In the UK there are a number of companies offering to install free solar photovoltaic panels on your roof. The so called rent a roof scheme works by allowing the company to install solar panels on your roof. In return for you letting them use your roof space you get to use all the electricity the panels produce. You can find a list of current companies on our free solar panels UK installers page.
These free solar offers do have some requirements and not every home will qualify. The reason for this is that solar PV works by converting the suns light into electricity and so for the panels to work at their best the installers prefer optimum conditions. These offers are not based on your personal circumstances but are solely based on your house.
The conditions will vary slightly from company to company so if you are turned down by one firm it doesn't mean to say that another firm will turn you down. It is worth applying to other providers if you do get turned down depending on the reason given.
The first essential factor is that you own your own home. It doesn't matter if you own it outright or if you are paying off a mortgage, you need to be the freehold owner of your home in order to qualify.
As the sun in the UK is predominantly in the south the panels also need to face in a southerly direction. The degree to which your roof faces south will determine the number of companies willing to qualify you. Some insist on a due south roof whilst others allow a certain amount of leeway so your roof does not have to be facing precisely south but in a general southerly direction.
Generally the larger your roof the better as it will be able to accommodate more panels. Some companies have fixed size arrays that are made up of a certain number of panels so if they cannot install all the panels on your roof you will be declined. Most will insist the roof space is uninterrupted, this means that if you have velux windows, dormers or a gas flue on the part of the roof the panels will go on you may be refused.
Shading can be a big problem for solar panels as it greatly reduces their ability to produce electricity. If a shadow is cast on your roof from tall trees, other building or fixtures on your roof then they may turn down your application.
It may be that your roof is not strong enough to support the weight or the panels. In this case you may be refused or they may offer to strengthen your roof to properly support the panels for a relatively small fee. This may be in the region of about £200. Most of the time the roof strength will be adequate.
Due to the extra work involved some companies will not install a free system on a roof with slate or stone tiles.
Most companies are not nationwide and so they may not be willing to travel great distance to fit the panels. There are a number of companies so you should be able to find one in your area or you can just apply to the nationwide installers.
It may seem a strange requirement but the corrosive effect of the sea salt on the panels means that they will not last as long. There are some specialist panels that are guaranteed to work in a costal environment but the extra cost means that they are not on offer with the free panels. If you live within 500 metres of the coast you will probably be refused.
The companies offering to install free solar on roofs are doing so because in the long term they will make a profit from it. However they will only make a profit if the panels they install perform at their best, to do this they have to be situated where they can generate the most electricity.
Every company has their own specific requirements that a domestic roof area has to meet for the company to be willing to install solar. As the companies have to cover all of the costs up front and may not see a profit from the governments solar panel grants for 10 years they have to be sure they are installing on a home that will work well with solar.
If you are refused an installation when at first it appears you have the ideal roof for solar then ask for the reason you have been declined. It may be a borderline decision in which case you may find another installer will be willing to provide free solar panels.
You can apply for solar to see if other companies are willing to install free panels on your home. If you can afford to buy solar panels yourself, even by taking out a loan, you would be able to get the lucrative feed-in tariff payments that the free installers get for installing solar. You could earn up to £30,000 in tax free profit from getting paid solar installed on your home.
Apply for free solar panels with our 1 minute application form. Apply Now.
Grants & Schemes
For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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