The Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection is charged with investigating and stopping Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (PDF) . The agency regulates all advertising and telemarketing within the United States, which also extends to how solar developers advertise their systems.
Codes such as the National Electric Code, International Residential Code, International Fire Code, and Interconnection Standards provide a base level of safety to consumers. These codes minimize the technical risks of participating in the solar market.
In South Carolina, the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC) approves various components of solar programs for investor-owned electric utilities, including Dominion Energy South Carolina, Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Lockhart Power Company.
Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are principally self-governing bodies that do not come under the jurisdiction of the PSC or the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) with regard to solar programs. For more information about municipal utilities, contact the Municipal Association of South Carolina, and for more information about electric cooperatives, contact the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.
The South Carolina Energy Freedom Act (Act 62) directed the ORS to develop consumer protection regulations for the leasing of renewable energy generation facilities. Act 62 also directed the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs to develop consumer protection regulations for the sale of renewable energy generation facilities.
SC Department of Consumer Affairs
Disputes related to solar sales are regulated by the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA).
Marketing Pamphlet (PDF) - This pamphlet explains the rights and responsibilities of consumers who are marketed renewable energy facilities, including solar.
Standard Disclosure (PDF) - The standard disclosure is used in the sale or lease of renewable energy facilities, including solar.
The ORS licenses lessors and handles consumer complaints related to solar leases. On May 28, 2021, new solar leasing consumer protection regulations went into effect and were published in the State Register. These regulations help to protect consumers by requiring leasing company to provide appropriate disclosures and by creating a formal process to resolve complaints.