Big Six utility, E.ON UK and major US solar installer, Sungevity have partnered to launch a residential solar programme in the UK.

The ‘Go Solar’ programme will initially target homeowners in the midlands and the north of the country before being expanded into other regions.

Sungevity will supply its remote solar design software and iQuote online quote generation service with any installed system also benefitting from the installer’s 20-year ‘SunSure’ guarantee, which provides a payment to consumers to cover any shortfall if a system doesn’t produce at least 95% of the electricity generated at the time of install.

Susana Quintana-Plaza, senior vice president for technology and innovation at E.ON, said the partnership was an “exciting opportunity” for the utility to enter the country’s residential solar market.

“It very much fits our strategic aims in terms of customer focus and the potential for home-based renewables…Customers will be offered an innovative and high quality service backed by our established and trusted brand,” she added.

E.ON UK parent company E.ON SE was one of a number of participating investors in a $70 million (£44.7 million) investment round, which resulted in the two companies partnering to launch similar solar initiatives for the Dutch market in June 2014 and the German market in May this year.

Andrew Birch, chief executive at Sungevity, said: “Our UK expansion is a prime example of how a global utility and solar provider can work collaboratively to change the energy landscape across the world. Extending our alliance with E.ON to the UK is another key step toward enabling a more sustainable global future for generations to come.”

The move will see the introduction of what is likely to be a major competitor given E.ON UK's extensive reach enter the market, however the sector is facing increasing uncertainty given expected changes to the small-scale feed-in tariff. Earlier this month thinktank Policy Exchange labelled it an “enormously generous” scheme calculating the average rate of return to be around 12% at the current feed-in tariff rate, far higher than the 5-8% originally envisaged by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

E.ON UK is currently ranked as the fifth largest utility in the country with approximately 5.2 million customers and last year announced a major switch in policy, moving from its previous fossil fuel-focus to stake its future on renewable energy generation.

In December the utility’s chief executive Johannes Teyssen cited dramatic changes in market conditions as the impetus to divide the company into two, effectively spinning off its conventional business and retaining E.ON as a dedicated renewable energy entity.

Teyssen said at the time the company was “convinced” it needed to respond to global energy markets and technical innovation with the aim of “tapping the growth potential” created by renewable energy.