Firm cashes in on race to renewable energy bonanza

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Leeds-based solar energy firm Oakapple Renewable Energy Ltd has formed five partnerships with installers across the UK only weeks after announcing a £100m investment programme.

The partnerships, which include Hudson Solar in Leeds and NSA in Leicester, will see the firm provide the finance to enable the installers to fit free solar panels for building owners who do not want to invest in the systems themselves.

In effect, Oakapple will pay the installers for fitting and supplying, as well as maintaining and insuring the system for 25 years. In return Ookapple will have a roof or land lease over the areas where the panels are mounted.

For the period of the contract customers, both commercial and residential, will have free access to all the electricity generated that they can use, with Oakapple receiving the ‘Feed in Tariff’ payments (FITs) and export tariff income. At the end of the contract customers will continue to benefit from free electricity fed back into the grid.

Philip Taylor, managing director of Oakapple, said the strategic partnerships will be of great benefit to both parties.

“Through the alliance with OAREL installers now have the opportunity to secure an installation with those who people who want to benefit from the free electricity generated by the solar panels, but who cannot afford to have them fitted,” he said.

“The benefit to OAREL is that we will be able to benefit from additional sales teams throughout the UK at no additional cost to the company.

“The partnerships will give both parties the opportunity to benefit from the demand for small-scale solar installations which are predicted to grow from 20,000 in 2011 to 680,000 in 2020.”

A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund-UK predicts that Britain could be meeting 90 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy, including solar power, by 2030, without the need for nuclear power.

Interest in renewables has increased dramatically since major energy providers announced soaring price increases for gas an electricity.