The End of the Feed-in-Tariff and Start of the Smart Export Guarantee

From the end of March 2019, getting paid for the mere fact that you generated electricity from a renewable energy technology ended. The end of the Feed-in-Tariff, to a large extent, shows a level of maturity that has been reached within the Low and Zero Carbon (LZC) technology sector, but has anything been put in place to replace it, you may well ask?  Well, the answer is yes, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), came into force on 1 January 2020.

The SEG is a mechanism to pay people who generate small amounts of renewable energy for the electricity they export to the grid.  It applies to people installing a renewable energy generating system using one of the following technologies:

  • Solar PV panels;
  • A domestic wind turbine;
  • Micro-hydro up to 5MW;
  • Anaerobic digestion up to 5MW;
  • Micro combined heat and power up to 50kW (mCHP).

Under the SEG, all licenced energy suppliers with 150,000 or more customers must provide at least one SEG tariff.  Smaller suppliers can offer a tariff if they want to.  If you already receive a Feed-in Tariff on your installation, this will be unaffected by the launch of the SEG.

The technology and installer used must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent. Energy suppliers may ask you to provide a MCS certificate to prove your installation meets this standard.

Exported power must be metered using a meter capable of reading exports on a half hourly basis, even if half hourly readings are not required for the tariff.  

There are no set or minimum tariffs for the SEG – the only requirement is that the tariff must be greater than zero at all times. In practice, this means that it is up to energy suppliers to decide what tariffs to offer their customers. They may choose to offer multiple tariffs or just one.

We expect the SEG tariffs to be quite straightforward to start with, probably paying a fixed rate per kWh of electricity exported.  Ofgem will report on the tariffs available, as well as how many people are on them, each year

The Solar Trade Association monitor tariffs available for electricity generated by PV arrays – see https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/seg/

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