Thursday, March 23, 2023


A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.


The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

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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