Second Opinion On Solar Panels

It’s An Epidemic

It’s sad to say, but our industry is full of shady solar dealers. Whether they are a sales outfit disguised as a contractor, or a licensed contractor that is willing to say anything to make a sale, we hear horror stories every day. Save yourself from making a bad financial decision and get a second opinion.

From inflated savings figures to sales of products that clients don’t need, we have seen it all. Robo-calls and telemarketers are hitting Florida residents hard. Ridiculous financing rates and lies about available rebates are souring otherwise well-intentioned property owners looking into solar.

Don’t let these issues turn you off to solar energy. We are here to help. Fill out the contact form on this page, and read on to learn some of the biggest myths, lies, distractions, and secrets in the industry.

Myths, Lies, Distractions, and Secrets

There are many third party resources to learn how much you will save with solar panels. The most important thing is that you understand how much energy a system will produce.

Solar electricity is pretty simple. We can tell you within a narrow range how much energy a given system should produce. Then we can convert that to dollars. However, you need to look at the small print. Are they talking about savings in today’s dollars, or at future electricity rates. If talking about the future, what inflation rate are they using?

Ummmm. No. It doesn’t. This is a longstanding myth based on suspect average figures from some irrelevant government source. I guarantee that 30% of your Florida electric bill is not from water heating. And even if it was, solar water heating would not cover 100% of your water heating needs.

Usually, a solar water heater is tacked on to a solar electric system so a dealer can inflate savings projections, but those projections are based on some nebulous average number. It never works out that way. Few people in homes, warm incoming ground water, and seasonal residents all contribute to people getting stung by solar water heaters.

And they are almost always sold at ridiculously inflated rates. The answer? Buy a few more solar electric panels and continue to use electric heating.

Let’s be absolutely clear. There are currently no rebates available for solar energy in Florida. There are no state rebates, no utility rebates, and no Federal rebates. Shady dealers like to lump all incentives into the generic category of “rebates.”

Now that’s not to say incentives don’t exist. There is a 30% Federal Tax Credit that goes through 2019 and then decreases each year until 2022. As long as a solar electric or solar water heating system is installed in time, it should be eligible.

However, you need to have enough taxable income to offset to take full advantage of tax credits. You can carry forward unused credits, but you should consult your tax advisor for more information.

Other than that, there is no sales tax in Florida and systems are exempt from property tax assessments. But there are no rebates

Ugh. Why are we still dealing with this in 2017? You might be one of those people that just doesn’t answer unknown Caller ID calls. If so, you have never had the displeasure of speaking with a shady solar energy telemarketer.

Here’s the scoop: solar dealers employ or farm out massive call center operations to have telemarketers attempt to set appointments with their “solar experts.” These “experts” are usually just peddlers that take a 3-day sales training class and then run rampant, spewing ridiculous claims just to get you to sign on the dotted line. It’s called the one-call close. They want to close the deal at the first meeting at your dinner table. They focus on the monthly payment, and try to obfuscate the real (inflated) price.

Is that really how you want to buy something that costs up to tens of thousands of dollars? It’s done this way because they have one shot to close the deal, then they move on to the next robo-called victim. No follow up… no real interest in meeting your needs.

Nothing is free. That’s especially true in banking. When you finance anything, someone has to put up the money. And when you’re talking about unsecured credit, as most solar loans are, banks are handsomely rewarded for taking on the risk.

It’s not that financing is bad – most of us use loans to buy cars, houses, and other things that cost more than a few thousand dollars. Financing a solar energy system can be a great way to get solar energy without a large cash outlay. We offer financing – it’s a necessity.

But make sure you understand what you are getting into. Understand the terms of the loan and shop around for the best deal. If you have equity in your home or access to another secured credit line, it may be your best option.

And if you are fortunate enough to have enough cash, you can negotiate a great discount, because solar dealers usually pay the bank something so they can offer you a good looking interest rate. Again – nothing is free!

ALWAYS ask for the dealer’s license number, and then make sure it corresponds to the company that is pitching you solar panels. Why? Lots of out of state dealers are actually just sales outfits that sell a job and then subcontract it to a Florida licensed contractor.

The legality of this arrangement is suspect because to offer or advertise contracting services in Florida, you must be licensed.

