Don't Get Hooked: Solar Savings

The desire to go green is often driven by a desire to save green. But make sure the claims are backed up by the performance.

Some words of warning from the Better Business Bureau to help make sure that you don't get hooked by energy saving hype.

The BBB says more and more businesses are popping up and riding the green wave, but that not all of them are delivering on promises of big energy savings.

Electric cars are supposed to save you money on gas. And solar panels are supposed to save you money on your electricity bill. But as the Arkansas Better Business Bureau gets more inquiries about solar savings, the savings don't always live up to the hype.

"Couple of things that we're seeing...savings are not as big as what was promised to the consumer," says Mike Rohrer with the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. " of the biggest things is the electric company...they have a metering process to net that energy out and it doesn't quite match the equipment...let's put it that way."

Before you buy solar panels for your home or business, the BBB suggests you talk to your electric company, learn about potential tax credits, research companies by checking the BBB's web site, and check with people who had the panels installed over a year ago and see what they have to say about energy savings.

"Seeing the return on might take a little bit longer than people are wanting to," cautions Rohrer. "Consumers are wanting to get on the bandwagon. They're wanting to see that very big savings...cutting the electric bill in half. And sometimes it doesn't happen that way."

If you are installing solar panels for environmental reasons rather than financial reasons, then claims of big savings probably won't be as important to you. But still.... do your homework.

Air date: May 9th, 2013