Free Solar Panels? Don’t Get Burned

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How to avoid burning a hole in your pocketbook and protect yourself from consumer scams about free solar panels.

Sunlight is one of the most widely available resources on the planet. With recent investments and advances in solar energy technology, more Americans than ever before can harness the sun’s rays and power up their homes and businesses.

Riding this historic trend, some are even claiming they can bring you in on a deal of lifetime: free solar panels.

Sound too good to be true? That is probably because it very well may be.

So what is the truth? The Department of Energy and the Solar Energy Technologies Office have got you covered!


The Department of Energy is aware of claims of offers for free solar panels or that solar companies must provide solar panels for free if requested. However, the federal government does not offer any programs for free home solar panel installations nor does the government require companies to grant solar panels for free to customers.

Additionally, be wary of attempts to collect your personal data in exchange for a price quote or to verify eligibility for services, as well as installers who are neither licensed nor certified by a reputable organization like the  North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.


Over recent years, solar energy has seen a rise in interest as more Americans learn of its immense cost-saving and carbon-cutting potential. Through our solar office, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offers several programs to help consumers lower the cost of solar projects for their homes, businesses, and communities.

Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, Americans may be eligible to receive a 30% federal tax credit if they installed or will install a solar photovoltaic system between 2022 and 2032, potentially reducing the cost of installation by more than $7,500 for an average system.

Homeowners can also finance rooftop solar projects through lease or loan arrangements and could receive additional savings on installations through subsidy programs offered by their state. For some income-qualified households, those subsidies could cover the total cost of the system — but check to see that the program is listed on a .gov website or call the state office to make sure the offer is real and to learn how to participate.

It is important to not sign any contract until you are able to make a well-informed decision. Homeowners can refer to guidance from our solar office to explore options and eligibility for programs.

In March 2023, the DOE released a collection of smart shopping tips to consider before making a final decision on a solar energy project. In addition, be sure to check out our Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar for more resources to help you make the switch to solar.

By Juaquín Robles, Courtesy of Energy.Gov

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