While the whole concept of free solar panels also described on Radio 4, works for some who cannot afford but would like Solar panels to assist in supplementing their daytime electricity use, it does have a seedy side to it!
Most of the Free Solar companies are simply investment groups looking for a fast buck, and are quite happy to let 'sales' companies go and sell systems for them and buy the completed sale from them.
As you can imagine, this practice is bringing the free solar industry into disrepute, and the REAL assurance scheme are about to beef up the rules over this practice in the next few months to stop this practice.
Not only free solar is affected, to a lesser extent some sales only companies have been set up to simply sell the product and then sub contract the work off to a real installer to actually do the work. Obviously, some larger companies like EDF & Tesco who carry out this practice we would hope keep some control over what happens on the actual installation, but the best bet for any potential Solar PV owner is to look for an installer who has a track record and will be accountable, plus now that PV module prices are dropping, payback times are usually only 7 - 8 years.