HomeSun, a British solar company, has announced that it will spend £1 billion (US$1.6 billion) on a free solar panel giveaway to British households. The method behind HomeSun’s billion-dollar madness is to promote home solar power in the UK. The free installations will be spread out over the next three years and will add solar energy to an estimated 2.5 million homes.
HomeSun plans to recoup its massive investment through earnings from government feed-in tariffs to promote solar power installation. Any excess energy produced by the free-paneled homes will be collected by HomeSun and sold back to the national grid at a premium.
Daniel Green, head of HomeSun, aims to boost renewable energy production in Britain while helping the European Union meet its carbon reduction goals on schedule. He pointed out that Germany already produces half of the world’s solar energy, but the UK has yet to show much progress in the field. He wants HomeSun, “the free power company,” to catapult Britain onto the global solar power front.
Interested UK homeowners need only go to HomeSun.com to check if their home is eligible for the free solar panel installation, a process that begins simply by “pinning” your house on an interactive map. If a home becomes one of the lucky 2.5 million, it will be equipped at no charge with a 3.5-4 kWp solar system, including maintenance for 25 years.
HomeSun also offers a deal, dubbed SolarShare, where £500 (US$800) and a $5/month service fee gets you a fully installed 2.6-kWp solar system guaranteed for 25 years. The same system from HomeSun normally costs £11,000 (US$17,500).
However, free isn’t always better. According to The Guardian in response to the “free solar panel” movement in the UK, the average homeowner would save just under US$4,400 over 25 years, or the term of the feed-in tariff. Meanwhile, a homeowner who paid for the same system through a loan at 7.7% interest paid back over 10 years (going into debt but leaving themselves freedom to make money off the FIT) would save nearly US$10,400 over the same term.
Nevertheless, HomeSun’s offer is not a bad one. Homeowners who cannot afford their own system can still adopt solar energy, at little or no cost to them, and save a few hundred bucks a year on their utility bill.