Solar Scams on the rise - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Solar Scams on the rise


These wind and solar panels are now an expensive eye sore on

Charles Bohmfalk's roof. A year ago he paid more than $7,000 to have them installed.

His contractor promised the system would eventually "pay for

itself" by saving Charles one thousand dollars a year on his

electric bills, but in reality:

"We have not saved one penny," said Charles Bohmfalk, a solar scam victim.

Charles says the system has not generated one single kilowatt

of electricity. And now the contractor won't return his calls,

emails or complaints he's filed.

"It's been worthless," said Bohmfalk.

Charles is one of several hundred people who complained to the

Better Business Bureau in 2010-saying they were victims of solar


The BBB says complaints are on the rise.

"I think it's horrible that contractors take advantage of people that are trying to do good by their environment by going green," said Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau.

Solar Systems can be expensive! BBB complaints we obtained show homeowners paid between $6000 to $60,000 to go green and were ripped off!

"It has a devastating effect on the family who works hard for their money and they think they're doing something good," said Fleming.

The Solar Energy Industries Association says these growing scams are giving going green a bad rap and there are good installers out there. It recommends you use a contractor who is:

licensed in (your state), belongs to a national solar energy professional association

and like with any contractor check references, complaints and get three estimates

Also, if your energy bills are less than one hundred dollars a month, up front solar system installation costs may not be worth it.

"We encourage people to look at it, look at the initial cost and the long lasting cost and decide if its right for you home your lifestyle and your finances," said Fleming.

To check out legit rebate programs for solar installation, click here:

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