Smart Export Guarantee – new incentive for Solar PV systems
Since the closure of the Feed in Tariff scheme in April 2019 the only benefit open to new applicants, other than a couple of “green energy” companies offering to buy electricity, was to use the self-generated electricity on site. No incentive was available for exporting any surplus electricity to the National Grid.
This changed on 1st January 2020 when legislation came into effect obliging all electricity companies supplying more than 250,000 customers to offer a tariff at which they will buy electricity generated from small-scale renewable energy sources such as solar PV, wind turbines, hydro-electric, etc. The scheme is known as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
The SEG differs in several ways from the old “export payment” element of the defunct Feed in Tariff scheme. Notably, tariff payments are calculated on the amount of electricity actually exported to the grid, which is to be measured by smart meters. A further difference is that each energy company is able to set its own SEG tariff, thereby creating a competitive marketplace to buy electricity generated from renewable sources. It is also possible for a company to offer multiple tariffs or even variable tariffs to reflect differing contract arrangements or grid demand.
Whilst still early days for the SEG, a preliminary search across half a dozen energy companies showed a wide range of tariffs available. For any owner of a renewable energy system generating electricity it will obviously pay to research what tariffs/conditions are available before signing up to an SEG contract.