A solar panel subscription is a way to pay for solar panels without any initial investment. It helps you access savings on your electricity bill straight away without having to save the large amount for installation. Generally subscriptions also come with additional benefits as well like enhanced warranties and replacement of parts.

We will talk about:

  •  Solar panel subscriptions
  • How it works
  • The differences between buying and subscriptions
  • The advantages of a solar subscription
  • Selling and being compensated for your excess electricity 
  • Guarantees and warranties

What is a solar panel subscription?

A solar panel subscription is a budget-friendly alternative to the purchase of solar panels that allows immediate installation without having saved for installation costs. Traditionally solar panel systems could only be installed with full payment and outright purchase. This meant one had to save several thousands to afford the long term savings from a solar panel system. Recently Otovo has launched its popular solar subscription product in the UK. This product is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority and allows British consumers the ability to spread the cost of their installation over up to 20 years and gives the added benefit of an extended warranty. Customers own the system at the end of the term and always own the generation from the system. This relatively new solution in the UK market is incredibly useful for those who want to install PV systems without incurring upfront expenses. 

In the UK people use the term leasing or renting to describe these subscriptions as they describe an ability for consumers to break up the cost of a pricey installation over many years.

The idea behind the solar panel subscription is to allow customers to benefit from a solar installation without any upfront investment, which makes a decision of switching to solar energy much easier.

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Despite not being the owner of the solar energy system, as a homeowner you will benefit from all the advantages that self-supply offers:

  • You can save on the electricity bill right away.
  • You can get compensation for the surplus of energy you do not consume.

How does the solar subscription work?

In a nutshell this is what you should understand about the way it works:

  • As the owner of the house you authorise the installation company to place solar panels on your roof.
  • The company proceeds to install the PV system.
  • Being the owner of the system, the company undertakes to install and maintain the system and it ensures that it always works in optimum conditions.
  • As the homeowner, you own 100% of the energy generated.
  • Through monthly payments you pay for the maintenance service established in the contract.

An important thing to mention is that, some companies, in addition to the monthly subscription fee, might require a small initial investment. In the case of Otovo however, you make the first payment once the system is installed which means that you don't have to assume any pre-installation investment.

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What you should also know is that the monthly fee may vary depending on the size of the installation, which in turn depends on the consumption that you need to cover.

At the end of the contract, as a customer you have the option of buying the installation. Keeping the solar panel installation, without any subscription costs, but still producing free energy is the simplest option and the one that offers the greatest savings from that moment onwards. It can also increase the value of your home. If you choose your PV subscription with Otovo, you will also have the possibility of a buyout at any time. 

On the other hand, subscription contracts can be around 20 years, and the installations have useful lives of 30 years or more.

What are the differences between purchasing and subscription?

Broadly speaking, these are the differences between purchasing solar panels directly or having them on a subscription from Otovo:

Direct purchase Solar subscription
Certified installers Certified installers
Certified solar panels Certified solar panels
X System maintenance included
Initial investment X

Key points to consider:

  • With Otovo, there is no need for an initial payment.
  • The contract spans 20 years.
  • You have the option to buy the system at any point during the contract's duration.
  • For batteries, the contract lasts 10 years, aligning with the warranty period provided by our partnered manufacturers.
  • We provide a comprehensive guarantee.
  • As part of system maintenance, we offer replacement of any malfunctioning hardware components.

The advantages of a solar subscription system

A subscription is without any doubt a highly beneficial solution. Here's why: 

Savings in short term:

You can start reducing your electricity bills as soon as the PV system is installed. On average, comparing the amounts of the bills before and after the changeover to the solar panel system, you could achieve a reduction of 50% in consumption depending on individual circumstances and factors.

Savings in long term:

Taking into account that the monthly payment is low, the saving on the electricity bill would be enough to cover the monthly fee, therefore the main advantage of a subscription is that the payments can be covered by the reduction in the amount of the electricity bill, as this also includes the compensation for the photovoltaic energy produced, not consumed and fed into the grid.

