free solar panels UK

What Happens If I Need Access To My Roof After Having Free Solar Installed?

There are a lot of considerations for someone looking to make a long term commitment for installing solar panels. Even though solar has become more and more prominent in the media with programmes such as Dragons Den and Watchdog featuring solar there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about this relatively new green technology.

In the UK you essentially have 2 options, pay to have your own solar system installed or apply to get free solar. A lot of the research you should be doing applies to both types of offer so this information will be useful to everyone considering having photovoltaic solar panels installed. If you are totally new to solar then we will first cover a bit of background first and get onto talking about roof access with solar panels later on.

Should I get solar panels?

In a nutshell solar panels turn sunlight into electricity and are installed on your roof. As they need sunlight to work your roof needs to face in a southerly direction but also work well if facing south west or south east. Solar PV works only in the daytime so once the sun has set they stop working. They will however work no matter what the weather is like but perform best in direct sunlight.

free solar vs paidBoth free and paid for solar panels work exactly the same way, free panels are not inferior because they are free. In fact free installers tend to use the best performing panels as they need to generate the greatest amount of electricity to recoup their costs. The main source of earnings with solar is through the Feed-in tariff system where you get paid for all of the electricity that your panels produce whether or not you use the electricity or not. The only difference between free and paid is who get s the tax free payments. With free solar it is the free solar panel installer who gets the money, with paid it is you. So with a £15,000 system installed you could earn back £45,000 over a 25 year period.

Accessing your roof after solar is installed

Once the installation is complete you will have a number of panels attached to your roof. These panels are secured to the roof structure via a fixing system, you can find out more about how solar panels are fitted to your roof if you want to know more. An inverter will also be installed, usually in your loft and this will be connected to your mains unit.

At some point in the future you may want to do some work on your roof or your loft. You may need to have a leaking roof fixed or the roof retiled; you may even want to convert your loft into an additional room. In these circumstances the solar system may have to be removed for a period of time so what happens in these cases? It is going to depend on the installer, usually free installers will have a clause in their contact that says they will remove and re-install the panels free of charge if you need to do work on your roof or loft area.

This is only going to relate to major works so if for example you were going to install loft insulation that would not be a problem. I contacted one of the larger free installers, A Shade Greener and they were helpful in explaining their terms. A good installer will have a similar agreement in place.

You are allowed ask for the system to be removed twice in the 25 year contract period at no cost to you. The panels can be removed for a period of up to 3 months at a time. It must however be possible for the installer to be able to replace the system as it was. So you couldn't build a loft extension with several dormers where the panels were as they would not physically be enough room to reinstall the panels later. You could however convert the loft in such a way so as the panels could be replaced normally.

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