I know of a roof that might be suitable for solar - what do I do next?
If you know of a building that could be suitable for solar panels, we can work with you to make it happen.
- We fund the installations and contract installers to put up the panels.
- We receive payments for the electricity the panels generate from the government Feed in Tariff scheme.
- The building users benefit from subsidised green energy.
- Our investors receive a yearly interest payment.
The overviews and FAQs below give more information about our schemes.
Download the overview for community and commercial buildings (PDF)
Download the overview for schools (PDF)
If you know of a building that might be suitable for our schemes, you can do a quick self-assessment survey, and send the results to us. We'll then look at the information and let you know whether the roof has potential. Alternatively, we can do the initial survey for you for free. Just contact us, and we’ll take things from there.
Download the self-assessment survey (Word)
What's the Feed-In Tariff?
It's a government subsidy for renewable energy that was introduced in the UK in April 2010. It includes Photovoltaic (PV) schemes up to 5MW, and there are two payments:
1) Generation tariff – a payment made for each unit of electricity generated, regardless of who uses it. The amount depends on the renewable technology and the size and date of the installation. For PV schemes the payments are currently guaranteed for 20 years.
2) Export tariff – a further payment for each unit generated that is exported to the grid, ie, not used on site.
A third benefit is that because you can use the electricity generated by the panels, you have to buy less from the grid, and this reduces your electricity bill.
How long is the roof agreement with the Co-op?
It's currently for 20 years, because this is how long the Feed-in tariffs last.
Why should I lease my roof to you rather than buying my own solar PV system?
If you choose to lease your roof to us, you will get a free PV installation without having to raise the capital for this yourself, and without the hassle of obtaining quotes and organising the roof survey and installation. You will save money on the electricity generated by the system and be supporting a social enterprise contributing to sustainable energy in Bristol. There is also the option for your organisation to invest in the Co-op and receive a share of the FIT income.
However, if you are ready to install your own solar PV system on your roof, and have the capital to invest in it, you will make a higher financial return by doing this and making use of the feed-in tariff yourselves.
Who maintains the PV system?
The Co-op does under a maintenance contract which includes an annual system check. We also insure the system for damage, breakdown, business interruption and public liability.
What happens if the system breaks down?
The Co-op repairs it at its cost.
The lease is for 20 years – what happens after that?
After 20 years, ownership of the panels is gifted to the building owner, after which they have free use of any electricity generated. There will be some reduction in efficiency of the panels as they get older, but they are expected to still be producing at least 85% of their original output after 20 years.
Can I buy the system from the Co-op?
Yes, you can buy the solar installation at any time during the lease at a reasonable market price based on the age of the system and its generation performance.
What happens if I sell the property?
The new owner would take over the lease and enjoy the same benefits, or they could buy the system from the Co-op.
Will the property be more difficult to sell because of the lease with the Co-op?
We cannot predict what the future market for your property will be like, but the PV installation on the roof should increase the value of the property due to the lower electricity bill. Roof lease contracts of this sort are becoming increasingly common.
What happens if the Co-op is wound up or bought out?
Should the members of the Co-op decide to wind it up or sell it, the assets must be transferred to a society with similar aims and an asset lock. This asset lock ensures that the assets of the Co-op will be held in perpetuity for the benefit of the community.
Will I have to make alterations to my electrics or wiring if I rent my roof to you?
Not usually, but for some larger installations we may have to arrange for a better connection between your property and the National Grid to handle the energy input. This is carried out in partnership with your energy supplier and will generally not affect your property’s interior.