Solar power is generally a good thing, but that doesn’t mean some less-than-good attributes can’t go along for the ride – like false marketing.
That’s what Vermont’s attorney general is claiming, anyway, as the online news site vtdigger reports:
The AG’s office has targeted companies that sell or lease in-state solar panels to Vermont customers, and then sell the renewable energy they produce to out-of-state utilities. Under a new guidance letter issued last week, the AG’s office says these businesses cannot claim that their Vermont customers are buying solar power. Companies that do so violate federal consumer fraud laws, according to the letter from Assistant Attorney General Justin Kolber.
Kolber’s letter does not name any offenders, but he cites examples of deceptive marketing claims from SunCommon and NRG representatives. Kolber said the state will seek civil penalties against renewable energy producers that falsely claim to sell “renewable,” or “solar” or even “clean” energy to Vermonters.
Kevin Jones, deputy director at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, said most Vermonters don’t understand that when a solar panel’s renewable energy credits (RECs) are sold, the owner of that solar panel no longer draws renewable energy from it for their own use.
It’s a further indicate that, as I reported earlier this week in a story about a non-controversial solar farm here in New Hampshire, complex finance has become as important to solar power as complex technology.