Hi there seems to be a few people still offering free solar pv panels in exchange for the feed in tariff, giving (some?) free electricity to the householder. Does anyone know anything about the schemes and are they "real"?!
Read the small print, if it's profitable enough for a company to be interested, it's usually well worth even getting a loan to buy them yourself. Most optimally sited panel systems still pay back in well under 10 years, and FiTs are guaranteed for 25.
They are basically renting your roof from you so that they can make a profit from getting the feed-in tariff on the electricity the panels on your roof generate.
The only benefit you get is that you can consume the electricity they generate free of charge whilst they are generating it, i.e. during daylight hours. Any electricity generated that you do not use is fed back into the grid and the company gets the feed-in tariff for it.
Any electricity you use when its dark you still pay for from your electricity supplier. But of course this applies during the day too if you use more than the panels can supply, for example when you boil a kettle or have the tumble dryer on.
As they are doing it free of charge and you do get some benefit it's probably worth doing of you don't mind having the panels on your roof. But you won't get as much benefit as if you bought them yourself in order to reap the full rewards of the feed-in tariff.
Just make sure the electric meter cannot run backwards, it was on Radio 4 that if it does your electric company can estimate your useage and charge you accordingly. The way they spoke about it made it sound like it wouldnt be a low estimate either.
Loads of people around here have solar panels because the areas such a sun trap, despite being in the Midlands.