New Tool Helps Residential Consumers Understand Transactions for Rooftop Solar Energy Systems

By New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas
AG Balderas is seeking comments from the public, consumer protection advocates and industry representatives.
As a component of his consumer protection initiatives, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has released a draft of a powerful tool aimed at helping New Mexico consumers better understand purchasing solar power systems for their homes: Distributed Generation Disclosure Statement.

During the 2017 Legislative Session, a bill was passed to ensure homeowners who sought to putsolar on their roof-tops would have all the information they would need to make an informed financial decision. That bill requires the Attorney General to publish a form on which merchants will disclose the information required by the statute. Due to the importance of solar energy in New Mexico’s economy, Attorney General Balderas is seeking comments on the proposed draft form before a final version is published at the end of the year.
The minimal disclosures contained in the Distributed Generation Disclosure Statement will help consumers across the state to understand their solar power system purchase, lease, or power purchase agreement. The form mandates at the time of any agreement governing the financing,sale, or lease of any solar power system that the seller, leaser, or marketer must provide the agreement’s key terms. Key terms include:
1. The total price of the system and the total amount the consumer will pay;
2. Any one-time or reoccurring fees;
3. A description of any performance guarantees;
4. The estimated cost of electricity produced by a solar energy system over its lifetime,
5. Ownership or transferability of any of the solar power system’s tax credits, rebates or incentives;
6. Mandating the seller or marketer provide a copy of any security interests or financial statements filed in the buyer’s or lessee’s real property records; and

7. The consumer’s right to rescind the contract for three business days

The Attorney General is releasing the draft Distributed Generation Disclosure Statement today, which is also published in the New Mexico Register, to allow for comments and continued collaboration with the solar, energy, and housing industries as well as consumer groups, regulators, and others with an interest in ensuring consumer protections. Comments are due no later than December 13, 2017.

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