Community Energy Solar FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Will this cost us anything to take up this offer?

A: No – All costs are covered by the us, including install and ongoing servicing and maintenance. However if you wish to engage independent legal advice it could incur costs for your organisation.


Q: Where does the finance come from?

A:Community Energy Plus will be seeking to raise finance from within Cornwall which aims to keep the financial benefits of debt within the county. We are also looking to provide a bond offer to allow Cornish residents and businesses to gain a direct financial return from investing in Cornish community energy schemes.


Q: What will happen if we sell the building?

A: The lease contract will need to be passed onto the new owner of the building. As standard energy prices continue to rise, having a PV system installed should improve the value of your building and its desirability to potential new owners who will be able to enjoy the benefits of cheap electricity and a buyout option if the contract is to be terminated before the term is up.


Q: Will the PV system need regular maintenance?

A: The maintenance of the technology will be our responsibility. You may need to provide regular meter readings to CEP to determine the number of units generated and used.


Q: I’ve heard about changes to Feed-in Tariffs – how safe is the income offered by this scheme?

A: This offer is only valid to buildings where it is possible to agree the contract before the next FiT degression (end of July) in order for CEP to register for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT), which may be reduced after this cut-off date. Once registered, the tariff will be fixed in a 20 year contract which will be Retail Price Index linked.

Future changes to FITs are likely to affect the availability of future tariffs but will not affect current contracts.

For further information about Feed-in Tariffs, visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s website


Q: Should we wait for…


…technology to improve?
A: The efficiency of PV technology has not improved significantly over the last 10 years.


…Installation costs to reduce
A: If you have your own funds to invest in renewable technologies you may choose to wait until market forces reduce the costs. This free solar offer will be attractive to buildings that do not have sufficient funds to invest in renewables but is only available for installation of technology before the end of July 2015.


…the FIT review to take place in July 2015?
A: This review has always been planned as part of the FIT development and may affect available returns for the installation of all technologies, with degradations in levels planned.


Q: What other opportunities are there to finance the installation of PV on my building?

Option 1: Buy the technology outright – this is a good option if you have sufficient funds available to invest in the PV technology yourself and take advantage of the full FIT income. Community Energy Plus can provide independent advice and contacts for proven, accredited local installers.

Option 2: Joint venture – you could share the costs and FIT income with an CEP. With this arrangement you would still be able to take advantage of the cheap electricity and export tariff.

Option 3: Renewables funded by co-operative community investment. For an example of this approach see Community Power Cornwall (

Option 4: Bank finance – Some mainstream banks are willing to look into opportunities for financing projects that are eligible for the Feed In Tariff, a number of packages are currently in development.


Q: How much roof space do I need to be eligible for this offer?

A: The minimum size system available through this offer is 10kW which would need approximately 150m2 of roof space.


Q: How can I tell what the orientation of my roof is?

A: You can manually use a compass or find your building on Google Maps and check its orientation using the compass in the top left corner of the screen.


Q: What if our roof needs maintenance in the future and the panels need to be removed?

A: The initial survey will check the condition of your roof and ensure that it is able to support the PV panels. We will cover the cost of the installation only once. If future maintenance is required it is likely that you will need to pay the costs associated with removing and re-installing the PV panels. If the equipment is out of service due to building maintenance it is possible that you will need to reimburse the installer/investor for their loss of income, although this will be covered in your contract. However, you may remove equipment for maintenance at two points during the term, the cost of removal and reinstatement will be yours but there will be no penalties on the loss of the FiT for removing the panels up to two times within a cumulative four week window.


Q: Will taking up this offer affect our ability to switch energy supplier in the future?

A: Your electricity export arrangements will be separate from your energy supplier contract so you will retain your ability to switch suppliers.


Q: Can we buy ourselves out of the 20 year lease if funding becomes available in the future?

A: Yes, a buy-out clause that will be related to time of installation, time of proposed sale and remaining years on the Feed-in Tariff contract.


Q: Why do I need to submit a recent electricity bill with my application?

A: Providing your latest bill will enable us to calculate the savings you may be able to make once a system is installed. You will be able to use this information when making a decision on whether or not you wish to proceed with the install. The bill will also provide us with a Meter Point Administration Number which will be required in order to progress your application.


Q: What is RPI?

A: Retail Price Index which is the projected change prices of retail goods (including energy) according to inflation.