Solar Feed-in Tariff UK

This post explains the history and current status of the UK Solar Feed-in Tariff and the new scheme which replaced it, the Smart Export Guarantee.

What is a Feed-in Tariff?

A feed-in tariff pays people for energy they produce at home and export to the National Grid. 

The UK Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme was designed by the government to promote the uptake of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation.

Introduced on 1 April 2010, the scheme required participating licensed electricity suppliers to make payments on electricity generated and exported by accredited installations.

solar feed-in tariff UK

Has the UK Solar Feed-in Tariff scheme ended?

Yes, the FIT scheme closed to new applicants on 1 April 2019.

Are UK Solar Feed-in Tariffs still available?

No, but you can claim the Smart Export Guarantee instead – see below.

Does the closure of the scheme affect accredited installations?

No, the closure of the FIT scheme doesn’t affect installations which are already registered and receiving FIT payments. The FIT was always designed to provide payments for a guaranteed period, usually 20 years, from the date of installation. 

In order to keep receiving FIT payments you have to abide by the ‘statement of FIT terms’ (that you signed up to with your FIT licensee) for the duration of the contract. The terms include informing your FIT licensee about any changes including:

  • The installation of battery storage with your FIT installation
  • Replacing or moving metering
  • Replacing generating equipment
  • Adding capacity

Can I sell my UK Solar Feed-in Tariff?

You can’t realistically sell your actual Feed-in Tariff without selling your home, but you could possibly take your PV panels with you and reinstall them on your new home. However we do not advise this because the cost of removing, moving and reinstalling the panels would rarely make sense compared with selling your PV set-up with your home and installing a new, more efficient system on your new home. 

If you are receiving FIT payments and you sell your home, you can pass ownership of the Feed-in Tariff to the new owner by notifying your FIT licensee about the change of ownership.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The FIT scheme was replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) on 1 January 2020. Like the FIT scheme, it pays you for electricity you export to the grid.

Under the scheme, all large energy suppliers must provide at least one SEG tariff – and a couple of the offers are reasonable – so the guarantee still provides a good incentive to install solar PV at home. Plus, you can change who you export to as new deals become available.

The downside of the SEG is that payments are normally lower than FIT payments were because they’re based on actual exports as measured by your smart meter. Owners of older installations with spinning-disc type meters sometimes found their electricity meter going backwards as they were not designed for exported energy.

What types of energy generation are eligible for SEG?

The technologies covered by the SEG scheme are the same as were covered by the FITs, namely:

  • Solar photovoltaics (PV)
  • Wind
  • Micro combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Hydro
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)

As with the FIT scheme, there are limits to the capacity of these systems, of 5 megawatts, or up to 50 kilowatts for micro-CHP.

Solar PV is the most appropriate technology for most homes, although wind power can be very effective in remote locations. To make the most of your renewable energy you will also want to make your home as efficient as possible to maximise your savings – check out our top 10 energy saving tips.

Who offers the best export tariff for solar?

At the time of writing (Jan 2023) Tesla has the best export deal, but you need a Tesla Powerwall to qualify. If you don’t have one of those and aren’t planning on getting one (about £9,000 to install) the best deal is from Octopus Energy.

Outgoing Octopus

Outgoing Octopus is the SEG tariff from Octopus Energy. The tariff has two options, fixed and agile. The fixed tariff guarantees exporters 15p/per kWh (metered export) whilst the agile tariff matches half-hourly prices with day-ahead wholesale rates.

Which is the best option? If you have a battery storage system agile is the best bet because it allows you to sell your electricity at the times it is most valuable.

To be eligible you need to meet the following conditions:

  • Sign up to Octopus for supply and export. Export only customers will receive 4.1p/per kWh
  • A SMETS2 smart meter (or SecureTM SMETS1) to send half hourly export meter readings
  • You must not be receiving export payments from a Feed-in Tariff
  • Your solar PV systems will need to be MCS / Flexi-Orb certified

Tesla Energy Plan

Tesla has teamed up with Octopus Energy to provide their Tesla Energy Plan, which is designed exclusively for solar and Powerwall owners.

The plan offers the best flat export (24-26p per kWh) and import (24-26p per kWh) rates available in the UK to date allowing homeowners to participate in the energy market by importing and exporting to and from their batteries in accordance with the changes in pricing to make the most from their solar PV and Powerwall batteries.

To be eligible you need to meet the following conditions:

  • Have one or more Powerwall 2 batteries
  • Your solar PV systems will need to be MCS certified
  • Compatible smart meter
  • Daytime consumption (from 07:00-19:30) less than 9,500 kWh per year, per-Powerwall-installed

As the UK continues its transition towards renewable energy, understanding the nuances of schemes like the Solar Feed-in Tariff becomes crucial. If you’re seeking opportunities to contribute to the renewable energy sector, explore sponsorship electrician jobs on the Jooble platform.