Solar ‘rent-a-roof’ scheme opened up to small investors

A "rent-a-roof solar" investment firm has begun selling leases on its installations to small-scale investors.

Opus Solar, based in London, is offering leases on 1,000 solar panel installations which it owns, fitted to homes in the UK.

The firm is promising returns of up to 8% to those who invest their cash, by taking advantage of feed-in-tariff paid on excess electricity generated by the units.

James Curtis, account manager at Opus Solar, part of Opus Investments Group, told Solar Power Portal: “We installed 5,000 panels last year, but we are looking to raise capital for another project so are selling leases on 1,000 of the units.”

Curtis said that the minimum investment in the 1,000 units released to investors is around £5,800, up to a maximum of around £300,000.

According to the company, warranties and insurance that it has taken out on the PV installations means that there is very little risk to the investment.

Curtis said that the firm was hoping to install enough PV panels to be able to offer 10,000 more leases next year.

In a report produced last year, consumer group Which? warned householders installing such systems through rent-a-roof companies that they would face penalties for making alterations to their home.

The report also said: “All electricity customers pay a small levy on their bill to fund the FIT scheme, and in its first year more than £10 million was paid out. Rent-a-roof schemes mean that 'free solar' companies pocketed a chunk of that cash.”

It added that profits from such schemes should be shared more fairly between the company and householder.