The danger of not staying on the forefront of consumer protection is potentially large from a legal perspective as companies and the renewable energy industry continue growing exponentially. The huge amount of potential growth for this industry, that still only occupies approximately 1% the electricity market, is parallel to the size of its potential growing legal risks.
All companies should be working with counsel to ensure that they do not violate local, state and federal laws designed to prevent businesses from engaging in fraud or specified unfair business practices to gain an advantage over competitors. Consumer protection laws relate to everything from the contents of marketing materials, to written and verbal representations made by salespeople, to the terms of agreements for the sale and installation of products, to certain required disclosures, when applicable, and more.
Most of the preventative efforts involved in ensuring that companies are complying with applicable consumer protection laws require hiring counsel to assist with a legal review of a company’s business practices. Some free material is out there too, such as SEIA’s recently released Solar Lease Disclosure Statement and its previously released Solar Business Code. Thatsaid, these do not take the place of hiring counsel to perform a thorough legal review of a company’s business practices, policies, and legal documents, which can save companies from enormous distraction and financial drain when claims are made.