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Understanding the new Smart Export Guarantee

Following the Feed-In Tariff (FiT) drawing to a close in April last year, it has been a long wait for many small-scale renewable energy generators and installers before the terms they can secure under its replacement, the newly confirmed Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), were unveiled.

For organisations that already possess recently installed on-site generation or those considering it in the near future, understanding the SEG is an important part of appreciating the return on investment that your technology can offer.

About the SEG

The SEG is an obligation for licensed electricity suppliers, with over 150,000 customers, to offer payments to small-scale, low-carbon electricity generators that export energy to the National Grid, providing certain criteria are met.

Coming into force from January 2020, the SEG covers solar PV, wind, combined heat and power (CHP), hydro-generation and anaerobic digestion.

It is important to point out that the SEG is available only to new clean energy installations and will not be available to those that benefited from the earlier FiT.

For businesses with existing Behind-the-Meter (BtM) generation, SEG represents an opportunity to secure guaranteed income from their existing technology, receiving tariffed payments for excess power that it provides back to the grid.

To secure the benefits of SEG, you must ensure your installation is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified, allowing you to demonstrate to suppliers that your equipment and its installation meets required standards.

Finding the Best Deal

Exported power must be metered on a half-hourly basis, so the value of exports needs to exceed the additional metering costs to be viable. If this means that an existing non-half-hourly meter is to be replaced with a Half-hourly meter (incorporating both export and import channels) then the upgrade may also offer benefits in terms of better understanding your energy consumption and costs.

Unlike the FiT that offered a flat rate across the board from Government, the Smart Export Guarantee is paid by energy suppliers.

As each unveiled their available rates in early January, huge variations in the payments offered quickly became apparent.

Research by Solar Power Portal found that payments offered per kWh ranged from 5.6p from one smaller provider, down to an embarrassing 0.001p per kWh from the energy wing of one major multinational.

After receiving significant backlash, this particular example increased their offering to 3.5p per kWh, however, there remains huge variance in the payments available.

For those looking to take advantage of the new scheme, shopping around for the best deal is critical. To find out more, contact our team of experts on 08451 46 36 26