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Private Companies Offer Free Rooftop Solar Panel Installations

By Rob Hull on August 17, 2010

Many things in life are usually too good to be true and when someone offers something for nothing, there is normally a catch involved.

On this basis, companies such as Isis Solar, HomeSun and A Shade Greener may have a hard time convincing the general public that their business models are above board.

The firms are offering to install solar panels worth around £15,000 on homes at absolutely no cost to the homeowner; furthermore, households will benefit from onsite-generated electricity for the 25 years following installation.

By anybody’s standards, such a deal is the equivalent of something for nothing (save the odd cup of tea and mild inconvenience when the installers turn up).

The solar panel fitters aim to take advantage of the previous administration’s Feed-in-Tariffs, which provide cash for green energy exported to the National Grid.

In return for agreeing to house the solar panels for a 25-year period – the duration of time applicable to the Feed-in Tariffs – homeowners can use the electricity generated by the photovoltaic cells on their rooftops during the day.

HomeSun’s Bill Sneyd believes that most customers would save around 30 per cent on their existing electricity bills.

The solar firms will also maintain the solar panels over the 25-year agreement, which applies to the home and not the homeowner, whilst insuring the cells against theft, damage or vandalism.

After the 25-year period ends, customers would not receive any Feed-in Tariffs but it should still be possible to generate electricity for use in the home or to be exported back to the grid.

Not all homes in Britain will be able to avail of the solar panel incentive; HomeSun is only interested in houses as far north inland as Nottingham and Hull and Liverpool on the coasts.

Homes must also have sufficient roof space – around 30 square metres – that is south-facing, unshaded and pitched at 40 degrees or thereabouts. Solar Guide’s easy-to-use Solar PV Feed-in Tariff Calculator will show you exactly how many panels you can fit on your roof and the finacial benefits from the Feed-in Tariff that you would receive.

HomeSun install smaller systems for £500 at a monthly charge of £5 per month, which represents the loss of Feed-in Tariff income.

In return for spending £11,000-£16,000 on each household excluding maintenance, repairs, etc., the solar panel firms could net up to £1,450 per year per household over the duration of the deal.