The claim: The government is giving people $8,400 to test solar panels
Amid increased gas prices and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which expanded clean energy subsidies, the economic feasibility of renewable energy continues to be a talking point in this year’s midterm elections and on social media.
An Aug. 21 Facebook video claims the government is handing out $8,400 to people to test solar panels.
“DO YOU WANT $8,400 FROM THE GOVERNMENT?" reads part of the post's caption. "Get a check in the mail for $8,400 for testing out solar panels. I got to keep mine too!”
The video received more than 700,000 views in less than two months.
The video attached to the post does not offer any evidence of the supposed government program, however.
That’s because the claim is false. Several government agencies told USA TODAY there is no such program. Although the caption claims the government is offering money, the document in the video shows the logo of a company called Ask Solar. Nothing on Ask Solar’s website says it offers $8,400 to customers to test solar panels.
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USA TODAY reached out to the user who made the claim for comment.
Multiple government agencies confirm no such program exists
Officials from the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture told USA TODAY their respective agencies do not offer a program matching the one described in the video.
“DOE does not have a program that gives $8,400 checks to homeowners to install solar panels,” said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the Department of Energy.
Although the government is not handing out checks to test out solar technology, several federal agencies offer other forms of financial assistance to qualified groups of people that can be used to help them transition to renewable energy sources.
For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program gives grants to communities to improve housing and living environments. The funds can be used for solar installations, but also for improving sidewalks and streets, preparing sites for construction and other non-energy related projects.
The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America program provides loans and grants to rural small businesses and agricultural producers to purchase "renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements."
People who install solar systems to their homes can also receive a tax credit on their federal income taxes, according to the Department of Energy's website. For systems installed between 2022 and 2032, the tax credit is 30% of the cost of installation.
But that money doesn’t come in the form of a check or cash. Instead, the percentage of the cost paid to install the solar system is subtracted from the amount a person owes in federal income taxes.
No evidence company shown in video issues $8,400 checks
The video shows a check for $8,400 with the logo of the company Ask Solar on it. The company provides consulting services for people considering different solar energy options, according to its website.
There is no information on the company’s website indicating it gives people checks for $8,400. Sarah de Diego, a spokesperson for Ask Solar, said the company’s logo was used without permission.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the government is giving people $8,400 to test out solar panels. Several government agencies confirmed to USA TODAY no such program exists, and there is no evidence the company shown in the video sends checks to people.
Our fact-check sources:
Department of Agriculture spokesperson, Sept. 27, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesperson, Sept. 27, Email interview
Becca Jones-Albertus, Sept. 26, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Sarah de Diego, Sept. 27, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Energy Information Administration, U.S. All Grades All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices
National Archives, accessed Oct. 3, § 570.703 Eligible activities
Department of Housing and Urban Development, accessed Oct. 3, Community Development Block Grant Program
Department of Agriculture, accessed Oct. 3, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants
Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, accessed Oct. 3, Energy-Related Federal Financial Assistance Programs
Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, accessed Oct. 3, Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics
Ask Solar, accessed Oct. 3, About Us
PolitiFact, Sept. 9, Facebook post falsely claims feds are subsidizing solar panel installation
AFP Fact Check, Aug. 11, Solar 'stimulus' offers mislead Facebook users
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Post touts fake government solar program