And ask yourself who is going to service your system if there are problems or warranty claims.


Some things are difficult or impossible to quantify. If a dealer tells you about astronomical savings from an attic fan, run the other way. If they propose estimated savings for a solar water heater, ask how they came to that figure without knowing about your hot water usage habits.

Lies are prevalent in the industry. Legally they call it “puffing” – extravagant claims to attract buyers. While it may not be illegal, we find it unethical at least.

Exaggerated estimates of future inflation, unrealistic operating costs, and rosy savings estimates are annoying claims we battle daily.

The truth is good enough. There is no need to lie!

Shady dealers are famous for bundling products you don’t need and that won’t save you money. The package deal, or bundle, makes you think you are saving by buying more products.

That’s often not the case. The real game is to overprice one item so another can be offered at a ridiculously low price, or free. In some cases, all of the bundled items are overpriced.

Ask yourself, why would a dealer come in ready to pitch a bundle before understanding your particular situation? Hint: see cookie-cutter sales for more information.


It’s one thing to be prepared as a sales professional. We take a look at roof sizing, find out your electricity usage, and learn a bit about your goals before an in-home meeting.

WE might even put together a proposed solar panel layout based on what we think you might want.

We don’t offer a cookie-cutter package. That’s what some dealers do – they come up with a one-size-fits-all package that they can stamp out hundreds of times at a low cost – regardless of what the client wants or needs. And often this includes a bundle (see above).

That’s not how to do solar energy right. Solar panels are a modular technology and we can easily and properly size a system to meet your goals.

Customizing systems, even modular ones, takes training. The solar energy industry can be a revolving door of poorly trained “salespeople.” They’re often not salespeople at all, but peddlers. Salespeople advise you and help you make a good buying decision. Peddlers just push whatever they have to offer.

Bundling and cookie-cutting (see above) are perfect for a “let’s figure it out later” attitude. We have heard many tales of systems sold that don’t even fit on the roof, or use roof surfaces that you consider off limits. We also hear nightmares about change orders associated with lack of proper understanding of your existing electrical or plumbing system.

We’re not saying that the salesperson in your home should have every answer, but they should absolutely address all of your concerns with vigor. If they don’t know the answer, the company should have the resources to get back to you quickly, if not immediately.

On one hand, we don’t want you to worry about the details. Solar energy is actually pretty easy for a seasoned professional.

But if the salesperson doesn’t want to answer pointed questions, you might reconsider working with them.

Not all solar dealers are shady. In fact, there are lots of great people working in the industry, including some of our direct competitors.

We’re looking out for the bad actors that give our industry a bad name. Every industry has bad apples. With the relative newness of solar energy, it’s easy to find bamboozled customers, and that invites a shady element that we would prefer to eliminate.

And that’s why we offer second opinions. We’re not out to scare you. We will tell you if you’re looking at a legitimate and fair bid from a competent and honest competitor.

We will also tell you if you are being sold something you don’t need. In fact, we talk ourselves out of a lot of sales by telling people if solar is not right for them.

And we will definitely point out things that are not true, or that bend the truth. We are an education-first solar contractor.


Punta Gorda Solar Electricity

Solar Electricity

Also known as solar photovoltaic, power your home with solar electricity and connect to the utility grid as your electricity producer.

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Solar Pool Heating

The most popular and efficient use of solar energy in , FL is with solar pool heating panels.

Fort Myers Solar Water Heating

Solar Water Heating

Heating water is one of the largest electrical loads in , FL homes, and you can reduce costs with solar panels.

In addition to the above products, we offer related accessories, pool automation, pool filters, solar controllers, variable speed pumps, plumbing and valve upgrades, solar attic fans, solar tubular skylights, and more in . If you don’t see a solar product or energy efficient upgrade your are looking for, please contact us to learn more about what we offer.

Florida Solar Design Group offers the following services in for solar electricity, solar pool heating, and solar water heating:

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Solar Consulting

The first step when considering a solar energy investment is learning.

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Solar Design

We help you determine what solar products will fit and how they will look.

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Solar Sales

When you have made a decision to invest in solar, we provide the best products.

Solar Education

Empowering You with Solar Knowledge from our Experts

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