Free solar panels will soon be stopped

Last updated on October 9th, 2017 at 07:06 pm

“Why would a company spend £10,000 to install solar panel on your home for free?”

Solar panels are a great investment opportunityAnswer: To make money from you, your home and the government’s feed-in tariffs scheme, which is intended to reward early adopters of solar panels.

This type of practice will soon be outlawed to prevent, under new proposals, energy companies taking advantage of those who will not be able to afford to buy solar panel installations of their own.

Companies making such offers have sparked a flurry of enthusiasm from people wishing to have free solar panels installed in their homes, but most are unaware of the pitfalls of such an arrangement. That is why the energy secretary Chris Huhne, has vowed to stop such practices taking advantage of people on lower incomes in most cases.

Stuart Lovatt, founder of Heat my Home adds “We have always advised people to install for themselves if they can. We want people to receive the feed-in tariff reward for themselves, which can cover the cost of the installation and give you profit over the coming years, simply for being a pioneer of this technology. Don’t let others take your reward -claim it for yourself. ”

Possible issues with rent-a-roof solar panels

Once you have signed a contract with a free solar panel company, your roof and roof space will contractually belong to the company for the next 20 years. If during this time you decide to or need to, sell your home, it will mean other peoples solar panels on your roof will deter potential buyers.

What sounds great about these free solar panel offers, and why most people take up these offers is the promise of free energy.

Most people work during the daylight hours which means the electricity you use from the solar panels will be very small compared to the total output of the panels. This means the lion’s share of the power produced will be exported out to the National Grid, and the free solar panels company will benefit from the high rate of feed-in tariff.

There have also been rumours that candidates for free installations are chosen based on the amount of time they away from the house, which will increase the amount taken by the feed-in tariff and reduce the amount which benefits the homeowner.

Stuart concludes “Not all free solar panels companies’ work this way, but some do which, unfortunately, reflects badly on the solar industry as a whole.

We welcome this change in governmental policy, which gives the feed-in tariff to homeowners, for which it was first intended, thus prevent investment companies from taking the lion’s share of this reward scheme.”

We encourage the installing of solar panels to everyone’s home. There are great advantages to doing this, which includes:

  • 8-10% returns on investment within 10– 15 years of purchase.
  • Increase in property value if the panels belong to you.
  • Saving on your energy bills for 30-40 years.
  • Envious neighbours, not relevant, but some people install for this reason.

Something thing for nothing, especially free energy in the current economic climate sounds very tempting to a lot of people, but as the old saying goes, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it definitely is’.


"Feel the pride."
September 20, 2011
Founder of Power My Home.

  • Hi Andrew

    The article was written at a time period (20 Sep 2011) when ‘free solar panels’ were a new phenomenon. So putting the article into this time period makes absolute sense.

    The feed-in tariff scheme was originally mean’t as an incentive for homeowners investing. One of the unintended consequences that was not envisioned was the emergence of rent-a-roof companies springing up.

    Unfortunately, this put incredible strain on the fit’s scheme and the incentive rate was forced to be reduced many times to today’s current levels.

    I am unashemedly, on the side of the homeowner beneffiting from the incentive scheme as it was originally intended, rather than commercial companies.

    I am proud to tell people to install the technology themselvves if they can afford it. If you really want to make solar panels affordable, then you increase adoption rates to bring down the cost to all. Something I concede that free solar has done since I originally wrote the article 😉

  • Paul

    I am really glad your mother got a good deal and found a good company, but as previously stated not all companies are equally ethical and many of these companies are funded by investment companies which expect a quick return on investment.

    Yes, some will stay around for the long term, but many wanting a quick profit won’t. I have promoted the solar industry for six years way before solar panels became fashionable, but I have always done it from side of the home owner and not the companies who’s only priority is the bottom line.

  • paul

    thats not right , its the 31p they want if you look at the figures 75% of free deals have been taken up by the retired population , those that benifit most , the company my mum used say 85 % are at home retired , why are you trying to put people off , bar humbug , you clearly got your facts from the back of a milk carton. The majority of working people generally dont take the free offer ( according to mums company ) as it is not benificial , although some have saved on gas using the immersion heater instead of gas, and time switches. Also i have found 23 companies still doing frees in the new year as a 7% return is still a good return , lastly would you invest £5,000 ( typical cost to install free system ) to help someone and wait 7 years now to see a return , noone minds companies making money , by your reasoning noone should buy anything if a company makes money , what about your mortgage , is that a good deal ? how much do the mortgage companies make ? get a grip mate , and everyone else go for it !!!!!

  • paul

    No they dont , you wouldnt be able to name one because its the 30p they want , you clearley dont know much about the industry stuart , and there still 3 companies i know of still doing the frees , because 7% return is still a very good return , so nothing has stopped , you should try to get your facts straight before trying to create a guise , pretending to help people , not all homeowners can afford to buy , a 7% return over 25 years is good profit , but its also a good deal for the customers , no one minds a company making 25,000 over 25 years if you can get access to free elec , i think you think the general poublic is stupid , everyone knows the companies make money , by your reasoning , no one should buy or have anything that makes a company money , would you invest £5,000 pounds to help someone and wait 5 years before you make a profit ? no you wouldnt, go for it everyone stuart hasnt got a clue in my opinion , ive seen this work for my mum , bar humbug to you stewy .

