Three years ago the Parlier Vecinos Unidos® Chapter families began discussing issues they had with solar panels installed on their homes. Homeowners were being charged fees for contracts to loans they never signed. In some cases the newly installed solar panels were not completely functional. The Parlier Vecinos Unidos® Chapter started a Solar Fraud Committee with seventeen families who came together to expose these consumer issues. They were not fully informed by solar contractors who took advantage of these homeowners and signed them up to state PACE/HERO loans that they didn’t know about.
Hundreds of families all over Fresno County were affected by these practices. Families affected continued to join the Vecinos Unidos® Solar Fraud Committee. Vecinos Unidos® members came together to host house meetings and invited community members to join them in bringing justice to this issue. The Parlier Vecinos drafted a plan to support families and organized to file formal complaints with state agencies including the Contractors State License Board, California Attorney General’s office, the Fresno’s District Attorney’s Office, and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
In response to the community efforts, the CPUC created a Solar Fraud Taskforce to address these issues and is working toward ensuring consumer protections. So far nine families have had their loans adjusted and had their solar panels properly connected for use. The CPUC also created a solar guide to help families. The CPUC recommends that solar providers give out this guide during their first contact with potential customers https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/solarguide. Affected families are encouraged to report their issues with the Contractors State License Board: (800) 321-2752 or at www.cslb.ca.gov.