By Mark Battle
In the 1949-1950’s radio series, Dragnet, Sergeant Friday stated that among crooks, the conman has special respect from other criminals for using his intelligence to steal vast amounts of money from his victims without a weapon, only using his wits. In this age of rising prices, the conman is still polished and acts like a trusted member of society, a businessman, but that is far from the case.
The newest twist on this scam is the solar energy market con that you have probably seen on TV, on the internet (all the multimedia outlets, actually), or in print in magazines and newspapers. The scam goes like this, “Have you wanted to lower your energy prices with solar but are worried about the cost. Click on this website to see what other people in your area paid for comparable systems.” In this one statement, the con-man has already ruined the market for the reputable sellers of solar power equipment.
First things first. Solar may not work where you are. Trees may cause too much shading, your house may have the wrong orientation to the south, and your roof may not be capable of supporting the weight of panels. And let’s say your home has all the right fit for solar. You may have to replace your roof before panels are put on. Otherwise, you will have to remove the panels (paying three times for installation costs) to have the roof repaired and the panels replaced. The con-man wants your money and will not discuss all this with you.
With the panels on the roof or mounted in the yard, you will want a battery storage for blackouts. How much battery storage do you need? The standard is storage to supply three days of power. At this point, the devil is in the details, and you cannot afford to miss anything; otherwise, you will nickel and dime yourself to near bankruptcy to correct the issue.
If you want to save money without understanding the market and your individual needs with an allowance for expansion, you will have difficulty buying a solar generation system that will meet your energy demand. In addition to this, you will also have a lot of hidden costs, one of which is a million-dollar bond that has to be paid at the start of each year if your system is grid-tied. Another cost will be an expensive upgraded electrical meter that measures the energy flow from your system into the grid. And as with all aspects of your home, you must know how to inspect and repair as needed with the appropriate technician.
Power generation can be done safely, but solar is not as free as the conman makes it sound.