  • Some solar companies (not all) do vet the homes they install to to giving priority over those that are not at home during the daytime hours.

    £1,000 over 25 years may not sound allot but when you are installing these systems in their thousands or tens of thousands, those pounds quickly mount up to more profit for the installer and as these types of companies are in it for profit and not for the goodness of their hearts.

    Forthcoming changes to the feed in tariffs have now put a stop to this type of practice.

  • paul

    Stuart you are talking rubbish ! it matters not what you use, as the companies who fit free panels get paid on every unit you generate, whether you use it or not ! so it does not matter how much of the free electricity you use ! the feed in ,is only paid at 1.5p per unit not used , a very small proportion of the current 30p (ish) for the rest of it .
    As the electricity boards have not fitted the smart meters necessary , they assume that you only use half ( maximum) so this extra 1.5p makes up less than a £1000 over the entire 25 years. My mother who is elderly and at home all day , had her direct debit cut from 27 a month to 9 a month , so be careful what you advise , working familys out till dark , can use time switches, also if you have a emersion heater you can put it on a timer all day and save money on gas , trust me i have seen it for myself with my mother , i say go for it !!!!!

  • ian leggett

    Thanks Stuart that makes it clearer for the non technical of us.
    Regards Ian.

  • Hi Mr Leggett

    To answer your question, ‘daylight’ is caused by ‘sunlight’ which is made up of light waves and solar particles hitting the earth. Solar panels work by using the particles hitting the panels and in photovoltaic’s case produces electrons which are gathered and routed, then used.

    Solar heating panels work differently as the particles are trapped, accumulated and this accumulation build up into heat.

    Thank you for your contributions.

    Quotes from trusted installers who use Kingspan equipment can be found on our website at:

    Hope this helps

  • ian leggett

    I have bookede a survey from Arun who are local to me and are recommended by my local Council. Arun do work on housing association and Council property. I intend to get the answer I need, Is it daylight or sunlight which gives the electricity. They have replied verbally that daylight is the source. I need to see proof.
    If you are in Suffolk there are two good established companies who are known over many years as being reliable and although I donot wish to knock new companies with the best intentions it is a costly mistake when you make it as I have already found through choosing the wrong solar water and heating suppplier and manufacturer, namely Britannic Energy and Rotex both now non existent. (and they were approved by the Energy Saving Trust)
    Regards Ian.

  • rj doe

    I had a survey from homesun awaiting result. But would prefer
    somehow (safer?) a survey from my supplier Scottish and southern. The question is many many homes willl not have configuration of roof to qualify. So if your roof is ok what’s wrong – you are chosen!!
    And what about those in the arctic north. Nobody is going to walk the streets with a compass in hand looking for potential south facing roofs.

  • ian leggett

    I had an offer from EON to install for £99. I filled in questionnaire online an used Google map to identify the bungalow and it was approved online. I was told a survey would be booked within 14 days. 7 days later we had a phone call frrom EON saying we were not eligible as we were 9 degrees off course. Having had 3 companies to survey already who stated we were ideally situated, and had solar panels for water already which gives us the hot water we need from April to October I find this hard to accept. I have asked them for a more detailed explanation but they have not replied. I thought the PV ran on daylight and not necessarily suunlight, and we get as much daylight as anyone else in the South East. So perhaps free offers are not free unless they suit the installer.
    Regards Ian.

  • mary

    Thanks Stuart, have advised my mother against it, not because I don’t like solar panels, but because they want a £100 off of her and I don’t like the idear of them owning the roof space for the next 25 years.


  • Hi

    Think you miss understand the point of the article which is to give two points of view regarding this subject matter.

    Usually people would only hear one point of view and that is from a hungry commission driven sales person, who only has one objective. To get you to sign up.

    We believe that people need a second point of view from which they can make their own judgement.

    As for the fits, just like ‘solar farms’ which would have bankrupt the scheme by only letting rich investors claim the lions share of the feed in tariff scheme budget.

    The government is protecting the scheme which means it gets distributed to the many and not just a few already fat cats.

  • Sarah

    Hello Stuart,

    i am surprised by this! of course it is better for anyone to pay for the solar panels themselves! anyone who says otherwise is to be avoided of course, but the free solar install offers available are an absolute godsend. if the financial organisations are willing to pay for this why shouldnt they make a profit? and by doing this they are potentially bringing thousands out of fuel poverty and enabling them to benefit from lots of free energy. no one who has been ‘sold’ the free roof correctly would allow this if they are out of the house all day. this will benefit thousands of elderly and families with young children who are in during the day. i think it is exceptionally foolish of you to give this opinion – you could cause a family in need to avoid this when it could mean the difference between affording thier bills and not over the coming years. i particularly dislike the ‘rumour’ aspect. If you are going to comment i really don’t think rumour should come into it. Why don’t you name and shame these companies if they exist? And as for the FIT’s being there to reward the householder – it is there to reward investment and in this current climate many people cannot afford £10k – any investment at the moment should be welcomed. The FIT’s was aimed at stimulating the industry and ensuring that we have more installation companys to bring down the price of solar for the future – maybe this is something that you don’t want?