California Passes Consumer Protection Law To Safeguard Solar Customers

California takes steps to reform existing law for better consumer protection after regular reports of certain solar companies misleading consumers.

California homeowners now enjoy new rights under a new law championed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The intent of the bill, Assembly Bill 1070, is to protect consumers looking to invest in solar power while discouraging unethical practices in the solar sector.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said:

Homeowners will have more confidence when they shop for rooftop solar energy because of this new consumer protection. As more Californians look toward residential solar energy systems to cut their monthly bills and do their part in fighting climate change, we should make sure homeowners are protected from being gouged by unscrupulous actors.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez introduced AB 1070 in 2016 at the height of the solar market, when there were 765 companies in San Diego alone that year. However, the number of companies doing solar has decreased, the solar industry remains very saturated, especially in San Diego where electricity rates are often one of the highest in the nation and there are regular reports of certain solar companies misleading consumers.

The intent of the Assembly Bill 1070, is to protect consumers looking to invest in solar power

AB 1070 directed the California State License Board (CSLB) to create a one-page disclosure to accompany every solar power system contract. Assemblywoman Gonzalez pushed for the disclosure to be available in multiple languages, arguing all Californians should be offered important documents in their native languages.

The law also makes the Department of Consumer Affairs responsible for resolving complaints against solar companies and for overseeing residential rooftop solar energy providers so that a process is in place to resolve consumer disputes for the solar industry.

Another consumer protection reform taking effect later in 2019 will require solar companies to upload a signed contract as part of the interconnection application for residential customers and require utilities to validate their CSLB license with each application. The CSLB website offers a search feature that makes it easy for potential solar customers to verify a solar company’s license.

Many local homeowners continue to express interest in solar but are unsure who to trust. This is why a company like Sullivan Solar Power has teamed up with dozens of nonprofits including Climate Action Campaign, Sierra Club San Diego, SanDiego350, Surfrider Foundation San Diego, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 569, to inform customers how solar and energy storage works, the sun setting federal tax credit, solar financing options, upcoming San Diego Gas & Electric rate changes and more.

Picture credit: Sullivan Solar Power

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