Probably one of the most well known companies when it comes to free solar panels is Yorkshire based company A Shade Greener. Since they started they have installed well over 2000 solar systems around the UK. They are probably responsible for many of the free installations in Barnsley, Sheffield and Rotherham which accounted for 3 out of the top 5 locations in the UK with the highest levels of residential solar installations in 2010.
They have recently expanded the area they cover to include Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Humberside, parts of Leicestershire and Peterborough. They offer a 16 panel 2.9kWh system and a slightly larger 18 panel 3.3kWp system. The larger of the system could save you about half the cost of your electricity bill.
After the 25 year contract ends you can choose to keep the panels and continue to use the free electricity that they generate or ask A Shade Greener to remove them.
They are currently able to install free solar in parts of Leicestershire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Humberside, and Peterborough. Peterborough is a town rather than a county and is located in Cambridgeshire.
Being one of the first companies to offer free solar they had to deal with a lot of questions, confusion and scepticism about the scheme. People were initially cautious assuming that this was some type of scam. Some discussions on the internet even went as far as speculating on how the scam worked.
Free solar panel offers are of course not a scam but indirectly part of the governments plan to generate more green electricity. The major energy suppliers such as British Gas, Southern Electric and Eon all run similar free schemes to A Shade Greener.
You will never have to pay any money and you will save between £100 and £300 a year depending on how you use the free electricity generated by the panels.
I have had the pleasure of talking to Sarah, one of their employees, and found her to be very honest and forthcoming with any questions I have had. The company themselves has appeared on television programmes such as Working Lunch and are quite open about what they do.
As one of the most prolific installers to date they have installed nearly 3000 systems at the time of writing and plan to install a total 12,000 systems in the UK. To date they have generated nearly 4 million kilowatt hours of green electricity and saved over 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
If I was looking for a free solar installer then A Shade Greener would definitely be a company that I would approach. They certainly have done a lot to promote solar PV in the UK and are passionate about what they do.
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