California solar consumer protection: The facts
The state of California requires that each solar customer receive the California Solar Consumer Protection Guide. The guide gives homeowners a complete resource on what to know before signing a solar contract. Consumers must read and sign the guide before or at the same time they sign their contract for going solar.
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Freedom Forever backs this guide 100%. With homeowners, authenticity goes a long way toward building trust. This guide adds a layer of authenticity by giving them a breakdown of what solar details they should look out for. We want our customers to know their rights and be empowered to make a well-informed decision when they go solar with us.
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Your solar dealer must have you read and sign the program guide
If you choose to go solar, your Freedom Forever independent authorized dealer will have you sign the program guide prior to signing your contract with Freedom Forever. You can take all the time you need to read it, there’s no rush.
Important information about the solar contract signing process for consumers and Freedom Forever independent authorized dealers
- The guide must be signed and initialed where needed for all solar contracts signed on or after Sept 30th by all PG&E, SDG&E and SCE customers
- The guide must be signed prior to or on the same day as the contract with which it is associated
Additionally, our independent authorized dealers must:
- Upload the signature/initial pages only with each sale (i.e. not all pages)
- Freedom Forever will check that these requirements are met during our New Deal review. Any projects that do not meet the requirements will be placed into Support prior to progressing to Site Audit”
What’s in the California Solar Consumer Protection Guide
The California Solar Consumer Protection Guide informs consumers of false claims to watch out for. There are three false claims the guide warns of:
- You can get free solar energy at no cost to you*
- You won’t pay an electric bill after going solar
- Time is running out and you must sign quickly to go solar
*Unless you qualify for one of the government-funded solar programs that offer free or low-cost solar. Information on those programs is found on page 6 in the guide.
The guide gives some important facts about going solar
Solar energy isn’t free unless you qualify for one of the government-funded solar programs that offer free or low-cost solar. Those programs are for people who either meet low-income requirements and/or who live in areas that the state considers disadvantaged.
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After going solar you will usually pay a small electric bill each month and then pay a larger “true-up” bill at the end of the year. That true-up bill is made up of the cost of any electricity you purchased from your provider minus the value that the provider credited you for the electricity produced.
Your Freedom Forever independent authorized dealer will never rush you to sign a contract. You can take all the time you need to read and understand your contract and the program guide. In fact, California law requires that a salesperson show you the contract terms before signing.
California CARE and FERA programs
The California Alternate Rate Assistance (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs will reduce or eliminate the cost of going solar if you qualify for them. The qualifications for the CARE and FERA programs are based on household income and the number of people living in the home.
If you meet CARE or FERA program requirements and you live in an eligible disadvantaged community, you may be able to go solar at no cost to you. Those programs are combined in a program administered by GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to communities that would not otherwise have access to it.
The program is administered by GRID Alternatives is called the Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program.
Click here to view a map of eligible disadvantaged communities
Your rights according to the California Solar Consumer Protection Guide
Lastly, the guide informs solar consumers of four important rights when going solar:
- Consumers have the right to a copy of their solar and financing contracts written in the same language the salesperson spoke
- You have the right to read the entire 23-page California Solar Consumer Protection Guide before signing a contract
- You must receive a Solar Energy Disclosure Document
- Consumers have the right to cancel a solar contract within 3 days of signing
The guide provides lots of smart questions a solar consumer should ask before signing a solar contract. Freedom Forever recommends reading and asking all of those questions. If you do, you’ll be well informed about the process of going solar. You can also get an overview of the typical solar installation process. Make a point of reading the California Solar Consumer Protection Guide and be sure to ask any questions you have about it. Your Freedom Forever independent authorized dealer will be happy to answer them!