Legal agreements

The Big Solar Co-op signs legal agreements with all its host sites. These are designed to be as simple, clear and fair as possible.

In most cases the agreement is a lease, incorporating a power purchase agreement. The main points are covered below:

What does the agreement cover?

We lease the space above your roof and you give us rights of access to install, maintain and connect to our solar equipment.

We sell our solar power to you at a fixed rate which is cheaper than your current rate. You will keep your existing supplier for any power we cannot provide. Our energy price will go up with inflation (RPI) rather than with market prices.

How long does the agreement last?

Our standard term is 30 years, to cover the expected life of the solar panels. Of course things can change over that time, and we have planned for that in the agreement terms:

  • If you sell the property, the lease will go with the property.
  • If you need to repair the roof we will remove and re-install panels at our cost.
  • If you wish to buy the solar equipment you can do so for at fair value.
  • If you need to change the use of the building or demolish it so that our panels cannot stay on the roof we will remove them with 6 months notice and end the lease with no penalty.
  • If we decide to end the lease we will give you 6 months notice.
  • And of course if we didn’t fulfil our obligations under the lease you could end it with 6 months notice.

Who runs the solar panels?

We will install and then maintain the solar panels. We will monitor the system, rectify any faults as they develop and seek to improve performance over time where possible. We will keep our equipment insured against damage to your property or the general public. We will work with you to maximise your use of the energy our panels generate. Whatever you use is accurately metered and billed to you at your agreed rate. Any energy that isn’t used on site is exported to the grid  – for that we receive the wholesale energy price.

What are the steps to finalise legal agreements?

After analysing your site and collecting some energy use data from you, we will give you an indicative Proposal outlining our proposed power purchase price, solar design, and timeline.

The Proposal is tailored to your site based on the information we have. We are very happy to discuss the detail of the design and the proposed power price so we can come to an agreement which works for you.

At this stage we ask you to sign a simple 6-month Exclusivity agreement. It’s not legally binding but it indicates that you are happy with the proposal.

Once that has been agreed and signed we will send you a draft Legal Agreement (usually a Lease). We aim to keep costs and complexity down by:

  • Using a simple, transparent lease which does not contain hidden punitive clauses that we have seen in other solar leases.
  • Use of video calls with both parties and their representatives present to reduce costs and long email chains.

We pay any costs of registering the lease. Each party pays its own share of any other legal costs.

If you have any questions about our legal documents our project and legal teams are happy to answer any questions.