Consumer Reports is a reputable publication that prides itself on informing its readers and empowering consumers through education. At Brightergy, we also believe in those principles.
The October issue of Consumer Reports contains an article on rising scams and fraud in multiple industries – including solar energy. We encourage you to read the report and consider what the magazine has to say before making the decision to purchase solar.
Brightergy is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group dedicated to advancing the solar industry. Brightergy subscribes to the organization’s code of ethics, and we do not practice or condone the kind of behavior described in the article. And neither does SEIA. The association’s President and CEO, Rhone Resch penned the letter below (reprinted with permission) in response to the Consumer Reports article.
We encourage you to educate yourself about how solar works and properly vet solar companies before choosing to install with them. Are they members of SEIA? Do they adhere to the SEIA code of ethics? And if you do choose to install solar with Brightergy, we will work with you to make sure you are equipped with the system and financing that make the most sense for you and your building.
Solar Working for America Today
To the editors,
As president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), I was disappointed to read how our industry was characterized in the October 2012 issue of Consumer Reports. We take compliance with ethical codes of conduct very seriously. All SEIA member companies (our directory is available to the public) must sign a code of ethical conduct (attached) and we have a standing ethics committee that tackles ongoing issues in this arena. Were SEIA to learn of wrongdoing by a solar company, we would not hesitate to expel them from our association and notify the proper authorities. Yet, this is something we have encountered extremely rarely, hence my consternation over money-saving solar energy being listed alongside phishing as a ‘scam’ in your latest issue.
Today, solar is working across the nation, producing enough electricity to power nearly a million American homes. Also, there are tens of thousands of solar water heating systems. The industry employs 100,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states. Over the last year, the industry grew by over 100 percent. Solar energy costs have indeed dropped dramatically, making solar an affordable and money-saving option to many American homes and businesses. Third-party ownership and solar leasing agreements, used in 70% of residential installations for some areas, allow homeowners to go solar with no upfront costs, while saving 10 to 20% on their energy bills. Walmart, Walgreens, IKEA, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Safeway, Target are just some of the companies that have embraced solar energy because it lowers their power bills.
That’s not a scam.
The reputation of an industry should not be besmirched due to supposed unethical acts of a handful of bad players. I encourage Consumer Reports to take a substantive look at the wide range of benefits that solar delivers to consumers, companies, governmental agencies, schools, hospitals, churches, and individuals before using its widely-read and respected voice to damage a growing part of our economy.
President / CEO
Solar Energy Industries Association