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SWEPCO addresses misrepresentations amid rise in residential solar panel interest

SWEPCO supports solar energy but increasingly hears from customers with misconceptions about the cost and process to install solar panels at their home. There are many factors that determine if a solar system will make sense for a customer, and SWEPCO encourages residents to educate themselves before making an investment.

Recently, SWEPCO learned of solar companies mispresenting SWEPCO’s role related to residential solar. For instance, a 2022 social media campaign falsely claimed “SWEPCO needs Fayetteville locals to switch to solar,” with additional misleading statements that “SWEPCO is paying Fayetteville residents to switch to solar.” SWEPCO customers also are being approached by solar companies using digital meter installations to solicit their services. SWEPCO does not sell solar panels and will not engage in door-to-door solicitation.

For those considering solar, SWEPCO wants you to consider these things:

  • Should you lease or buy?
    1. When you lease a solar panel system, you can use the power it produces, but a third party owns it. You then pay that company to lease the equipment.
    2. When you purchase a system, you pay up front to install and own the panels or finance the purchase and pay the costs of the equipment plus interest over time (typically 7-25 years).
    3. You’re also responsible for maintenance and repairs.
  • You’ll still get an electric bill.
  • Typically, solar panels are a supplement to your electric service with SWEPCO. A solar system cannot operate independently of the electric grid unless it’s specifically designed to provide back-up power.
  • When there is limited or no sunlight, you’ll need to be connected to the electric grid to power your home.
  • Most solar panels automatically shut off during a power outage for safety reasons, so during a daytime service interruption, solar panels may not power your home.
  • Staying connected to the electric grid is necessary if you want to be compensated for the excess energy your solar panels generate that your home doesn’t immediately use. Keep in mind that the compensation rate is subject to change.
  • You need to ask questions before you make the investment. Some suggestions include:
  • How long has the company selling solar been in business, and how many solar installations have they done?
  • Do they use subcontractors, or do they work themselves?
  • Are they bonded and insured and licensed to do business in your state?
  • What warranties apply on the equipment? Labor?
  • Who is responsible for permits and tests?
  • Who do I call for maintenance if I need it?
  • How much does it cost to take the solar panels off if I have roof problems?
  • What other pieces of equipment are necessary for the system to work besides panels and inverters? What is the warranty of the other equipment?
  • You can go to swepco.com/solarcalculator to calculate your Return On Investment (ROI)

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