s solar batteries, your solar panels will generate reliable electricity for years to come. While the cost might seem intimidating, bear in mind that data proves that a solar panel system, like any solid investment, pays for itself and then some over time.
And, with our financing options, your new solar panel system can be affordable – just not free.
Plus, solar panel systems increase your property value.
Contact Compass Solar for the unvarnished truth about solar panels
We don’t do high-pressure sales campaigns. Instead, we build our business brick by brick on our word-of-mouth reputation among our Northwest Florida neighbors.
We respect our customers enough to tell them the truth. Contact Compass Solar to learn more about solar panels.
You can count on us to deliver the unvarnished truth about solar panels – how much you can save, which tax incentives you qualify for, and what benefits you can realistically expect from your system in terms of energy independence and return on investment.