free solar panels housing associations

Imitation is the best form of flattery“. Charles Colton.

North Star Solar’s offer to install 100% of roofs with free rooftop solar PV is creating waves, concern even. This must be surely a good thing? Shaking this industry is needed to get an even balance. The ‘some’ are banks, one in particular which feels having had a free reign on financing free rooftop solar PV with little competition has to now change its model of levying eye-wateringly high interest rates. Three cheers for competition.

North Star’s view differs from banks ultimately because we are not greedy. With financing directly from pension funds, we understand (and pension funds do too) that financing free solar PV commands low financing rates because of the implied government subsidies. Comparable Index Linked Gilts today trade on a yield of minus 80 basis points. So financing at 6% to 8% makes no sense, the model is flawed and creates out-sized profits for banks which add no value to the deal.

A bank which we all know has just recently upped the level of rooftops they will install from 25% to 75%. Great to know we’re getting to them though it’s still not 100%. Try harder please. This bank offers social landlords the facility of buying 25% of roofs in a social roof portfolio at £1.10 per watt in 2 years time, an option. But what this bank seems to forget, or chooses to ignore is social landlords own or manage these roofs, and these roofs have a value. North Star recognises this important fact and feels profit sharing, creating social capital for communities is THE thing which housing associations, councils and communities need most.

So North Star will match this banks offer by offering this very same option for 1 Pence per Watt, not £1.10 per Watt. In fact we give this for free but if a value needs to be ascribed then let’s put it at the lowest value so our offer can be compared like for like. Furthermore, North Star will pay social landlords the same amount as this banks 25% equates to from the very start, it is something we have maintained from the beginning. So you don’t need to wait for 2 years.

A point also not made clear with this banks financing option is if the option is taken up, it is incumbent on the social landlord to replace the financing with their own. Er, sorry this makes no sense – the financing should be transferable. North Star’s finance is fixed for 20 years and with these ultra low rates who knows where interest rates will be in 2 years time? The probability is higher as opposed to lower. So check the fine print in this option, not only is the deal not good it does not make economic sense. So yes, try before you buy or just try North Star because our offer comes at no cost with no strings attached. It is not a money-back guarantee because we pay all the costs and stand by this principle – it is our risk and we share the reward from the beginning.

Too good to be true? Not really it comes down to just not being greedy. Furthermore, our solar panels are all optimised using Tigo optimisers, we feel better, safer and offer far superior performance. Ask others who use bank financing if their panels are optimised? They should be for solar PV rooftop installations.

And let’s not forget digital inclusion. The North Star free solar PV offer comes with free broadband attached too. Others use commonly analogue SMS messaging for transmitting performance data, truly something belonging to the analogue world of the past.

Peter Sermol

Managing Director

North Star Solar Ltd

© 2016 North Star Solar