Lease vs 'Non-Lease' Solar Buyback options - Which one? 
If you’re looking to release equity from your solar PV system, you have two options. You could sell your panels and lease the airspace above them or sell your Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and entering into an agreement with a third party to novate the tariff. strongly believe that an airspace lease (selling your panels) is the best option for solar homeowners - entering into a Council of Mortgage Lender (CML) compliant lease. So what's the difference? 
Both options involve transfer of all future FiT payments for a cash lump sum, often there is a gulf between the valuations, and the details of each solar buyback product are very different. 
By selling your solar panels, the third party fund purchasing the system will own your panels, and as part of the deal will have a lease for the airspace above them, for the duration of the remaining FiT. They will not place any charge or restriction against your property at Land Registry, and once your FiT term is up and the lease term expires, the lease will be cancelled and the ownership of the panels (and their benefits) returns to you. 
If you sell your FiT (novate the ownership to a third party), you will still own the panels and there will be no lease, however, the purchasing company registers a restriction against your property at Land Registry. This means that you’ll need to seek their permission to sell your home, and will need to ensure the buyer signs up to the same agreement and restriction, giving the purchasing company certain powers and control over your home. 
Why choose to sell your panels? 
Selling your panels using doesn’t mean giving away ownership to any part of your home, just a temporary lease of your airspace. This lease is registered at Land Registry, and to do so requires CML compliance. The CML ensure the homeowner is protected and have reviewed, and approved this type of airspace lease. The lease is attached to the property, not the owner, so if you wish to sell your house you can easily do so without being held up by your solar panels. 
What's the issue with selling your FiT? 
When you sell your FiT, you’re basically signing a contract allowing the purchasing company to register a ‘Restriction’ with the Land Registry office. This gives them certain powers and control over your property, and means you’ll need their permission before you sell your home. You’ll also have to convince your buyer to agree to take on the contract, and all its terms, before the company will allow the sale to go forward. FiT sale contracts can also cause problems with mortgages, as they don’t comply with the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ guidelines. 
So which should you choose? 
More often than not, as there is more risk involved for the purchasing company, the ‘no lease’ option provides lower valuations than a lease approach. However, if you were to view the lease and non-lease options side by side, when it comes to solar buyback or releasing solar equity from your solar PV panels, the difference is apparent – are you comfortable with a third party having control over what you do with your home? No, then your choice is an obvious one – selling your solar panels via an approved, regulated airspace lease like the one offered by is the only option. 
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