Avoid Solar Scammers: Beware of The Solar Brokers

With the solar industry's incredible growth, some unethical individuals and companies have emerged, taking advantage of the customers' lack of knowledge and information.

Many solar companies act as brokers, serving as a middleman to find the most profitable deals.

These “solar scammers” use deceptive sales tactics and misleading information to exploit customers and make a profit.

  • They may use publicly available permit information to gain access to contact details and steal customers away from existing contracts.
  • They may falsely represent themselves and make false claims about solar panels' potential savings or benefits.
  • They may also fail to disclose all of the costs and terms of their contracts, hiding unexpected charges and expenses from their customers.

Customers should be cautious when dealing with solar brokers, especially if they are unsolicited or using high-pressure sales tactics.

It's important to do your own research and check the reputation of the company and the installer's qualifications.

Public permit portals can be a valuable tool for gaining information about local solar panel installation projects, but the system should also be used with caution. Be wary of companies that use this information to deceive customers or make false claims about their qualifications or past projects.

Additionally, it's always good to seek out multiple quotes from different solar companies to compare prices, services, and contract terms to avoid future hidden costs.

avoid solar scammers research before your go solar

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How to protect yourself from solar scammers when deciding to go solar?

Following these tips can help protect customers from falling victim to unethical solar brokers and ensure they get the best possible solar panel installation for their needs.

  • Misuse of public permit portals: These portals are typically used by local government agencies to track and approve building permits for construction projects, including solar panel installations. By accessing these portals, brokers can obtain information such as the names, addresses, and contact information of individuals who have applied for permits to install solar panels. This information can then be used to make unsolicited sales calls and spam emails.
  • Misrepresentation of permit status: Solar brokers may falsely claim that they have already obtained the necessary permits or approvals for a solar panel installation when in fact, they have not. This can give the impression that the broker is a reputable and reliable company, but they may not have the necessary qualifications or experience to complete the installation. As a result, customers may end up with unfinished projects or with projects that do not meet local regulations and building codes for inspection.
  • Using public permit information to deceive: Some brokers may use information from public permit portals to falsely claim that they have already completed similar projects in the area or that they have a positive track record with local government agencies. They may also use this information to pressure customers into making a quick decision. So make sure to check their state license numbers via CSLB.
  • Misrepresentation of their qualifications: Some solar brokers may falsely claim to have the qualifications required to obtain permits for solar panel installations, such as electrical or engineering licenses, to gain potential customers' trust. They may also falsely claim to be certified or licensed to gain customer trust. This can be dangerous as customers may be misled and could end up with unsafe, illegal systems.
  • Using public permit information for illegal activities: Some brokers may use public permit information to conduct illegal activities like identity theft, phishing, or other fraudulent activities. They may use this information to impersonate the actual permit holder and gain access to sensitive information like bank accounts, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and more. This can be extremely dangerous and can result in financial losses and damage to the customer's credit score.

Some of the biggest solar companies out there are nothing more than solar brokers, in which case you should RUN away! You can easily avoid working with brokers by going direct to a solar contractor like Option One Solar.

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