Letter: Cost to Be Green

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Letter to the Editor

I am one of many locals who have been deluged with the many opportunities to put solar on my roof and save money. 

Warning: the sales pitch was great, but the reality is far different. I had two bids. The best came from the California-based Solar City. They promised me hundreds of dollars in savings and quick installation, with no fees or costs, if I wanted. 

Well, I caution my fellow Malibu residents: beware of salesmen baring gifts of cash and savings. First, the evaluation and installation process took more than six months. And, before I even had the chance to consider things, they had run my credit, giving me one more ding on my report. They had the paperwork ready to go, with no deposits and no money up front. But “oops,” forgot to tell you about the fees.

Fees for credit check, fees for permits, fees for closing the loan, and when the interest rate closed, it was not what they promised. But little did I know, as soon as I signed those papers, the company got a huge federal and state tax credit. And I have since found out they take these tax credits to the bank and pump up their stock price and use it to loan more money from the big banks. 

It is certainly a noble idea to try and get us off fossil fuels, but at what real cost to residents and to communities that cannot afford to pay for solar? More work needs to be done before we jump on this bandwagon.

John Malcolm