free solar panels UK

What Are The Benefits Of Paying For Solar Panels When You Can Get Them For Free?

So why should you fork out what will equate to thousands of pounds to buy solar photovoltaic panels when there are companies offering them for free? It may seem counterintuitive to pay for something when you can get it for free.

At the moment there are half a dozen companies that offer to install solar PV on your roof at no cost. It is a bit of a misnomer to say that they are free because the company that install them will own them for about 25 years. You just get the electricity that they produce. So whilst you do not have to pay out anything you are only really getting the free electricity the panel produce during the day.

Usually after the 25 year period the ownership of the panels will go to you. They should continue to produce electricity for you for a good few years after that. There are panels that were installed during the seventies that are still working today.

The Benefits Of Buying Your Own Solar Panels

benefits of paying for solar panelsThe reason companies offer to supply and fit PV panels are because they can claim a feed in tariff that pays them for all the electricity that the panels produce for a 25 years period. The rate is currently set at 41.3 pence per kilowatt hours and this payment is set to increase every year.

For the companies this means that they will pretty much make there money back in less than 10 years and then enjoy a good 15 years of pure tax free profit. So you can see why companies are eager to give these panels away.

It you were to buy the panels yourself you could claim these tariff payments for yourself. You would also benefit from being able to sell back any excess electricity that you produce to the grid and earn an additional 3 pence per kilowatt hour on to of the 41.3 pence that you would get paid anyway whether you use the electricity or sell it.

Should I Buy Panels Or Get Them Free?

The free solar panel installers will only install the panels on houses that will produce the most electricity for them. This means having a large South facing roof that is not in any shadow and is angled effectively towards the Sun. This will ensure the company gets the maximum benefits from the governments feed in tariff payments.

If your house qualifies for free panels then that is a good signal that your roof is in a prime position to benefit from solar. The FITs payments are guaranteed at this high rate for 25 years but you will have to take advantage of this now as in a few years the tariffs are being reviewed. This means that after that new installations will get a much lower payment, you should get the higher payment now.

Certainly if you have the money to pay for them outright you will get your money back in about 10 years and then enjoy a further 15 years of tax free tariff payments. If you have to borrow the money then obviously it will take longer to break even. The government has factored the tariff payments so as it is profitable for people to take out a loan and still benefit from solar without losing out.


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