If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you could benefit from a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariff. The Smart Export Guarantee is a support mechanism designed to ensure small-scale generators are paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. This has been in place since 1 January 2020.
Which renewable energy installations are eligible?
The following renewable energy installations are eligible for the smart export guarantee:
Solar PV systems, onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, hydro – up to 5MW.
Micro-CHP – with an electrical capacity of up to 50kW.
Any typical domestic system would be well within these size limits.
The technology and installer used by householders 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.
You will also need to registered a smart meter that records your exported electricity, even if you’re not signing up to a smart tariff.
How much will I receive for exporting electricity?
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. This means that it's up to energy suppliers to decide what tariffs to offer their customers. They may choose to offer multiple tariffs or just one
(Feb.2022) Octopus Energy increased its smart export guarantee (SEG) tariff to 7.5p/kWh, topping the tariffs on offer in the UK).
SEG tariffs can be fixed or variable. A fixed SEG tariff will pay a determined rate per kWh of electricity exported over the length of the contract. A variable SEG tariff will vary the price based on market demand, with the only requisite that prices never fall below zero.
Ofgem publishes a list of SEG licensees every year. We recommend you contact the energy supplier directly for information on their available SEG tariffs.
Can I combine SEG with other grants and financial support?
Yes. The only exception is if you already receive payments under the FIT scheme. You cannot receive both FIT export and SEG payments, although you can choose to opt out of your FIT (export) payments and receive SEG payments instead, while continuing to receive FIT generation payments.
SEG payments are not linked to other financial support around renewable energy installations. This means that, if eligible, you could combine SEG payments with other financial support. You will also not be able to receive SEG from more than one supplier.
SEG and energy storage
If you’ve added energy storage to your solar PV installation, you can still apply for SEG, but there might be a few rules, depending on your SEG contract. Your battery can store electricity from the grid at off peak rates but exporting this (brown electricity) is not payable under the SEG as you have simply charged your battery from the grid and can't expect to get paid SEG for then exporting it.
Suppliers will only pay the SEG for green electricity, ie the electricity your solar PV system generates itself. If this is the case, the supplier will ask you to show how you separate out the green electricity you generate from any imported brown electricity. We simply install a meter to give you net metering.
Alternative finance arrangements
In addition to SEG, energy suppliers are offering similar deals by paying customers set tariffs for electricity they export to the grid. Deals are specific to each household and could involve your generation and supply being metered. Deals may also be time limited and have other conditions, such as requiring you to purchase your supplied electricity from the same supplier. You should consider all terms and conditions carefully in order to make the best choice.
The Solar Energy UK website lists the current deals available.