What is SolarSense?
SolarSense is a fixed rate personal credit plan that gives you outright ownership of a Solar PV System with no upfront costs.
How will SolarSense benefit me?
The brilliance of SolarSense is that you can get all the benefits of a government-backed, tax-free, index-linked investment product without needing to make the upfront investment yourself.
How much money do I need to pay upfront?
£99 survey fee (which is refunded when you go ahead).
In order to cover the overheads of our surveying team, Salop Energy Ltd will charge an initial survey fee of £99.00. This fee is then refunded in full upon you signing the finance agreement.
If, for some reason beyond your control, you cannot proceed with a SolarSense loan (this may be that you are refused credit or your roof is not strong enough) then your £99 survey fee will also be refunded in full.
You will NOT pay a penny until the system is installed and you’ve signed a “satisfaction note" saying you’re completely happy. Your first payment will be direct debited one month after your system is up and running and generating income.
How much will my monthly payments be?
Your exact monthly payments depend on the system you choose but many families will cover their costs from Day 1.
As grid electricity bills continue to increase steeply over the coming years (The department of energy and climate change have predicted rises circa 30% by 2020) you and your family can expect to make real savings during the loan repayment period.
What are the financial benefits of SolarSense?
Once the system is paid off, all of the Feed-in Tariff income and energy savings go directly into your pocket.
If you installed a 4kWp system in a south facing location in Birmingham for example, you could see as much as £1,500 tax-free each year after you’ve paid off the loan.
This means that for initially putting in zero capital down you could earn almost £20,000 over the system lifetime.
Will I have to pay out any money?
It is critical to realise that SolarSense is a simple loan that allows you to pay for a solar system over terms ranging from 3 to 10 years. Over the course of the year, many families will cover their loan payments with the FiT and energy savings but for families with a smaller system or in a location with less sunshine you may have to contribute a few pounds a month during the first couple of years to cover the loan payments.
It is also worth noting that loan payments are fixed each month but your system will earn much more in June and July than in November and December so you need to be able to cover the loan payments in the winter months.
However, as electricity bills continue their inexorable rise, your energy savings will increase and this allows almost all families to cover their outgoings on the loan payments after a year or two and start to make real money thereafter.
To get a definitive answer we need to book in a survey and do a detailed analysis.
How long is SolarSense?
SolarSense is spread over 3 to 10 years however; you can settle the loan at any point without any charge.
What is the interest rate?
SolarSense comes with a market beating 7.9% APR(fixed) which (as far as we can work out) is the best rate available in the marketplace and much better than using a short term bank loan or credit card which can be as much as 16% and 20% respectively.
It’s worth noting that you only pay interest over the length of time you pay back the SolarSense. This means that if you pay the loan back in 6 months the total amount of interest you’ll pay will be relatively tiny.
Can I definitely get a SolarSense Loan?
We will arrange for you to visit our office and undertake an online credit check. We can tell you on the day whether your application has been approved. It is a very similar credit check procedure to when you get a mobile phone. 85% of people will be fine.
The standard criteria are: over 18, in full employment or retired, home-owner.
Do I have to place a deposit?
There is no upfront cost with SolarSense. So £0 deposit and none of these expensive ‘Administration fees’ you so often see advertised.
What equipment can I get?
We’ve designed SolarSense to work exclusively with our top-of-the-range panels which are manufactured by Japanese giant Sharp UK who have their European office based just up the road in Wrexham.
What is the SolarSense process?
There are six simple steps to getting a SolarSense:
- Work with one of our Home Energy Surveyors to design your system
- We calculate the system income and loan payments
- We sort out all of the paperwork
- We book a convenient day to install your system
- You sign satisfaction note when you are completely happy
- You only start to pay from one month afterwards
Can I pay off my loan before the end of the loan time?
Absolutely – you can pay the entire loan off whenever you want – there is absolutely no charge for this nor hidden costs.
What happens if I stop paying?
Like any loan, you have to agree to pay off the money you borrow. If you miss a payment our finance partner will contact you directly to sort out fixing an additional payment date. It is worth noting that with any unsecured loan, if you stop paying this can negatively affect your credit rating.
What happens if I move house?
The loan is not fixed to the house or the system so you can either continue to pay off, or much more likely, you add the future cash flows from the system to your house price and use the sale revenue to pay off the loan. The key thing to note is that you have complete control over this process.
Who is your finance partner?
We work with Hitachi Capital who are the finance arm of Hitachi, a global multi-national company based in Japan but operating in the UK for years.
How do I pay?
You pay your SolarSense with fixed monthly payments over a term that you feel comfortable with; this can be anything from 36 up to 120 months (10 years) direct to Hitachi Capital. You don’t owe Salop Energy anything and we won’t ask you for a penny.
What happens if I change my mind?
As with every Salop Energy system, there is a 14 day cooling off period and after signing the Loan Agreement with Hitachi there is a 14 day cooling off period. Obviously if the system has been installed you would need to pay Hitachi the upfront cost of the loan but you wouldn’t incur any interest charges inside 14 days.
How long do I get FiT payments / at what rate / is this affected by SolarSense?
Your FiT payments are completely unconnected to SolarSense and you’ll get exactly the same payments as if you paid for the system upfront with your own money. Currently the Feed-in Tariff is for 20 years and any system up to 4 kW in capacity will receive a payment of 16.0p for every kWh generated. Typically a 4 kW system facing directly south and with a roof pitch between 30 and 45 degrees will yield around 3,600 Kwh’s per annum.
What is the difference between Free Solar ‘Roof Renting’ Schemes and SolarSense?
With Free rent a roof systems, a company will own the system and rent your roof for 20 years. As a result, the FiT goes direct to them and you get the electricity for free. With SolarSense, you own the system and get the FIT and all the electricity savings directly.
Who insures the panels for this?
Most home insurance companies automatically cover solar but we always recommend informing them once they are installed.
What guarantees do you offer?
We offer a 10 year workmanship guarantee and 5 year guarantee on all parts. The panels are covered by a performance guarantee for 25 years.
What happens if I move house and the new person doesn’t want the system?
SolarSense is the same as getting any solar system or energy efficiency system - typically people are anxious to move into house with lower energy bills.
Are prices coming down and if so, why shouldn’t I wait before installing solar?
Prices are no longer coming down, in fact prices for solar modules have bottomed out and are expected to rise by spring 2013. Among a number of factors driving costs back up will be Chinese manufacturers scaling down production after failing to dominate the world markets as planned.
The Feed-in Tariffs in the UK, however, are falling with the government’s new digression model, meaning cuts potentially to new entrants of 3.5% per quarter. What we’ve seen in the last few years is that the FiT has dropped more than prices so the sooner you act, the more likely you are to cover your costs.
What is SAP and how do you use this to estimate my annual electricity generation?
SAP is the government’s standard way of assessing how much electricity solar panels produce in England. Each region in the United Kingdom has a SAP rating based on many years of recorded climate data.
The SAP figures produced for your system by our design specialists will accurately forecast the performance and energy yield that your PV system will produce annually.
I'm a landlord, am I still eligible for SolarSense?
SolarSense is offered as a domestic consumer loan only. Landlords are only eligible if they live in the property themselves, i.e. if they share it with their tenants or lodgers.