DES MOINES, Iowa — With energy prices rising year after year, consumers are looking to switch to solar; something that is now leaving Iowans vulnerable to scams.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is investigating 15 companies that deal with solar panel installation in the state. The investigation is happening now because of the massive amount of consumer complaints this year.
Complaints by year:
- 2019 – 5
- 2020 – 3
- 2021 – 7
- 2022 – 40
The complaints are for companies that are located in the state and out-of-state. The Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers of misleading advertisements that are costing people thousands of dollars.
“Sometimes people will see these ads online, sometimes they will hear about this and they go and put $10,000 down, that is common,” said Lynn Hicks, the Chief of Staff for the Iowa Attorney General. “And that is one of the first things that we advise against, is putting money down before the work is finished.”
Some people are even on the hook for $20,000 to $30,000 according to Hicks.
Here is the list of companies the office is investigating and the number of complaints received for each one:
|COMPANY||NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS|
|Blue Sky Alternative Energy||1|
|Green Energy Tech||1|
|Reliable Iowa Construction||1|
|Solar Action Alliance||1|
|Wind and Solar Specialists||1|
The state of Iowa does have a tax credit program that Governor Reynolds signed in June. This would allow old applications to be considered again, and allow for new people to apply. But the claims promised in these ads could not be further from the truth.
“We are hearing that you are going to be guaranteed to get tax credits for your solar investment and there is absolutely no guarantee of that, because it is a program through the state that has become very popular,” said Hicks.
It’s not just the Attorney General’s Office who has been witnessing companies scam Iowans.
“It’s disgusting. What they are doing is simple, a salesman comes in and all he is interested in is your signature on a piece of paper,” said Nicholas Ashton, the President of RFusion. RFusion is a company based out of the United Kingdom that has plans to build a plant in Iowa. Ashton manufactures solar panels and some of these subcontractors selling under false pretenses have contacted him to sell his panels, something that Ashton won’t do.
“Why do they keep saying, ‘if you are spending more than $99 on your electric bill we can help’,” said Ashton. “They are going to pay $350 a month to get solar? It’s ridiculous.”
Hicks said the goal of the investigations are to save consumers as much of their money as possible. He also added that you need to contact the Attorney General’s Office if you have been contacted, or have done business with one of these companies. You can file the complaint on the Attorney General’s website or call 515-281-5926.