A recent trend in the free solar panel or rent a roof market is for the installer to not only offer to install a system that will generate you free electricity but also give you a one off cash payment. The cash payment incentive is a new addition that was previously only seen with larger scale commercial and business systems.
The new schemes work the same as all the other offers except on successful completion of the install you are given a one off cash payment. At the moment there are only 2 companies offering this payment but if this helps attract new business other companies are sure to follow.
Relative newcomer Sol et Libre is offering a £250 cash payment and covers the south of England. At the time of writing the payment is not mentioned on the site but is mentioned on their press release. Their contract length is however 27 years but after this period the system is handed over to you. The company is from the Oxford Sustainable group which is the same people behind Isis Solar, another company offering free solar.
The other company offering a cash payment in addition to a free system is Reflex Solar. Reflex offer installations in the Leicestershire and Rutland areas and offers £500 cash payment after the free system is installed. Their contract is for 25 years after which ownership passes to you.
The free solar panel offers are not a scam however they do require that you have the panels installed on your roof for at least 25 years. Even though it will cost you nothing and you will save in the region of about £300 a year off your electricity bill these offer should not be taken lightly.
Once a system is installed you cannot change your mind. Most of the contracts specify that if you want the panels removed you will have to buy the system from the company and usually pay some sort of cancellation fee. Energy company E.on are very clear in this respect. They charge a minimum £1,000 cancellation fee and you have to buy the system from them.
On the face of it these are a good offer, who wouldn't turn down a cash payment and the chance to cut your electricity bills in half for at least 25 years? You do however need to be aware that these offers are better for some than others. Before you start weighing up the benefits you need to make sure your house is suitable in the first place. First of all is my roof south facing? You also need to own your own home and have a roof that is large enough and un-shaded.
Anyone who cannot or does not want to make the investment to buy the panels themselves. If you can afford it then buying the panels and claiming the government feed in tariffs that pay you to generate green electricity is by far a more financially rewarding route to take. However buying panels only makes sense if you are planning on staying in your home for the next 25 years. If you move you can't easily take them with you and put them on your new home.
If you on the other hand may plan on moving or are close to retirement age then a free system makes sense. There is no point investing in solar if you are not going to be around to benefit from it. However if it doesn't cost you anything then there isn't any financial loss associated with getting them installed.
Solar panels generate all of their electricity during daylight hours therefore the more time you are at home the more you will benefit. If you spend a lot of time at home during the day then one of the free solar offers would benefit you the most. If you are at work most of the day then you are not going to see the benefit. Although the panels will still generate power whilst you are at work if the electricity doesn't get used it gets fed back into the grid and you will not benefit from this free electricity. In some forward thinking countries they have a system where you can bank the electricity and then use it at a later date.
There are companies offering free solar to both homes and businesses, take a look at the most comprehensive list of free solar installers in the UK to find an installer near you.
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