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The Heat Is On With Door-To-Door Solar Solicitors

How To Deal With A Door-To-Door Solar Sales Pitch

Picture this: You have come home from a busy day and have finally settled into the recliner for a little nap before dinner when the doorbell rings. Despite the “No Soliciting” sign clearly visible next to the doorbell, or even on the door, you open that door to find people wanting to sell you a solar array.

You can either point out the sign they willfully ignored and shoo them away or listen to their pitch. If you listen to their pitch, listen very carefully, ask questions, and don’t sign anything!

Most importantly, don’t let any previously unknown person into your house whom you did not invite. If you are not comfortable opening the door, tell them to leave a card under the doormat or in the door and look at it later. Always check the name with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) before asking them to come back.

If you feel threatened by a salesperson, shut the door, lock it, and call the police. Then file a complaint with the ROC at

Questions to Ask Door-to-Door Salespeople

Gone are the days of the Fuller Brush, Kirby vacuum, and other Willy Loman-esque door-to-door salesman. Today’s door-to-door salespeople are lead farmers.

When they come to the door, there are two questions to ask right off the bat:

1 | May I have your business card and contact information?

Then verify with the company that the salesperson is an employee. If they don’t have a card or contact information, tell them to move along.

2 | May I see a copy of your sales permit (peddler’s license)?

Many municipalities require a special soliciting permit for companies selling door-to-door. While having the appropriate permit does not guarantee the company can be trusted, it does let you know they have taken the steps for a required permit.

If you want to listen to their pitch, then you must ask these 7 questions:

1 | How long has the company been in business?

Longevity matters. Look for companies that have been around for a while. Because the solar panels have a warranty of 25-30 years, you want the investment. The Rosie-Certified Partner solar experts tell us they hear from many homeowners who had solar installed and no longer have a solar company to call for service. The companies they used are out of business.

2 | Are you locally or Arizona-owned?

You don’t want to be dealing with a company that’s 2,500 miles away when you have a problem. With a local contractor, you can get a feel for their reputation in the community and possibly see their work. A local contractor knows the construction in your area including permitting requirements. Plus, more of your money stays in the local community.

3 | Who is doing the installation?

Most door-to-door people are sales and marketing. Because they are not installing, they may not know, be educated in solar, or even represent an Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) licensed entity. They are just gathering a lead and brokering the deal that is handed over to a third party.

Kyle Ritland, Sun Valley Solar, a Rosie-Certified Partner highly recommends buying the system directly from a company who will install and service it. Make sure they are backing it and will be there long-term. Third party sales teams are not accountable for the system. They can say whatever they want up front because they are not responsible for installing and servicing. They over-promise what the system can actually do and then the customers’ expectations are out of alignment. You need to know where the accountability lies.

4 | What are the name brands and efficiency of the panels?

Not all solar panels are created equal. Some are more durable with higher efficiencies and less degradation over the lifetime of the panel. Others are cheaper and will wear out quicker than investing in a nicer panel.

5 | What are the numbers?

These folks tend to sell a monthly payment price. As long as your utility bill is lower each month, that’s all that matters, right? WRONG! You still have to pay for the panels.

What is the upfront cost for installation and what are the equipment payments? What is the difference between leasing and financing? There is no such thing as a “free solar system” or “no-cost solar.”

Ritland says customers should look at the kilowatt hour (kWh) cost , not the monthly payment. There can be a lot of hidden costs in the numbers if you are not paying attention. Ask them to show you the financing numbers and escalator rate. When, how often, and how much will the interest rate increase? How quickly will the system pay for itself in the utility savings?

6 | Who is responsible for the roof?

The roof condition is extremely important. A professional, licensed roofer should inspect your roof before you sign a contract. The roof must be able handle the load of the panels. If the roof is repaired after the solar is installed, all panels will need to be removed and reinstalled, which is another cost. Some companies, like Sun Valley Solar, have a roofing division because of that issue. If you do not install a new roof or make recommended repairs, you may be required to sign a waiver.

7 | Can the roof cost be factored into a tax rebate?

Listen to what the salesperson says, and then ask your accountant to verify. The contract’s terminology can be vague.

Questions To Ask Yourself

If you are considering solar, ask yourself these questions before making a commitment.

1 | Do I own the home?

Renters can save energy and reduce their electric bills with solar equipment, but unless the landlord is willing to pay for it, you’re unlikely to get a return on your investment.

2 | Does the roof face south?

Photovoltaic panels are most effective facing south. You can install them on east-west-facing roofs, but they’re more obvious, produce less electricity, and might not qualify for the same utility rebates as south-facing panels.

3 | Does my HOA allow solar panels?

If they do, what are their requirements or restrictions?

4 | How old is my home?

If it was built before the 1920s, the roof might not be strong enough to support the weight of the panels. You can reinforce your roof, but it will bump up the price of the installation considerably. The good news: The federal tax credit may cover some of the cost of upgrading the roof.

5 | Can I afford it?

Some companies rent solar panels, starting as low as $110 a month as a lease. The leasing company takes the tax credit and utility rebate, but the homeowner enjoys the reduced energy costs.

Is your income high enough to claim federal and state tax credits? If not, leasing might be an option. Note that leases can be a problem when it comes to selling the house.

Cooling Off

Per the Arizona Attorney General, Arizona law provides a three-day “cooling off” period that allows consumers to cancel certain contracts within three days of signing them. This is especially important for those who may have felt pressured or misled by a salesperson.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Cooling-Off Rule (16 C.F.R. 429) also provides some protections. The Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more for certain home solicitations. Under the Cooling-Off Rule, your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. See their section on the Three-Day Right of Cancellation for more information.

A lot of home improvement and service companies jumped into the solar business. Make sure you hire a reputable company specializing in solar who is appropriately licensed by the ROC. Do you want an alarm company, painter, or pool service company to install solar on your house? No, you don’t.

Find more information on hiring contractors with our How To Hire A Contractor Consumer Guide.



Arizona Registrar Of Contractors President Jeff Fleetham implores be extra careful of door to door scam artists offering repair services that take your money and run. Ask questions before you sign a contract, using a licensed contractor, and checking the Registrar’s website for that information. Rosie discusses the most popular things people are splurging on for their remodeling project.

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