Very important story reminding us that contracting schemes to strip equity out of homes don't really change much over time -- the product (otherwise known as "the bait") changes, so instead of aluminum siding, now it's home solar systems. But the underlying deal is always the same -- the scammers target poorer and minority dominated neighborhoods and promise something too good to be true, and wind up selling you a system you can't afford that's secured by your house. Meaning you can lose your house and all your equity (the part of your house that you own rather than the bank owns).
It's perfectly fine to weatherize your home, install insulated windows, and maybe even install solar panels or solar hot water systems (I have both, for example).
But NEVER deal with a contractor who calls you up or shows up on your door uninvited.
If you live in Oregon and think you might benefit from home energy improvements or weatherization, call the ENERGY TRUST OF OREGON (https://www.energytrust.org/) first. Have an ETO approved consultant assess your home and the opportunities to save energy or even generate some.
I Tried to Make My Home Energy Efficient and It's Ruining My Life
McBean, like many who regret getting involved with PACE, is elderly. A highly publicized case in Los Angeles featured Ossie Hill, an 86-year-old with dementia subsisting on less than $1,000 a month who was pushed into financing 19 vinyl windows, exterior remodeling, and a patio cover. After interest and fees, the bill came to $5,471.03 a year for 20 years, nearly half of Hill’s annual income. A collection of 29 case studies assembled by the National Consumer Law Center included similar horror stories, such as the tale of a 95 year-old Tuskegee airman and his legally deaf and blind wife, who were sold $42,800 in projects. The contractor later sued the couple after they refused to sign completion papers authorizing his payment, alleging bad workmanship.