While many financing options exist, the main ones include Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), operating lease and self-finance (CAPEX). A brief description of each option is provided below.
|Option||Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)||Operating Lease||Self-finance (CAPEX)|
|Housing analogy (Solar system = house)||Rent||Mortgage (if you take out a loan)|
|Timespan (years)||≈ 25||10 (extendable)||≈ 25-35 (for loans)|
|Description||You buy electricity generated by the solar system (installed on your roof) from the installer at a fixed price per kWh, which is lower than your energy supplier’s tariff price.||You rent the solar system from the installer. Installer removes the solar system from your roof after timespan assuming no further contracts.||You purchase the solar system. Loans, including green finance loans, may potentially be available.|
|Your upfront cost||None||None||Full price of solar system|
|System Ownership & Maintenance||Installer||Installer||You|
|Ownership of Electricity||Installer (sold to you at a below-market rate)||You||You|
Other Green Technologies Complementing Solar PV
Battery Storage Systems: If your electricity consumption patterns do not coincide with solar PV’s generation times (i.e. most intensively around midday), or would potentially face huge financial losses in the event of a blackout, you may want to consider battery storage systems. They charge up when your solar PV system produces more electricity than you use, allowing you to use the stored electricity at other times convenient to you, and/ or continue providing you with electricity in the event of a blackout.
Electric Vehicles: If you operate EVs, or are planning to transfer your current fleet to EVs in the next few years, you may wish to install EV chargers at the same time, minimising overhead costs. This could potentially impact the optimal size of your solar PV system, so do mention this requirement when obtaining your solar PV quote. You may also be eligible for a government grant covering up to 75% of the cost of installing EV charge points if you are an SME.
Smart System: A smart system may help you identify areas of energy savings. While an energy audit provides a cross-sectional snapshot of where you can save on energy, a smart system does this continuously, and can help you control and balance your energy needs, allowing you to take advantage of some energy suppliers’ flexi-tariffs (tariffs where the electricity price you pay varies every half hour).
Heat Pumps: With the UK government banning new boiler installations from 2035, heat pumps will become our main heating source. The current generation of heat pumps are 3-5x more efficient than gas boilers, provide sustained, mild warmth, are very quiet (<42 db) when in operation, and will drastically slash your carbon emissions! Since they use electricity to operate, this could potentially impact the optimal size of your solar PV system, so mention this requirement when obtaining your solar PV quote.