Will the grid receive my export for free?

Will the grid receive my export for free?

The Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme has been closed since the beginning of this month (April 2019), but there are still unanswered questions for what this means for many new and existing solar panel owners. In particular this blog targets those who have missed the application deadline but still want to install solar panels, and those coming to the end of their pre-existing FiT contracts. The main query we want to answer is: “does the ending of the scheme mean the grid will receive your exported electricity for free?”

Well, for the moment, yes it does.

In place since 1 April 2010, the FiT was designed as a financial incentive for home owners to install solar panels on to their rooves. Crucially, this scheme was made up of two payments:

  1. The generation tariff: a set rate for each unit (or KWh) of electricity generated.
  2. The export tariff: a further rate for each unit exported back to the electricity grid.

The scheme closed on March 31st 2019 and any households who have not successfully applied to the scheme will now no longer be able to do so.

When the end of the FiT was announced, it was initially believed that the export tariff would not be continued after the FiT deadline. This would mean that mircro-generators would not be paid for the electricity they export to the grid.  

However, this decision faced huge amounts of backlash.

Then in March 2019 the government announced their decision that householders would be able to receive the new Smart Energy Guarantee (SEG) once it comes into effect. This will replace the export tariff element of the FiT scheme and pay for the electricity exported to the grid. This news was warmly welcomed by the renewable sector, but there is still a lot of uncertainty around the SEG. It is not known when it will come into place, what rate it will be, nor what it will really look like.

The good news is however, that a small number of energy companies are leading the way in the industry and offering export tariffs for example, the leading two at present are E.On and Octopus, although Bulb is also piloting a scheme. Octopus is currently offering a deal a little better than that previously offered by the government, claiming it aims to “replace and improve” on what was offered before. They state that the tariff could earn customers up to £287 in a year. Our advice would therefore be to sign up to one of these companies that will pay you for the electricity that you export to the grid. It is worth applauding these companies who are offering this payment without being obligated to by the government.

In conclusion, although we are still awaiting more information about the government’s Smart Energy Guarantee, there are still ways to be paid for the energy you export to the grid. Which means that there are many benefits offered by generating solar electricity, despite this time of uncertainty for the solar industry. Solar panels help you to benefit from lower energy bills, there is still the opportunity to earn through an export tariff supplied by select energy companies and of course they offer you the chance to lower your carbon footprint. This means that solar panels still make sense in a post-FiT world.

Related blogs

How the Feed-in-Tariff ending in April 2019 could affect you

What assistance is available for community energy projects?

5 frequently asked questions about solar electricity

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.