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Call for new solar panel arrangements

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

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A SOUTH Devon lawyer has written to the Government asking for intervention to stop the banks imposing 'impossible' conditions on homeowners who want to generate free electricity from solar panels installed on their rooftops.

Owen Hill from Wollen Michelmore, who is a specialist in the law surrounding renewable energy schemes, is calling on the Government to change existing banking industry practice, which he says is also stymying the solar industry

In a letter to written to the Department for Environment, he has called for changes that will instil greater confidence among those seeking to install solar panels on mortgaged homes and the green energy businesses that 'rent' roof space.

He said: "The problems stem from the fact the company paying for the installation actually needs an agreement to lease the rooftop for 25 years to cover the cost of the investment and a return.

"If the home is mortgaged, then the bank or building society will be asked to consent to the lease. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has a policy to approve the grant of leases like this, but with conditions. If the homeowner doesn't pay their mortgage and the house is repossessed, the bank or building society can ask the company that owns the solar installation to remove the panels.

"If this happens, then the company that paid for the installation could lose everything. The Government subsidy is only paid for energy produced while the power is fed into the grid. So if it is disconnected, the company that paid for the project no longer has any income to repay the cost of the capital invested."

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