Government Grants for Installing Solar Panels
Grants from the Government
The government new solar panels grant is in the form of a feed in tariff scheme that came into effect from April 2010. Feed in tariffs are payments that are made to the business or property owners for any renewable electricity they produce.
It was the Low Carbon Buildings programme that used to provide grants for having solar fitted. The deadline for them was April 2010 when the scheme switched to the government backed feed in tariff scheme.
What is the Feed In Tariff Scheme
The feed in tariff scheme aims to award people who have solar energy fitted. The earliest adopters of solar panels set to gain the most from the scheme than later installers will. The feed in tariff scheme guarantees that owners of small scale solar PV systems will get up to 15.44p for every KWh of energy they produce for the next twenty five years.
Larger scale installations can benefit from the scheme but the rewards are slightly lower per KWh they produce. You gain also by using the electricity that you use for free. The tariff itself is tax free and payments will rise in line with inflation. The scheme applies for twenty five years. You can expect a return of about 9% on your investment.
Also any electricity that you produce but don't use can be fed back to the national grid and an annual payment is also awarded for this. Also by having solar panels installed you are helping the environment by significantly reducing your carbon footprint.
Free Solar Panels
There is also the option of getting solar panels with no upfront cost under the feed in tariff scheme. You still would benefit from the free electricity but will have to make loan repayments with the proceeds. These would go to the company that installed the panels for you therefore paying them back the cost of installation and panels and they still get to make a profit.
You still get to have them maintained free also. This also has the advantage of making your home greener. This would be the option if you could not afford the cost of installing the panels yourself. Some companies offer a chance to buy back the panels at a later date. This idea has the advantage of effectively trying before you buy.
There are however some disadvantages to having the panels installed for free. Prospective buyers for your home in the future could be put off by having a leased roof in with their agreement. However, most buyers should be attracted to the idea of having cheaper electricity.
Also you would have to remember that if you want to get your roof fixed for any reason it could end up being costly. Solar panel companies will repair the roof if any damage done is due to the panels themselves. The idea of the electricity companies keeping the feed in tariff is also a disadvantage as the payments far outweigh the electricity savings available. Free solar panels is a new industry and you must remember that your home is probably your most valuable asset so you would have to think very carefully before signing a twenty five year lease with any company and you may have to seek legal advice.
The buyout fees from the company are usually fixed but make sure before you sign. All in all there has never been a better time to invest in solar energy. If you have the cash available it may be better to buy them outright.