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Make money while the sun shines

Print publication

25/09/2013

It is becoming more and more common to see solar panels on the roofs of houses and other buildings. After some negative publicity last year when the Government slashed the feed-in tariffs (FITs) (the money that is paid in return for the electricity generated), uptake is rising again. The cost of solar panels has come down greatly over the past year or two, making it a very cost effective way of saving on energy bills even with the reduced FITs.

Solar photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electricity, which you can then use in your buildings. Under the FITs scheme, you get paid for every unit of electricity you generate from the panels, even where the electricity is used in the building, as well as saving money by using less grid-supplied electricity. Any surplus that you do not use in the building gets exported into the local electricity network and you are paid an export tariff for every unit you export back to the grid.

There are various organisations that can help you raise the money to buy and install the panels, such as Solar Schools (www.solarschools.org.uk). Once installed, they should not need maintaining and should last up to 25 years.

Getting the installation contract correct, as well as establishing the proper model for fund-raising, can be critical to the success of your project. Walker Morris LLP has helped several public sector organisations with the legal aspects of installing solar panels on their properties and we would be delighted to hear from you if you are considering solar panels for your school or college. Our experience of dealing with the likely issues you may encounter means we can make sure the process runs smoothly for you.