Free Solar Panel Scheme??

  Bingalau 13:04 12 Aug 10

Not sure if this is the correct forum but has anybody any experience of this scheme?

Just got this from the Martin Lewis newsletter...
click here

  spuds 14:30 12 Aug 10

There as been talk of this scheme recently, and the people interviewed seemed to suggest that it was a good thing.

I don't know about the Isis company doing this, but a company called the Mark Group who are the forerunners in insulation and energy saving methods might be the ones to consult. They work with the government and local authorities on many installations for energy saving, plus free installation work (if you qualify with government t&c's).

  johndrew 14:31 12 Aug 10

Martin Lewis is generally pretty good. In this instance the devil is in the detail.

If Isis (the panel supplier) fits the panels for free they grab a government incentive worth £800 per year for around 25 years - a cool 6% per annum return on their investment, or £20000 over the period. You on the other hand may get lower bills depending on the amount of sunshine your roof sees. Whether failed panels will be replaced free there is no indication and there is no indication on compensation for/repair of damage to your roof.

If you outlay £12000 for your own panels you get the £800 per annum for 25 years.

There are pros and cons for both options in addition to the above, like what happens if you want to sell your house, which must be taken into consideration. Additionally the cost of panels may well reduce greatly in the next few years which may well make it worth waiting as the government incentive may well still be there but for a lower outlay - especially if you go it alone.

My bet would be not to touch the offer in its current form.

  Chris the Ancient 14:34 12 Aug 10

Worth reading the bit under:

Warning! This isn't fully tried and tested

V-e-r-y carefully.

However, the way I read it is that you *buy* a system that will eventually repay its cost over several years.

I wouldn't mind betting that there is more than one operator who makes the 'free' system quite expensive.

Still, living in a rented flat (though I do have a suitable roof) which I envisage moving out of within then next couple of years makes it a non-starter for me (I think).

  Pineman100 15:46 12 Aug 10

Just a thank-you for your analysis of the scheme, above. You seem to have clarified the nub of the matter very clearly.

  Bingalau 20:23 12 Aug 10

Thanks everybody, I have read through most of the guff on Martin Lewis's site and found it all very interesting.

I came to the same opinion as some others who have answered this post, namely to bide my time. Then again I may not have much "biding time" left. What I did wonder was, has anybody taken the first step to-wards starting on this scheme?

It looks good to me if you are in your forties or fifties and have the cash to lay out. With prices set to rise it looks like a good investment. I wouldn't go for the so called "free deal" that would be like me putting money in someone Else's pocket.

Thanks for all the answers and opinions so far. I will keep an eye on the Martin Lewis site for updates.

  morddwyd 20:30 12 Aug 10

Don't wish to be a doom and gloom merchant, old buddy, but I suspect that, like me, you are of an age when "repayment of cost over a period of years" requires quite careful and realistic evaluation!

  johndrew 10:04 13 Aug 10

My wife and I are a similar age to yourselves. Some years ago we were on holiday and were speaking to a lady, who was a few years older than ourselves, about holidays, cost and budgeting. She made a very interesting comment, she said, "What are you saving for?".

I later thought about what she said and the future and decided she was totally correct. You do reach a point where it is time to spend the 'rainy day' money and enjoy it rather than attempting to invest it in a 'saving' (such as this) which you will never benefit from.

  Bingalau 15:52 13 Aug 10

Yes, I am already spending my "Rainy Day money" but wondered if this would add value to the house before I sell it. That would give me more rainy day money to spend!

Seriously I am also of the opinion that I wouldn't last long enough to gain anything from it. But my family might?

  johndrew 16:17 13 Aug 10

Given the 'rules' indicated on the site tend to show that anyone buying the house would also need to take on the 'contract' with regard to the panels, then it may make the house less desirable in some peoples' eyes. Also how about damage/replacement to/of panels/roof as an incentive/disincentive.

Your choice but these things must be considered.

  Graham. 16:56 13 Aug 10

I was surveyed for this schemme by A Shade Greener. I've decided not to go ahead. Like most people, I don't use much electricity when the suns out anyway.

There is to be a similar scheme, solar panels to heat water, due next April. I'll wait for that - it's easier to store hot water.

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