Nowadays, it is very difficult to find companies still involved in the free solar panels scheme in the UK. This scheme was very popular in the past, where the payments from the Feed in Tariff were very attractive, and companies made the most of this by offering free solar panels to homeowners in return for their roof space.
All a homeowner had to do was to find a company that offered to fit panels worth about £7,000-£15,000 for free. With free panels came free electricity, and savings of up to £125ish on electricity per year. If you set your appliances to use the most of energy during day-times, this sum was even higher.
However, as the Feed in Tariff has had many cuts to the tariff rates over the years, this has become a far less viable option for businesses and therefore not many offer this anymore. The Feed in Tariff is coming to an end on 31 March 2019, but if you are still interested in using this renewable energy source for your home, you can still benefit from the FIT payments if you act fast enough. By submitting your application to a FIT-licensee in time, you could still be approved for the government scheme and receive payments over the next 20 years.
Applications for Solar PV Feed in Tariff Close in March
Read our guide on how you can still benefit from the solar PV Feed in Tariff before it ends in March 2019.
Who Can Get This?
It is important to note, that there are not many companies offering free solar panels. You can count trusted companies based in UK on the fingers of one hand, the rest appears to be not have an established track record. There is a rule of the thumb - the bigger the company, the better. Certainly, there are some smaller companies working in the industry, and selling free solar panels that might be legitimate, but it is much harder to perform a background check on these.
Another important fact, is that the service is not provided everywhere. Currently, the biggest companies offering free solar panels operate in certain areas. Therefore, if you live in areas like Kent, Cornwall, London or East Anglia, you might want to check if you are eligible first.
As for the installation itself, there are some fixed requirements. First, you need to own a house. Second, your house must face south (24 square meters due south to be exact) or generally stay within 35 degrees of south and have minimal shading.
Read more: 6 Facts About Solar Panels.
Is it Beneficial?
If you are able to find a company that offers this still, then there is one huge benefit: you would get solar power for free. The company would do everything for you, from installing the panels on your roof to maintaining services.
The free solar panels are insured, so in theory, any costs for reparations or servicing will not be billed to the owner of the property. This is due to the fact that the provider is the owner of the panels, rather than the owner of the property. The way the homeowner would benefit would be by getting free electricity and therefore save on energy bills. The solar panel supplier would benefit by collecting the FIT payments instead of the homeowner.
Although free solar panels used to be a legitimate business scheme, with the FIT ending in 2019, companies do not benefit from this anymore. If you are offered a free solar panel from a company, be sure to do the required research to get all of the information before signing a deal.
What To Watch Out For With Free Solar
When we see something labeled "free", we immediately become curious but, at the same time, much more suspicious. It it really free? There must be a catch. And unfortunately, more often or not, there is one. Therefore, before considering getting the free solar panels, it is advised to go over the list of these few facts:
- not every household is eligible for getting the free solar power service (see above). Requirements are fixed and strict, and there is no way around them. Those, who do not fulfill the requirements are politely declined,
- an electricity, that is not used by the household, is exported to the local electricity network. Any income, that would be generated with this, is likely to go to the company providing free solar panels,
- as it was already mentioned, the free solar panels will never be owned by the owner of the property. Moreover, companies do not provide you with an option of buying out the panels, even after certain period of time,
- it is advised to check with your mortgage provider before committing to the contract,
- savings on electricity are limited and do not reach the numbers, you could get with getting the solar panels by yourself. Some companies have even so called zero-options, meaning you either pay zero or you can zero out your electric bill. Never both,
- often, there is a 25-year commitment contract required. This should be something to consider, if you are thinking about selling your home in the near future. Some homeowners have experienced issues with selling the property, that was tied to a quarter of century long contract.
- due to the fact, that the panels are provided for free, it is the company that will benefit from government subsidies.
Read more: Solar Panels: Are They Worth Is?
Why Not Buying?
The solution of buying solar panels, will always have one biggest issue and it is the price. However, it is currently the safest solution of going about investing in solar energy.
First of all, you own the installation you buy, but you also generate greater savings, and have the ability, to take down the panels off your roof whenever needed. For example, when you think about selling the property. Every method has its advantages and disadvantages.
If we are interested in green energy, but are not able to make such an investment, getting solar panels for free seems like a solution. However, if we have the money to spare, in the end, the better solution will be to buy the panels.
Moreover, there is a possibility of acquiring government grants. Information about government incentives can be found on our website about Solar Cells alongside other useful informations.
If you want to know more about solar panels and find out how can solar energy benefit your wallet in the long term, you can read about it here: Solar Energy.
If you are interested in investing in solar energy for your home, simply fill in the contact form above and our specialists at GreenMatch will provide up to four free quotes from different suppliers. This service is completely free of charge and is non-binding.