Step by step guide

1. Can I join?

a) Me

  • As a rule of thumb, if you currently pay your electricity bill, you will be able to join the co-operative and get free solar.

b) My roof

  • If the sun shines on your roof, it’s likely to be suitable for solar.
  • South-facing is great, East and West will usually work.
  • Flat or pitched, shed or shop.
  • Find your roof on the Bristol Solar Map

c) Location of property

  • Anyone in the Bristol area can join.
  • Check the Bristol Areas page to find out where we are currently focusing on.

2. Contact Bristol Power Co-op

  • If you’d like to join, or have any questions, then call us or send us a message. Contact details are on the Contact Us page.
  • We’ll arrange to have a conversation at a time that works for you.
  • We’ll then arrange to visit you at your property to conduct a survey to confirm that a solar installation is technically and financially viable.

3. Sign up / join Bristol Power Co-op

What am I signing up to?

  • Free solar panels and free electricity
  • A 20 year lease agreement [View/Download a copy of the agreement].
  • Membership of Bristol Power Co-op.
  • You’ll need to inform your insurance company and if you have a mortgage, the lender. We can help with that.

How much do I have to pay?

  • You pay nothing.
  • All costs are covered by Bristol Power Co-op.

4. Installation of your solar panels

  • We’ll agree a date and time of installation to suit you.
  • All equipment is installed by members of the Bristol Area Solar Installers’ Co-operative, BASIC.
  • What gets installed?
    • Solar panels - typically between 8 and 14 self-cleaning panels on a standard roof.
    • An inverter – a wall-mounted box either in the loft, basement or on the outside of the house.
    • A small additional meter and two circuit break switches – these need to be installed next to your fuse box and electricity supply meter.
    • Cabling – normally run on the outside of the house or along hidden conduit inside the house.
  • Scaffolding goes up and down in a day, minimising security risks to householders.
  • You pay nothing. All costs are covered by the Bristol Power Co-op.
  • All work is fully covered by insurance and warranty.

5. Using your solar panels

  • All electricity generated by your solar panels is free for you to use.
  • Any maintenance or repairs to the equipment will be paid for by Bristol Power Co-op.
  • You still pay for electricity not generated by your panels e.g. at night.
    • Through the buying power of the co-operative, we’ll be able to buy cheaper electricity for all members.
    • You can programme your household appliances – or use timer switches - to make the most of your solar-generated electricity.
  • Any unused electricity is fed back in to the national grid, which makes money for the co-operative.
  • Use your co-operative membership to decide how to spend any money made.
  • Choose and benefit from other money-saving energy initiatives.
  • You own your roof. Bristol Power Co-op – which you’re a member of – owns the panels.
  • If you sell your house during the lease period, the roof lease agreement that covers that solar installation stays with the house and transfers to the new owner.

6. After the 20 year lease period

  • You take on full ownership of the panels, and continue to get free solar electricity.
  • You’re still a member of Bristol Power Co-op, and still get all the benefits of being a member.


Questions or comments?

Please see our Contact Us page for details on how to get in touch.  We’ll do our best to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

Background information

What is the Bristol Power Co-op?

  • Electricity company owned and run by its members
  • Members benefit from free solar installation and free electricity
  • Surplus electricity generates money to pay for further installations
  • Installing solar electricity across the entire Bristol area

Who’s behind it?

  • Bristol Power Co-op was set up by a community interest company, Bristol Power CIC.

Why solar?

How is this possible?

Streets of Solar
  • We have much lower installation costs when we can cover ten houses in a street at a time.
  • When we buy the equipment in bulk we get a good discount.
  • Investors have a guaranteed return, through the Feed-In Tariff (see below).
Feed-In Tariff (FIT)
  • We can finance the scheme because we can guarantee it will pay for itself through the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT).
  • This means we can sell any unused electricity to the national grid at an agreed rate (the FIT). This money is used to pay back our investors.
  • Any profit left over is invested according to the wishes of the members of Bristol Power Co-op.
  • Further info re FIT on the Department for Energy and Climate Change website
One comment on “Step by step guide
  1. Shirley Paul says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, Do we have to be a member of the Co-op first, how do i become a member of the Co-op?

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