Sunday, August 28, 2011

Could Crossfields go solar powered?

Crossfielder Michele Petit-Jean sent us a copy of an email that was sent to her by freetricity a couple of days ago. It appears that, if given permission from Lewisham Homes, the estate may be able to get solar panels installed on its south-facing roofs (Frankham, Wilshaw, Holden, Farrer, Finch, Congers each have extensive south-facing roofs) for nowt.  This is the text of the email:

Free Solar Power – free installation – free maintenance and FREE electricity for 25 years!

Does that sound too good to be true?  Well, Freetricity have been supplying free solar power systems to residential householders throughout the Southern half of the UK for quite some time.  Now we can supply much larger systems to businesses anywhere in the UK – Also completely free!  (That really does mean no investment at all to you).

All you need to qualify for this completely free offer is a roof that is big enough (140 Sq. m. minimum for commercial installations) and it is facing due South or South West or South East.  Ideally, you will own the roof in question, but we can supply on any roof with the Landlord’s permission. For more information or to Apply on-line for Commercial installations, go to

You can still have free solar power from Freetricity if you are a sole trader working from home – that’s a standard residential installation for us anyway.  You still need a roof (18 Sq. m. Minimum for residential roofing), that faces roughly South and is not overshadowed, for maximum benefit.       Apply on-line for residential installations at

Why are we giving away free solar panels?

Freetricity’s partnership with a leading UK investment fund has created a scheme to enable hundreds of businesses to benefit from free solar energy.  The UK Government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) incentive scheme enables Freetricity to reclaim its capital investment (approximately £90-£150k) over the 25 year period that the scheme is due to run.  That’s why we can give you all the electricity the panels generate for the whole 25 years, for nothing!  And, you own the panels outright at the end of the 25 years.

This offer is limited to a first-come-first served basis, Installation is free and you can use the solar panels to generate your own free electricity, cutting your annual electricity bill by as much as 30% and helping you to meet your carbon reduction targets.

If you would like to discuss the Free Solar Scheme for Businesses in more detail, please contact me on 0203 167 2994 - or by email
Yours Sincerely
Michele has written to Lewisham Homes enquiring whether it would be possible for them to look into it - and they have apparently replied saying they would do so.   While it would probably be far too complicated to work out an equitable way of sharing the electricity directly between households, it would surely be possible to use the electricity to pay for the lighting on the estate and excess electricity could be fed back into the National Grid with the income from that to be distributed as a rebate on housing charges for every household on the estate.

Does anybody have any more ideas about how the electricity or the income from the electricity could be shared out?

And would anybody object to having panels on the estate's roofs?


  1. I wouldn't. I think it's a great idea. I noticed Lewisham Police station have a planning application in for some.

    Unfortunately by the time Lewisham Homes gets round to even thinking about it (say, about five or six years) all the money will be gone, and all those posh households in Brockley and Greenwish will have gobbled it up now you've publicised the freebie. Doh!

  2. There was a documentary on Totnes last week on the telly where they said about 120 low income houses have now got solar panels. If it really is free what is there to lose?

  3. Here is the link:

  4. I checked out the Freetricity offer but they said they couldn't do it because our roof isn't free of chimneys, windows, vents and other obstructions, and there is limited access for scaffolding or other installation equipment.

    I also did some googling and having established that this wasn't a scam I found that the roof needs to be able to last the 25 years that the panels are guaranteed for or else you end up paying to remove and reinstall the panels when the roof is due for repair. Plus it works so that the roof is leased to freetricity (or whoever is the supplier). Can't see a lot of leaseholders going for this...

  5. I got a reply from Lewisham:

    Thank you for the email that you sent to Andrew Potter.
    I can inform you that we are researching the possibility of erecting solar panels and we have actually completed a small number of installations to houses as a pilot study.
    There are however a number of obstacles to installing solar panels to blocks of flats, mainly arising from the fact that there is no practical way of apportioning and delivering the free electricity that is generated to all of the residents in the block.  A potential solution is to connect the solar generated electricity to the communal lighting and power circuit but there is an obvious problem in that the solar electricity is generated during the day whereas the communal lighting is mainly used at night.
    A further drawback is that should it be necessary to carry out roof repairs during the life of the solar panels the cost of removing and reinstating them would fall to Lewisham Homes and would have to be apportioned to the leaseholders.
    If it is decided to go ahead with solar panel installations following the completion of our research we will be in contact with the residents of the properties that are selected for inclusion in the programme.
    Colin Dawes BSC MRICS
    Asset Investment Manager 

    Lewisham Homes 

    0208 613 4242

  6. One of the main advantages of a solar power system for your home is the lack of pollution given off by solar panels when generating electricity.