Online solar advertising targets Wivey

I have received enquiries about recent online advertising, which is targetting people in Wivey and saying that solar funding is available “with ZERO up from costs”, which has “just opened up in Wiveliscombe from June 26th”.

Solar Enquiry

There are plenty of reasons to doubt this offer. Why has it just opened up in Wivey? Why are no contact details given? It sounds too good to be true? What are they not telling you?

I contacted them to find out more about what is really offered. The representative I spoke to on phone was OK and not too pushy. He was keen to arrange for someone to come to see me when full details could be provided, but he accepted that I would think about it and contact them. He rightly highlighted the savings on electricity bills and quoted the correct rates for support currently available to all through the government’s feed-in and export tariffs. He didn’t mention homes needed to have an EPC energy efficient rating of level D or above.

The company behind the offer is Project Solar, which is not stated on their website advert. They are based in Manchester and have not opened up a new local office.

They offer loans over 5, 10 or 15 years at an interest rate of 9.9% per annum, although also said buying outright was best. The rep said they had to visit to give accurate costs, but indicated it would cost £6,000-9,000 and that 14 panels would be about £6,500, which I assume would be for a typical domestic system with a peak power output of 3.5-4 kW.

This system cost is OK but it is likely that you would get a better price by inviting quotes from local installers. Their interest rate for a current loan is very high – the best rate from Nationwide is currently 3.4% and you may do even better by adding the cost to your mortgage.

What not like

I expect there would be a harder sell from a rep making a home visit. In the small print on their website (above), they indicate electricity bills increase by 7.28% and inflation by 3.04% per year. Such large annual increases would result in savings in the future looking very high. Their electricity bill increase looks particularly high and you should be able to do a lot better than this, including by switching suppliers.

Google reviews (22) for Project Solar indicate they have had some satisfied customers while others much less so, complaining of high pressure sales techniques.

I advise against going with this company. You are likely to get a better deal though a recommended local installer. And if you want to avoid up front costs, take out a loan yourself to pay for the cost. If earning a good return is important, check the estimates provided in quotes by installers carefully and note how long it will take before the system will pay for itself and before you will move into profit. It may be about 10 years, so be confident that you are likely to stay in the house for that long, as you cannot take the feed-in tariff with you (it transfers as a benefit to the new owner but you will still have to pay back any loans taken out).

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