This is NOT how you find a reputable contractor.
The free meal for listening to their pitch is the trick at the heart of all scams. It gives the target (known as "the mark") something "free" to win the mark's confidence and trust (that's the origin of term "con game" -- con is short for confidence).
There is a huge amount of research that shows that humans are hardwired to feel more positively about people who give them a gift and to respond reciprocally, even when you know that the gift is motivated by the giver's self-interest only. That's why drug companies lavish free meals and small gifts on physicians -- even little worthless pens engender this positive gratitude response in the prescribing physician and cause physicians to write more prescriptions for the drug salesman's products.
So even though you, at some level, know that this is a come-on and that this company is NOT in the business of giving away free dinners (and that the cost of all those free dinners is rolled into the prices of whatever they're selling), it's basic human nature to let your guard down somewhat when you are enjoying a nice meal that you don't pay for at that moment. You feel more trust in the person giving the pitch. If you're human, you can't help it.
So what happens is they get people to come to the dinner, and you maybe enjoy some wine or a few beers and you find yourself getting a pitch for some contracting work (home energy systems in this case) -- and there are a lot of people who seem really excited to sign up! They're people just like you (it seems) and they all seem really enthusiastic. And the people putting on the show are just as nice as can be ...
And before you know it, you have signed a contract -- for a time share or a home improvement or whatever. They told you that these great prices were only available for those attending tonight's event, and they seemed like they were really discounted.
You don't stop to realize that you have never met most of the other people (if any) and that they may actually be working for the company who puts on the dinner (these are called "shills" -- they are there to help fool the marks and convince the marks that it's a good deal that they should get in on). "Geena R." is a shill -- you have no idea if she even exists or if she is just a stock photo. But putting a picture of a smiling person on the postcard increases response rates for the promotion.
Note the text tries to create a sense of urgency "Our dinners fill up quickly."
Note that "One of North America's Top Solar Contractors" is a completely unverifiable claim. Nor does it explain why a "top" contractor will create an "engineered solar design" for free for people who are supposedly just there to "enjoy a free meal for two in a fun and relaxed atmosphere."
Worse, this company's mailer comes from Glendale, California, and it claims to be from "your local solar and home improvement experts" -- which is odd, because it's a Washington-based company out of Olympia ... hardly "local" for those of us in Salem who received it. Most people getting this won't know how to find the company's Oregon registration so that its consumer complaint history can be checked.
The company, which has been registered as a foreign business corporation in Oregon since November 2012, has 16 complaints with the Washington Attorney General's consumer complaints database since May 2013 according to the person who spoke with me today from the WA AG's office. Oddly, the Washington State data repository only shows 14 of them -- so two may be so recent that they haven't been archived in the database yet.
You'd definitely want to investigate and read those consumer complaints before doing business with them. You can get them by making a public records request on the Washington AG's office.
Out of state contractors are especially difficult for consumers to deal with if something goes wrong. If you are interested in energy upgrades or solar energy systems for your house, you really should start at EnergyTrust.org -- that's a public service nonprofit Oregonians already pay for through our utility bills. Energy Trust is independent and doesn't sell anything. Talk to Energy Trust and get an evaluation of your situation before you talk to an energy contractor; if you have good prospects for saving or generating renewable energy at your property or home, Energy Trust will tell you that. If you would be wasting your money, Energy Trust will tell you that - and contractors won't always.
Another interesting thing about this come-on pitch below is that Oregon's Residential Energy Tax Credits just expired -- meaning that these systems just got a lot more costly for Oregon homeowners to buy.
A good rule of life is to never accept a "free" meal from a corporate stranger. It generally only ends in tears and debt, and sometimes in the loss of your home (when they convince you to refinance the home to pay for the "improvements").