Solar Panels - renting your roof space

The Energy Act 2008 aimed to incentivise property owners to improve the energy efficiency of their home by microgeneration of electricity through the installation of solar panels. However, there is more to installing solar panels than simply bolting equipment onto a roof. As a homeowner you must proceed with caution when opting to rent your roof space as by doing so you could violate the terms of your mortgage and affect the saleability of your property.

In an effort to benefit from the coalition government’s Feed In Tariff Scheme, some companies are looking to rent roof space from homeowners on which to install solar panels so that they can sell the energy generated back to power suppliers at a profit.

As roof space leases usually run for at least 25 years and quite often do not contain break clauses allowing a homeowner to end the Lease early, you may find yourself in a position where you are tied into an agreement for a considerable length of time. It is also important to ensure that you have the consent of your mortgage lender before you enter into such an arrangement. In addition, whilst specific Permitted Development exemptions from applying for planning permission exist for solar panel installation on both residential and non-residential buildings, there are strict size and location limitations to which the installation must conform. If the weight of the solar panels is greater than 15% of the dead weight of the existing roof – and typically panels will exceed that limit – then building regulation approvals must also be sought, and an engineer’s assessment of an existing roof structure should be obtained before panels are affixed.

At Hunt & Coombs our Commercial Department is able to advise you on the terms of the proposed Lease and correspond with your mortgage company to ensure the relevant consents are obtained.

Please contact Gemma Tipping if you would like more information.

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.