On average a period of one year your expected savings could be greater than your payments. For example using one of our installations in Edinburgh as an example with a total cost of £7100 where a subscription would cost £61/month a customer could manage to have an average of £70 of savings/month.

Financial advantages compared to classic loans offered by banks

Another significant advantage of a subscription is in comparison to the traditional financing of solar panels through a bank loan. Typically, bank loans span 5 to 12 years. However, because a subscription lasts 20 years or more, it translates to a lower monthly payment.

Additionally, the subscription encompasses additional services not available with bank financing, such as the extended guarantee covering the equipment of the entire installation throughout the contract period.

In this scenario, the only aspect with a shorter contract duration is the solar batteries, which are set at 10 years. This is mainly due to the warranties provided by the manufacturers. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the battery will cease to operate at the end of the contract. Similar to the panels, once the contract concludes, the battery becomes the customer's property.

Sell the electricity you do not consume

The question of the compensation of surplus solar energy is one of the most frequent doubts we receive from our customers. In a nutshell, this is a compensation that each household receives for the energy produced that it does not consume and that it feeds into the electricity grid. Many people are wondering however: can this compensation be obtained despite the fact that the system is on a subscription?

Of course it is! The Smart Export Guarantee (SGE) scheme mandates electricity providers that hold a license and serve a customer base exceeding 150,000, to provide at least one tariff option for exporting electricity to qualified applicants. That means that you are eligible to sell your surplus solar energy back to the grid if you also meet other requirements like for example: having solar panels under 5 MW (far larger than any house needs) capacity and a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate for your installation. 

It is important to know however that the surplus compensation is not a business.

The tariffs (fixed or variable) are set by each energy supplier and the price per kWh is normally lower than the purchase price like for example 15p per kWh. On the other hand, as the prices might vary it's always better to compare and contrast with different mandatory and voluntary SEG lincesees

That is why at Otovo, regardless of whether you buy or have a subscription on your system, we take care of sizing it correctly to offer you the greatest savings.


Another key aspect is guarantees. When we talk about self-consumption systems, we have several guarantees to take into account:

  • The guarantee of the manufacturer of the panels.
  • The guarantee for the photovoltaic inverter.
  • The guarantee offered by the installation company.

In order to explain this part we are going to focus on the guarantee offered by the installation company, in this case Otovo. We offer a 20-year warranty included in all our solar energy system subscriptions. This means that we replace any element that does not work, even if it is not included in the warranty offered by the manufacturer. This way the monitoring and maintenance of your solar panel installation does not depend only on you. 

But why is that important?

Not all manufacturers' warranties go up to 20 years. Furthermore, in the case of purchase, the owner of the system has to deal with the manufacturer. Whereas when choosing the subscription however, you don't have to worry about these details. 


In short, a solar panel subscription is an appealing and advantageous choice especially for people who want to enjoy the benefits of solar energy and reduce their energy bills without having to make a considerable investment and at the same time have guarantees from a leading company in the market that is committed not only to its customers but also fights for a greener and more sustainable future.

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Disclaimer: Otovo Limited is an appointed representative of Product Partnerships Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.Product Partnerships Limited's FCA registration number is 626349 and its address is Suite D2 Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds LS3 1AB. Product Partnerships Limited’s permitted business is to act as a Principal for a network of Appointed Representatives who arrange regulated credit facilities for customers who are purchasing goods from them.

Otovo Limited acts as a credit broker not a lender. We will introduce you to a small panel of lenders who may be able to offer you finance facilities for your purchase. We do not receive any commission for introducing customers to any lenders. You may be able to obtain finance for your purchase from other lenders and you are encouraged to seek alternative quotations. If you would like to know how we handle complaints, please ask for a copy of our complaints handling process. You can also find information about referring a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at financial-ombudsman.org.uk

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