Turn your solar panels into ready money. Buyback company offers ‘sunshine windfall’ to people who need cash now. “Feed-in-tariffs are long. Life is short. Why not make the most of it?” said the flyer from Solar Buyback Solutions (SBS). It sounded too good to be true: a classic example of what the EU’s Brexit negotiators call “cake philosophy”. Could the solar panels on my roof really give me a free gift of more than £13,000 while allowing me to benefit from free electricity every sunny day for the next 18 years? Like thousands of others, my family bought solar panels in the boom year of 2011, the last before the coalition government led by David Cameron began to claw back the incentives to go green. We spent £12,800. In return, we were given 43.3p for each kilowatt hour (kWh) we generated – about £1,600 a year, index-linked until the cut-off date of 2036. In addition, we got free electricity when the sun was shining. We still do. It pays us to time energy-intensive activities such as laundry to coincide with sunny days. Since installation, the “feed-in-tariff” paid by the government has risen by almost 22 per cent. From next month it will be 52.75p per kWh, enough to earn us more than £12 on a sunny summer’s day. At this rate we expect to have covered our initial investment in a few months’ time. So why should we take up SBS’s offer? The company, based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, wrote to us out of the blue six weeks ago after obtaining our details from a national database. I was curious. I made contact and asked for a buyback calculation. I was told that SBS could offer us £13,428, conditional on a free survey. It estimated that we would earn £26,992 from the feed-in tariff during the remaining contract.
FT 4th April 2018 read more »