Solar Industry Association Apologies to Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Solar Industry Association Apologies to Dr. Julianne Malveaux

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Acclaimed economist, author, and progressive leader, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, recently received an apology from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for their recent attempts at bullying and harassment.

In a recent article to BlackPressUSA entitled “Why Isn’t President Trump Tweeting About the Solar Panel Industry?” Dr. Malveaux raised concerns about bad actors using predatory tactics to coerce people to purchase an install roof top solar panels on their homes. Referencing a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signed by Congressmen Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) urging the agency to look in to bad actors in the rooftop solar industry, Malveaux said “What concerns me, and those three Democratic Congressmen, are the shady operators that mislead potential customers about the cost saving benefits of installing those panels.” She then echoed the sentiments of the letter, laying out three principle concerns: “new customers may be unaware that the panels can cost upwards of $15,000 and that they will have to pay that money back…salespeople sometimes [inaccurately] tell customers that they will save a lot of money on their utility bill, because the price of electricity from utility companies is going up…[and] many of these solar panel sales pitches include promises of “no money down” and other high-pressure sales tactics.”

Dr. Malveaux’s article ended by praising the solar industry for contributing 200,000 new jobs to the American economy each year, and she urged President Trump and the CFPB to weed out the bad actors so that the industry could flourish. For its part, SEIA took issue with some of Dr. Malveux’s characterizations and decided to publish a counter article, Solar Energy Trade Group Responds to Dr. Malveuax’s Latest Column.  In it, the organization said it wanted to “set the record straight” by explaining that “consumer protection is a top priority,” and listing steps it has taken in the past to combat questionable conduct on the part of solar installers. Beyond the op-ed, however, SEIA made Malveaux “the target of an intimidation campaign” which apparently found its agents repeatedly reaching out to Dr. Malveaux and her staff suggesting that she speak with their general counsel for making allegedly libelous statements.

After Malveaux published another article describing SEIA tactics, the organization came forth to issue an apology: “The Solar Energy Industries Association and its leadership is writing to apologize to the journalist Julianne Malveaux,” it said. “We have the utmost respect for journalists and for Dr. Malveaux’s right and responsibility to call things as she sees them, and we fully expect her and encourage her to continue to do so, even if we disagree.”

 

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