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Smart Export Guarantee Comes into Force, Giving Payments to Small Scale Renewable Generators

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Homes and businesses which generate their own renewable power will finally be entitled to payments for the energy they export to the grid, as the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is switched on today.

Under the Smart Export Guarantee, large energy suppliers are required to pay operators of wind, solar, hydropower and combined heat and power installations for their surplus energy. 

For most of the year, following the controversial scrapping of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) in April, those generators had no legal guarantee of payment. Some energy suppliers offered their own export tariffs, but in some cases, generators were left exporting energy to the grid for free.

The scrapping of the FiT scheme sent solar panel installations tumbling by 94%. And although the Smart Energy Guarantee is less generous, allowing energy suppliers to set their own rates for buying energy, it should give a boost to small-scale renewables.

Chris Hewitt, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association (STA), said it would “sweeten the deal” for the solar developers he represents.

"After a nine-month policy gap, the new Smart Export Guarantee should help boost interest in solar as leading electricity suppliers compete with each other to offer attractive payments for clean power exported to the grid,” he said. "As more and more households take steps to do their bit in the fight against the climate emergency, we hope that today's SEG launch will have a positive impact on the market and help the solar industry to build on our track-record of a million solar homes delivered to date.”

14 energy suppliers, including the Big Six and renewable providers Bulb and Octopus Energy, will be offering tariffs, at different rates, for generators to choose among. 

Homes and businesses interested in selling back to the grid will need to have their installation certified and have a smart meter to keep track of how much energy they’re generating, using and exporting.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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