How to lease solar panels for your school

Discover the affordable route to getting solar panels into your school with our latest blog. Solar panel technology is evolving…

Abbey Griffiths
Abbey Griffiths
Published: February 26, 2024

Discover the affordable route to getting solar panels into your school with our latest blog.

Solar panel technology is evolving at breakneck speed, with some incredible recent developments including solar cells that can be printed onto flexible surfaces. Mind-blowing stuff!

Here at Utility Rentals, we were just as amazed to learn that the concept of solar technology has been around since 1839. That’s when the French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect – aged just 19! Definitely a fact to inspire the budding scientists in your school.

Talking of inspiring your students, low-carbon initiatives are a great way for schools to show their longer-term commitment to pupils and the environment. And with all of us looking for ways to cut our energy bills, solar power is certainly a hot topic.

Before we look at how easy it is to lease solar panels for your school with Utility Rentals, let’s remind ourselves of the benefits of this brilliant technology.

The benefits of switching to solar

Putting green credentials into practice

A  low-carbon and genuinely renewable energy source, solar panels can help power your school with less reliance on fossil fuels and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. And, by giving students a healthier environment and a firsthand understanding of sustainable technologies, they are perfect for teaching environmental responsibility, too.


With no moving parts, you don’t have to worry about wear and tear on your solar panels, and there is very little need for maintenance or repair work. Once they’re installed, you can pretty much forget about them, and just enjoy the savings.

Reducing energy costs

You don’t need us to tell you that energy costs can be huge for schools and other educational settings. For many, they are the biggest outlay after staff costs. That means, of course, that solar panels have massive potential to save you money. 

As we revealed in our previous blog on solar panels, today’s solar panels could pay for themselves in as little as five years. And, don’t forget, they will protect you from future increases in energy costs as well.

How our operating leases can help

There’s no doubt that installing energy-efficient solar panels can significantly reduce your energy bills. And they are becoming more mainstream as prices continue to fall (down nearly 90% over the last decade).

But what if you only want to use the technology, not buy it? Utility Rentals can help your school make the switch to solar power with no capital outlay, by spreading the whole cost of the project with a flexible rental agreement that has been specially designed for the education sector. 

In fact, most of the time, schools do not need to find any capital to make their solar projects happen. That’s because the savings on your electricity bill can be used to pay for the lease!

As the UK’s longest-running school equipment leasing company, we understand the pressures on your budget, as well as the drive to deliver sustainability across educational settings. And as the price of energy and equipment continues to spiral, we also know that the ‘cost v climate’ dilemma is impossible to ignore.

Our fully compliant operating leases meet all the relevant sector standards, and because they are hire rather than credit arrangements, payments are kept low and there is no upfront expenditure or related financial risk. This frees up your valuable funds to invest in other school resources and facilities.

There’s a choice of rental periods to suit you, and our flexible payment profiles mean you can make payments quarterly or annually, to suit your budget. Having predictable fixed payment amounts for the rental term ensures easy budgeting as well as protecting you against inflation.

You’ll also be pleased to know that our paperwork is refreshingly simple and our terms are transparent. What’s more, our friendly team of experts is on hand to talk through everything with you to make sure you have all the information you need before going ahead. 

How does it work?

Unlike grants and other funding streams, our solar panels lease has no application process – every school, academy, college and university is automatically eligible. That means there is no “cost of delay” while you wait to see if your funding application has been successful. You can just get on with generating your own energy from solar panels.


1. The first step is to get in touch with us to talk about your requirements. We have already worked with a number of schools that have made the switch to solar power or are in the process of doing so, so we have plenty of expertise and real experience to share with you.


2. Our expert partners will design a solar panel system that meets the particular requirements of your building. As well as the number and type of the panels themselves, the design will include additional components like an inverter and battery storage system.


3. We will send you a transparent, jargon-free lease proposal for breaking it down into manageable payments – these will usually be annual or quarterly.


4. Once you are happy with the lease, we will send you an electronic rental agreement. You can sign this electronically, so we can swiftly get moving with the next stage of the project: the survey.


5. Site survey: Before the solar panels are installed, a site survey will look at things like the orientation of the roof, shading, and the strength of the roof structure.


6. Installation: Nearly there! This stage sees the solar panels installed on the roof using mounting brackets. The panels are wired together and connected to the inverter.


7. Commissioning: Once the solar panels are installed, they need to be connected to the grid and commissioned. This involves testing the system to ensure it’s working correctly and safely.


8. That’s it! (Well, almost.) Once installed, solar panels generally require minimal maintenance, although you can choose to have us look after the equipment for the life cycle of the lease. Utility Rentals’ end-to-end customer service means we will be available to take care of everything from queries about payment plans to discussing your end-of-lease options. 

Want to find out more?

We would love to talk to you about solar panels! Thanks to our flexible operating leases, it really is more affordable than you might think for your school to generate its own solar-powered electricity. 

We like to think we’re the friendliest team of experts in the industry, so contact us today to talk about switching your school to the power of solar, and see how much you could save.


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