New policy offers remuneration for excess solar power put on the grid

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FOLLOWING a nine-month policy gap, owners of small solar PV systems are set to once again be legally entitled to remuneration for excess solar power put on the grid.

From 01 January 2020, large suppliers will be obligated to offer a tariff for small-scale solar power exports, which should help to sweeten the deal for new solar owners, who will also benefit from lower energy bills.

Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, said: “It’s a New Year and a positive new start for owners of small solar PV systems.

“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.

“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.”

Under the government’s Smart Export Guarantee, electricity suppliers which have more than 150,000 customers will be required to offer at least one tariff for power exported to the grid from renewables smaller than 5MW, though smaller suppliers are not excluded from offering tariffs too.

Households that have had solar PV installed since April 1 will have the choice of over 14 suppliers, including Bulb and Octopus Energy.

The Smart Export Guarantee replaces the Export Tariff, which was scrapped in April 2019 along with the Generation Tariff under the government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme.

The Export Tariff provided a fixed rate of 5.2p per kWh of power exported to the grid. Households, small businesses and community organisations which have had solar installed since April 2019 have had no legally guaranteed way to receive payment for power exported to the grid, which means some will have been providing power back to the grid for free.

In order to be eligible for a tariff under the Smart Export Guarantee, the solar installation must be certified by an approved scheme, such as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, which ensures that high installation standards are followed.

Households and organisations will also require a smart meter in order to take accurate export readings.

Suppliers will be required to offer tariffs with rates above 0p/kWh.

The Solar Trade Association, as part of its #Fair4Solar campaign, called on government to guarantee a fair rate for small-scale solar power exports, and will be keeping a close eye on the market.

As will Ofgem, which is tasked with monitoring competitiveness and intervening should this fail to materialise. All -compliant tariffs can be found listed on the STA’s SEG League Table.