Scottish Solar Panel Grants
Whilst installation grants in England have dried up in recent years Scotland seems to have bucked the trend. The Scottish government has recently offered grants of up to £4,000 to help domestic residents install solar panels on to their homes. Solar panels produce renewable energy which does not use fossil fuels and is the main reason the Scottish government is keen to encourage potential buyers of the technology. However, it remains to be seen whether such schemes are beneficial to solar panel owners in the long run.
What Grants are Available in Scotland at the Moment?
Currently there are no actual scottish government grants for solar panels. The most recent grant, The Energy Saving Scotland Home Renewables Grant, closed to new applicants on 23rd July 2010 due to overwhelming demand. This grant had offered up to 30% off the installation costs to successful applicants. The government is still offering the people of Scotland an interest free loan of up to £2,000 for solar panel installation. This, however, is on a first come first served basis. The government may, of course, still decide to introduce another similar solar panel grant scheme in the near future.
Can I Get Help from Elsewhere?
There are multiple companies in Scotland which will install solar panels onto domestic properties for free. Many will also cover insurance and maintenance costs. They do this as under a UK wide payback scheme, known as The Feed-In Tariff scheme, they can be paid for the electricity generated by the solar panels. Although the homeowner would not receive these payments they would still get free solar panels and reduced electricity bills. The environmental benefits are also high. It is important, however, to note that not all buildings are suitable for solar panel installation. Ideally, roofs should be south facing and clear of anything which obstructs the sunlight such as trees or tall buildings. Even if all these criteria are met there are no guarantees solar panels can be installed on to the building.
Whilst currently there are few grants available in Scotland, the government has recently shown real support for solar panel technology. It seems likely that similar grants will be introduced in the not too distant future to help potential solar panel owners. The loans of up to Â£2,000 offered at the moment may not seem like a great help but the fact they are interest free, given today's tough economic climate, presents them in a more positive light.