Free solar panels (or ‘Rent a Roof’ as they are commonly referred to) are available from many companies in the solar panel marketplace. They offer free electricity from solar panels which they will provide and install for free. However this may sound too good to be true…
Let’s compare free solar panels Vs paid solar panels then.
Free Solar Panels Pro’s.
- The first one is rather obvious. They are installed and maintained for free!
- You receive free electricity for the life of the solar PV array. (usually 20 – 25 years).
- Usually all product and public insurance for the solar panel system is covered.
Free Solar Panels Cons.
You must meet certain criteria in order to take part in the ‘rent a roof’ scheme.:
- Roofs usually need to be south facing or within 55 degrees either side of due south. This is to guarantee that the installation company benefits from the maximum amount of electricity produced by your solar panels. Such companies cannot afford to fit on roofs where the optimum level of performance can’t be reached. As discussed previously, west facing roofs may actually be far better suited for your free electricity requirements. (See Is my roof suitable for solar panels for further details).
- Companies won’t fit systems on roofs that are over shadowed by any objects such as trees or neighbouring chimney stacks. Again Coretech should be able to carefully designed a system to help alleviate any problems from shading.
- There also has to be sufficient uninterrupted space for their panels; usually around 24sq meters. Needless to say Coretech aren’t constrained by such criteria!
- The leases of some ‘Rent a Roof’ schemes do not comply with the Council of Mortgage Lenders Guidelines. This could cause problems, especially if you wish to move home in the future.
- Not all areas of the UK are covered.
- If you don’t use all of the electricity generated it is fed back to the grid, benefiting the free solar panel companies. Coretech Solar can provide you with battery storage options, unlike free installation companies.
- Some contracts with free solar panel companies stipulate that the householder would have to get consent during the term of the lease ( of the rent of your roof) if they wanted to sell their house or make any alterations or additions to the building near the solar PV system. This clause would apply to a loft conversion.
- If you need the panels to be removed for a period, for example to do maintenance work on the roof, you may have to compensate the company for the missed Feed-in Tariff payments.
- Last, but certainly not least, you will not receive payments from the lucrative ‘Feed In Tariff’ scheme. These are taken by the free solar panel companies. Indeed this is the reason why such companies exist; it certainly isn’t for altruistic reasons! Predictably, the rent-a-roof companies stand to benefit far more from the arrangement than householders. Consumers could save thousands of pounds over the next 25 years by buying their own solar PV system from Coretech Solar instead of signing up to a scheme offering ‘free’ solar panels.
If you are still unsure about Free Solar Panels Vs Paid Solar Panels, you may also wish to view the Renewable Energy Consumer Code’s guide to free solar PV.