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Learn How I Was Deceived by Solar Installers in San Antonio! 

Portrait of a Green Snake Illustration

One year ago, I had solar panels installed at my home in San Antonio. While I am now a believer in solar energy, the process of getting the panels installed was not initially a positive one. My solar installer made false claims about the system, misled me about additional features, charged an inflated price, and did not provide adequate documentation. To avoid these problems, it is important to be aware of potential issues and learn from my experience.

My First Mistake

During the sales pitch, the solar salesperson asked for our electric bill and said he would use the data to determine the size and cost of the solar system. He claimed that the panel’s electricity production would match our consumption and eliminate our electricity bill. However, after doing my own calculations, I discovered that the solar salesperson had used false data in the quote. My consumption calculations revealed that we were using 15,000 kWh annually, while the solar system only produced 10,000 kWh.

To fix the problem, I had to install a higher-efficiency HVAC system, upgrade my expansion valve to a TXV, and install a hard start kit on my condensing unit. These modifications made up for the missing 5,000 kWh and resulted in a zero-electricity bill for the past six months.

To avoid getting undersold on a solar system, it is important to calculate your own consumption data. Simply write down the numbers from the bar graph on your utility bill, estimate the rest of the month’s kWh consumption, and divide the total by 12. This will help you avoid being deceived by dishonest solar installers.

Mistake Number Two

One of my main worries when considering solar panels was whether they would be able to fully replace our current electricity usage. I did not want to end up paying for both a solar payment and an electric bill. I am sure this is a common concern for people considering switching to solar energy.

During the sales presentation, the solar representative told us about a feature that would allow us to track the production of our solar panels and our current electricity consumption through an app. This seemed helpful because we could see the data and adjust our energy usage in real-time.

However, when we tried to use the app, we discovered that it only showed production data and not consumption. When we called to complain, we were told that we would have to pay an additional $1500 in cash to add a monitoring device that would report consumption data to the app. We declined to pay this extra fee and still do not have real-time consumption data.

Mistake Number Three

During the solar panel sales presentations, it was mentioned that a tree in front of our home would block a significant amount of sunlight for the panels. All the solar installers said they would include tree trimming as part of the service to remove this obstacle from my home in San Antonio and maximize production.

However, after the solar panels were installed, there was still a gap in production, even after I made modifications to my HVAC system. I later realized that no one had ever come to trim the tree casting a shadow over the front of the roof. When I called to complain, I was told that tree trimming was never promised.

I had to hire a professional tree trimmer at my own expense to trim the tree and increase solar production enough to eliminate my electric bill. This was yet another example of being lied to by the solar representative and incurring additional costs.

Mistake Number Four

I recently got into the solar panel business and was shocked to discover the high dealer fees that can be added to the upfront cost of getting solar panels. I learned that these fees, which are charged by the financing institution to lower the interest rate, can add up to 30% to the cost of solar panels in San Antonio.

I personally experienced this when I paid $40,000 for a 10,000-kWh solar system and financed it for 25 years. I did not do my own research and ended up paying much more than I needed to due to these hidden fees.

If you are reading this article, then pat yourself on the back because you are doing the proper research before buying solar panels in San Antonio.

Mistake Number Five

I was terribly upset by all the lies I had been told, so I searched through my emails to find a copy of the solar proposal, contract, and other documentation. To my surprise, I could not find any record of the solar agreement.

I had been planning to file a lawsuit or small claims court dispute to seek compensation for the upgrades, tree trimming, and monitoring add-on I had to pay for, which cost $1500. Without proper documentation, however, I had no legal recourse. The lesson here is that it is important to get everything in writing from your solar installers and to make sure you have documentation of all promises and agreements, including the presentation.

The Last Word

The most important thing is to find solar installers that are honest and transparent. My experience serves as a cautionary tale about the complications that can arise when working with an untrustworthy company. To avoid similar issues, it is essential to look for a solar company that is upfront about all costs and fees, provides a copy of the proposal, and puts all agreements and stipulations in writing.

When you work with solar installers that are honest and transparent, you can trust that they will follow through on their promises and help you get an affordable solar system in San Antonio.

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