British Gas is to provide solar power for homes across the UK after realising the potential this technology has to earn the customer a wedge of profit alongside green energy generation. The energy provider has conducted research into the amount each customer could earn based on the size and location of their roof and then composed two business models to enable them to do this.

According to British Gas’ investigation, Britain’s homes could earn between £600 and £1,000 a year from roof top solar panels. Over 12 million households have roofs that could benefit from solar panel installations which would produce enough electricity for up to half their household needs.These energy savings combined with the payment from the government’s feed-in tariff mean that collectively, these homes could earn a total of £7bn a year.

British Gas predicts that within a decade, one quarter of households will have small-scale microgeneration technology in their homes. The company also estimates that average rooftop could save up to 692kg of CO2 each per yearmeaning that as a nation, the UK could make a saving of over 8.5 million tonnes of CO2.

By realising the huge potential solar power has in the UK, British Gas announces a major ramp up of its solar offering for British homes. Through, mySolar Energy, British Gas will provide an end-to-end solar installation service, carrying out a thorough energy assessment of the home, installing the panels, providing all customers with a CEPP (Certificate of Expected Panel Performance) to demonstrate the expected value of the panel if customers were to sell the property, and helping its customers apply for the FiT. The performance of the solar PV panels is guaranteed for 25 years and all work will be carried out by fully trained British Gas staff.

British Gas will implement this initiative in two ways.

  1. Customers can choose to have the panels installed for FREE under its “rent a roof” scheme. Under this scheme the householders will benefit from the electricity they generate although they will not own the panels and so British Gas will claim the FiT payments. The deal will only be open to British Gas customers and be limited to 1500 installs to begin with.
  2. Customers can buy the solar panels outright and keep the FiT income themselves as well as benefitting from the electricity cost reductions. If this option is chosen, a two year 0% APR finance deal will be offered by British Gas, supplied by Hitachi Capital, to help the customer pay for the system. With this latter deal, consumers should be aware that they will need to keep up with repayments, which could be as much as £625 per month on a £15,000 loan across 24 months.

Financial expert, Jasmine Birtles, who has joined forces with British Gas to help consumers maximise their investment in solar energy said, “Installing solar panels will create a regular, tax-free income for homeowners. Not only that, but the income is index-linked and guaranteed by the Government for the next 25 years. As it typically gives returns of 5-8% it's potentially far better than most current bond or gilt investments. It is also a great way to keep your electricity bills down. It seems like a win-win situation to me!” 

Jon Kimber, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy said, “Solar power will revolutionise the way British homes generate and use energy. British Gas, the largest energy supplier in the UK, is leading the way, helping our customers reap the benefits of this technology to cut their electricity bills, reduce their carbon footprint and earn a yearly income. British Gas is already one of the largest installers of solar panels in the UK, and we intend to be the leading player in this sector.”

British Gas is an established provider of solar panels through its wholly owned subsidiary, Solar Technologies, and has been responsible for installing panels on many UK land mark buildings from London City Hall and the HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf through to local churches such as St Silas’ Church in London. The company recently announced its FREE solar offer for school installations – this announcement strengthens the country’s residential focus.