Letter to the Editor:
In her Feb. 9 column, “Why Isn’t President Trump Tweeting about the Solar Panel Industry?” Dr. Julianne Malveaux makes serious allegations, and on behalf of the solar industry we want to set the record straight.
Consumer protection is a top priority for us — not just in word but in deed. We do not target communities of color; we embrace them. Solar works for all Americans — 1.3 million of them have solar already. We will reach out to Ms. Malveaux to get any details she has and we will address any issues we discover.
The solar industry has proactively taken a host of steps to protect consumers through an initiative commended by the Better Business Bureau. We’ve sat down with state offices and the Federal Trade Commission alike to ensure solar consumer protection. We’ve worked hard both to ensure consumers have accurate information as they consider solar for their homes and set up a complaint resolution process if anything goes wrong. All of our member companies, which total nearly 1,000, must follow our Solar Business Code, which governs interactions with consumers. We’ve even created disclosure forms to give consumers a snapshot of the key terms of their contract.
Consumer protection is our priority both because it’s the right thing to do, and because our industry relies on it. Buying solar panels is not like buying milk at the grocery store. Because a new solar array is not a small expense, companies offer various ways for consumers to go solar at an affordable price. You can pay with cash or loans or even lease the panels while keeping your electricity bill steady or cutting costs. And solar works because of word of mouth. We want to ensure every solar job is a job well done.
Ms. Malveaux argues that offering “no money down” makes the deal automatically dangerous. This is simply not the case; people buy cars or make home improvements with no money down every day. Please give consumers more credit. The solar industry will do its part to ensure our companies follow the rules, and we’ll happily work with the State of Florida to take swift action against the rare company that doesn’t.
Thomas P. Kimbis
Executive V.P. & General Counsel
Solar Energy Industries Association