One third of all Green Deal finance loans for solar

A third of all green deal plans taken out with the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) have been used to fund solar PV installs it emerged after a record week for the company.  

According to the GDFC, UK homeowners applied for £2.5 million worth of support for energy improvement measures under the Green Deal for the week ending 19 April, pushing the total value of Green Deal plans both pending and live up to £45.6 million.

The renewed growth in Green Deal plans has been driven by solar PV which now accounts for around a third of measures installed under Green Deal finance, with boilers and solid wall insulation the next most popular measures.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Bernard Hughes of GDFC said that there has been 1,334 applications for solar in the last eight weeks alone. To put that figure in context, GDFC only had 6,000 applications to fund solar for the entirety of 2014.

At the moment GDFC is experiencing an average of 190-200 applications for solar a week, with 35 Green Deal Providers regularly using GD finance as part of the proposition. Hughes continued: “Green Deal finance – the co-funding principle – is now becoming part of the funding mix for solar and that means the product is accessible to more people and in more locations. That is obviously good for the industry and good for the customer. GD finance can make the difference from going ahead and not going ahead. We’re looking to build good partnership with the solar industry.”

The Green Deal has faced severe criticism during its first year as it struggled to gain traction. However, the latest figures would suggest that the public are becoming familiar with the ‘pay as you save’ nature of Green Deal finance. A recent report by Mintel discovered that 26% of Brits considering installing solar PV in the next five years would look to Green Deal finance to part-fund the installation.

Hughes also responded to criticism of the interest rate used for the loans, which has been described by Tim Yeo, chair of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee, as “simply not financially attractive enough for many households to go to the hassle of setting one up”.

Hughes said: “It’s important to remember that headline rates need only be available to 51% of successful applicants to permit that company to claim/advertise that loans are 4% APR etc. Rates quoted for people with a normal credit history are often much higher than that.

“The strength of GDFC finance is that it’s accessible to about 80% of the UK adult population and is unsecured. Our not-for-profit status provides us with a mandate to make the funds widely available.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is set to publish the latest Green Deal statistics on Thursday but figures to the end of February 2015 show that there were 7,903 Green Deal plans both live and pending – a noticeable increase from a disappointing December.