Congressional Reps Want Investigation into Possible Solar Leasing Deceptions

Dec 18, 2014

A bipartisan group of Arizona Congressional representatives is calling on two federal agencies to look into rooftop solar system leasing. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the representatives say the industry may be using deceptive marketing techniques.

Workers installing solar panels on a Cave Creek home.
Credit Michael Schennum/The Republic

According to the representatives, companies may be overstating the financial benefits of leasing rooftop solar systems. They say those companies might also be downplaying the risks of entering into agreements that can last more than 20 years. In some cases, these agreements can diminish a homeowner’s ability to sell a house.

The representatives believe some companies are profiting from collecting the federal Investment Tax Credit and other state renewable subsidies.

Last month, Democrats, including District One representative Ann Kirkpatrick, wrote a letter to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expressing their concerns about solar energy system leasing. And this week, Republicans, including the Fourth District’s Paul Gosar, addressed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on the subject.

In the letters, the representatives ask the federal agencies to look into the solar industry’s practices. They want increased transparency in the low or zero money down lease agreements that represent more than 80 percent of Arizona’s current solar market.