A ray of sunshine in a gloomy depression?
I have had a couple of enquiries through recently about companies approaching home owners to talk about providing them with free electricity. It’s rare these days for a company to offer anything for free so what’s the catch?
Essentially the government is encouraging the use of renewable energy and with powers under the Energy Act 2008 it has introduced a system of feed-in-tariffs to incentivise small scale low carbon electricity generation.
Basically if your home generates energy through solar or wind power you will be entitled to payments under this feed-in-tariff. This is payable whether you use the power or not. You get money just for generating the electricity in the first place! In addition you can use the electricity to reduce your bills and the energy that you do not use can be fed back into the grid, which you get paid for as well.
Sounds to good to be true? Well yes it is. The installation costs for a PV or solar panel system can range between £10,000 and £15,000 depending on its size. For the vast majority of us this is simply too much.
This is where the companies mentioned previously come in. They will pay for the system, install it free of charge and allow you to use all the energy that is generated. What they want in return is the payments made for the feed in tariff and this is where the catch comes in.
You will be asked to grant a lease over your roof and air space above your property for up to 25 years. The implications of this will be that a leasehold title will need to be created over your (normally) freehold property. This will almost certainly have implications if your property has a mortgage and in these circumstances the Lender’s permission will need to be obtained. Secondly it may affect the marketability of your property making it more difficult to sell. You will also want to consider what happens if you want to extend into your loft or repair works need to be carried out to the roof of the property.
If you have been approached with a scheme similar to the above and want advice in relation to it or you are a company thinking about offering this type of product and want help setting up the legal aspect of the installation please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss in more detail.