Monday, July 4, 2022


July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.


The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Experts Urge Kentuckians to Watch Out for Solar Scams


Tuesday, February 15, 2022   

Out-of-state solar companies are using aggressive marketing tactics in Kentucky to lure potential customers, and experts say anyone interested in having solar panels installed should do their homework.

People should never end up with solar panels installed in the shade, for instance, or with overpriced systems lacking basic safety requirements or proper permits.

Rachel Norton, energy specialist for the Mountain Association, said one major red flag is an installer who promises a government check or offers to lower their price based on a federal tax credit.

"And you're never going to receive that federal tax credit as a check. That operates differently. You shouldn't be expecting to receive a check in the mail," Norton explained. "Anything that seems strange around how you may receive money in the form of your tax credit, that's shady."

She pointed to the Kentucky Solar Energy Society's website as a good resource. The Mountain Association also provides business owners, local governments, and nonprofits with third-party energy audits, which can help determine which energy changes could save the most money.

Ben Tatum, owner of Appalachian Energy Works, a solar installer and energy efficiency company, encouraged people to avoid any business providing an estimate without visiting the property in person.

"I would want to make sure that someone actually visits me onsite before I ever sign a contract or do a deal," Tatum advised. "Because there's so many more things they can figure out onsite."

Norton added public education about solar power is critical to ensuring panels are installed at a fair price by reputable installers, and the buyer receives realistic savings estimates.

"It really hinders a lot of the things that we've worked on," Norton pointed out. "Like creating this community and ecosystem around how powerful energy efficacy and clean energy and renewables can be, for Kentucky and specifically, the Appalachian region."

People also can report questionable bids or suspicious activity to law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau.

Disclosure: The Mountain Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Environment, Philanthropy, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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