The Smart Export Guarantee: A Golden Opportunity to Profit from Solar PV Panels
The Smart Export Guarantee: A Golden Opportunity to Profit from Solar PV Panels

Solar PV panels that generate Solar energy is the way forward. It's renewable, sustainable, and clean. But did you know you can also generate income from it? The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), introduced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in 2020, aims to encourage homeowners to contribute to the green energy grid while getting paid for their excess power.

Still curious about this scheme? Buckle up as we delve deeper to unravel how it works, who can participate, and how much one can earn.

An Overview of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The SEG replaced the Feed-in Tariff scheme in January 2020, promising an incentive to homeowners who contribute surplus renewable energy to the grid. The adoption of renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has grown significantly in recent years. And, very often, homeowners generate more power than they consume, which they can then sell back to the grid.

Under the SEG, large energy companies with at least 150,000 customers must offer at least one SEG tariff, with smaller companies encouraged to participate voluntarily. However, before you start counting your earnings, you should ensure your renewable energy equipment is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or an equivalent, as suppliers will be looking for this.

How to Become an SEG Generator?

Application to the SEG isn't complicated. You need to find a local SEG licensee and then determine which energy supplier operating an SEG tariff best fits your needs. There are some prerequisites to keep in mind, like having a smart meter or half-hourly export meter, owning the energy-generating technology, and having the MCS certification.

It's worth noting that SEG applies to households in England, Wales, and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland. The scheme covers various renewable energy sources, including solar PV panels, wind turbines, and small hydro or anaerobic digestion of up to 5MW.

So, How Much Can I Earn?

With no specified minimum tariff, it's up to energy suppliers to decide what they offer for exported electricity. The tariffs can be fixed or variable, with the former providing a specified rate per kWh of electricity over the contract length and the latter fluctuating according to market demand.

To give you an estimate, an average household with a consumption of 3,000 kWh at a tariff of 5.5 pence per kWh could earn around £165 per year. However, given that you'll likely use about half of the electricity generated, a more realistic figure might be around £80. But don't forget, you'll also be making energy bill savings, and in total, could be looking at savings of over £200 per year.

Can I Combine SEG with Other Grants?

Yes, you can combine SEG payments with other grants and financial support, except for the FIT scheme. However, homeowners who are already on the FIT scheme can choose to switch to the SEG. Other potential sources of income include the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan, and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Is the Smart Export Guarantee Worth It?

As a homeowner, you might be asking if it's worth jumping through all these hoops. While it's true that the scheme isn't without flaws — energy suppliers can pay any rate above zero and there's no fixed rate — it's still a beneficial initiative. Not only does it incentivise renewable energy usage, but it also ensures small-scale renewable energy generators get paid for their electricity.

The value of the SEG might decline over time due to rising energy costs, and this has led to calls for the government to compel energy suppliers to pay homeowners the full value of their exported electricity. If this becomes a reality, it could further encourage homeowners to install renewable energy systems, thus reducing energy bills, increasing the supply of green electricity, and significantly cutting UK greenhouse gas emissions.

In conclusion, the Smart Export Guarantee provides a fantastic opportunity to make money from solar PV panels while contributing to a greener and more sustainable UK. If you're considering a switch to renewable energy, the time to act is now!