Solar outlook can turn cloudy

Things may not be so sunny for homeowners warmed by the offer of free solar panels.

It’s fine for those who can afford to buy them, because they get Government grants via the feed-in tariff.

And it’s not so bad for the cash-poor who are being offered roof-lease deals, where companies install free panels to get the grants and the homes get the free energy.

But I’m predicting clouds on the horizon for lease-deals if companies are lax on customer service.

There will be all sorts of confusion down the line, over who “owns” the roof at the end of the day and what happens when the house is sold?

Have people had the deal clearly explained to them, or in a fiercely competitive market can they claim to have been pressured into signing when fears about fuel poverty clouded their thinking?

I predict Watchdog-type programmes featuring angry consumers charging companies charged with mis-selling to pocket a 25-year income stream.

Environmental consultants are increasingly warning social landlords and local authorities to take time and care when choosing from the many rent-a-roof vendors,

Companies need to take care they can’t be accused of miss-selling by steamed-up clients.  If not, they’ll need a crisis PR plan in the wings.

Kay Williamson