Avoid Solar PV Scams

Tips for Avoiding Scams and Selecting a Contractor

As the solar industry in the Austin area has grown, the potential for deceptive or fraudulent sales tactics has also increased. A solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is a big investment, and you want to make sure you select a reputable solar contractor to complete your installation.

Be Aware of Scams

Austin Energy has received reports of customers paying exorbitant prices for solar systems packaged with other energy improvements, or with predatory financing terms. We have also heard reports of salespeople misrepresenting themselves as Austin Energy employees when visiting customers door-to-door, or making claims about state policies or incentives that just don’t exist.

How Can You Tell It’s a Scam?

  • Austin Energy does not sell solar systems.
  • Our employees do not make door-to-door solicitations or unsolicited phone calls for solar installations.
  • We do not have “preferred companies” or solar companies working on our behalf.

What Austin Energy Provides

Austin Energy has a solar incentive program which provides rebates for customers that install solar at their home or business using one of the participating contractors listed on our website.

Only these participating contractors are authorized to promote Austin Energy solar rebates to customers. Customers can only receive the Austin Energy incentives if they contract through one of these registered companies.

Solar PV Sales Calls or Door-to-Door Sales

What should you do if someone calls or comes to your door and tries to sell you a solar installation?

  • If you are interested in solar, feel free to talk with the salesperson.
  • If the salesperson seems overly aggressive, pressures you to sign agreements without your full review, or otherwise makes you feel uncomfortable:
    • ask for a business card and tell them you will follow up,
    • simply tell them you’re not interested and ask them to leave.

Ask for Identification

If someone is representing themselves as an Austin Energy or City of Austin employee or representative, you should always ask to see their identification badge. If they cannot produce their badge, ask for a business card or name and contact information.

Do Your Homework

Before signing a contract, always check our list of participating solar contractors, read online reviews, and ask for customer references.

We recommend that you get at least three bids from our participating solar contractors to ensure you are receiving competitive prices, and that the work, rebates and final inspections are approved by Austin Energy.

Make sure you are comfortable with your contractor, understand what you are purchasing and understand the costs and financing terms if applicable.

If You Have Questions or Concerns

If you believe that a fraudulent solar company has approached you, or simply have questions about solar, please call Austin Energy Customer Energy Solutions at 512-482-5346.

A representative can verify participating contractors and provide information about rebates, expected savings from solar or other solar technology questions.

You can also file a complaint online with the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s office or give them a call at 512-463-2185.

Learn More

Visit these additional resources to become more familiar with Austin Energy’s Solar Incentive program, and information for consumers.

Last Updated: 10/3/17