You will have seen many advertisements in the press offering free electricity in return for a solar installation on your roof. Due to the ever increasing costs of energy this sounds a tempting offer but there are important considerations.
First of all if you have the money or can obtain the finance it is preferable that you pay for the installation yourself rather than grant a lease to another Company as you will receive the benefit of the Feed-In-Tariff (FITs). The FITs provide a minimum payment for all electricity generated. The tariff is fixed for 25 years and linked to the Retail Price Index so that each year it will increase with inflation.
The cost of installing a system depends on the roof size and the module used but one company has issued guidance that it is between £5,000 and £6,000 per kWp installed. A typical family uses 4,000 kWh per year and this would require a 4 kWp system.
It is important to bear in mind that the FIT are going to be reviewed in April 2012. A review was carried out in June 2011 which resulted in the FIT for the larger projects being reduced by up to 70% which has resulted in the demise of many proposed solar parks.
The important considerations are as follows:
How much of the roof will be covered and what will this generate?
What will be the visual impact of the panels?
You need to check whether there are any covenants on the title such as a covenant that the property should not be used for business purposes or that there must not be any alteration to the exterior of the dwelling.
3. Micro Generation Certificate
It is important that the installer does have a Micro Generation Certificate. The Micro Generation Certification Scheme is an internationally recognized qualify assurance scheme.
In the lease the owner of the freehold is known as the landlord and the solar company is the tenant. Important considerations include the length of term, rent, tenant’s obligations and owner’s obligations.
You must inform the company that provides your buildings insurance of the grant of the lease.
7. Sale of the Property
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