Denbighshire-based installer Carbon Zero has launched a so-called ‘Solar Owners Club’, offering consumers insurance for their solar installs in what’s claimed to be a first for the industry.

The service has been aimed at both consumers and installers, offering both parties individual benefits for their membership. Central to the consumer benefits however is solar panel insurance provided by Aviva, covering both component breakdown and loss of feed-in tariff.

This insurance has been designed specifically to cater for consumers without a warranty covering their install in a move which could prove prescient given the number of installation businesses that have gone out of business since the feed-in tariff reset.

The insurance will guarantee feed-in tariff payments during any period in which a customer’s installation is faulty. This could prove particularly lucrative for older installations benefitting from higher FiT rates.

Consumers will also receive free telephone support, discounted inspection and cleaning services and further discounts on any new products they might wish to purchase.

Installers signed up to the scheme with Carbon Zero will however benefit by assisting in the provision of these services, acting as a further source of work.

Customers must have an annual installation clean to comply with Aviva’s insurance. Carbon Zero books and plans the work before arranging with the installer, who is then paid for carrying out the service.

Gareth Jones, chief executive at Carbon Zero, said that the PV industry had been left in a “difficult situation” in which installers had closed, leaving behind poorly-fitted or faulty systems.

“The solar industry has had a turbulent few years for both installers and consumers. As a passionate solar enthusiast I am concerned that over the next few years the industry will get a bad name as systems fail and consumers are left in the lurch, with no support from out of business installers or manufacturers no longer trading.

“This maybe through no fault of both parties but the result means no support. That is where the Solar Owners Club steps in. We will provide a long-term support network for these consumers for years to come.

“We are looking to work with experienced installers nationwide, who provide exceptional service within the industry. We are looking to create long-term partnerships to provide backup and support for UK consumers,” he said.

The first 1,000 customers to sign up for the scheme will receive it for £179 per year.

Solar panel insurance is offered by other providers in the market such as Northern Alliance, however without the added benefits Carbon Zero has included in its Solar Owners Club package.

Solar Owners Club has been established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carbon Zero Group, with Jones serving as its director.