PRESS RELEASE: Industry calls on suppliers to put solar export offers on the table

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
17 July 2019

STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett has sent an open letter to the Big 6 and other electricity suppliers calling for export tariff offers to be put to solar households in advance of the 1 January 2020 deadline under the government’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). [1] Over three months after the closure of the administered export tariff only Octopus Energy has offers open to all solar homes exporting power to the grid.

Chris Hewett said; “There is a real appetite in the UK for domestic solar and storage; surveys show three in five people [2] are keen to install these technologies on and in their properties at some point in the future, and our new online advice for consumers on the Smart Export Guarantee is already attracting thousands of visitors every month and being signposted by consumer groups [3

Government policy in recent years has caused the domestic solar and storage markets to slow. Policy now relies squarely on the market stepping forward to provide a fair export price for those investing in solar power. As the UK moves towards net zero and the ‘smart’ transformation of our energy sector we hope that suppliers will see good strategic reasons for accelerating meaningful offers and we urge them to do so as soon as possible. We want competition to develop to buy the power solar homes put onto the grid and, if suppliers are not able to enter this market, we want to hear from them about any barriers they are experiencing.

The SEG requires all suppliers with 150,000 or more domestic customers to offer at least one tariff for small-scale power exports to the grid, and smaller suppliers are also able to voluntarily offer tariffs too. [4] There is an expectation on the market to deliver payment rates which reflect the true market value of the exported electricity  – a requirement on Member States under EU law. [5] BEIS specifically mentions Government intervention in the event that the market fails to deliver, stating; “The government will consider reviewing these tariff setting arrangements, if it becomes clear that small generators are not able to access a competitive range of export tariff options.” [4]

With a fair market-rate export tariff and a competitive supply tariff, a solar household can expect to save around £400 a year owing to a combination of lower electricity bills and income generated by power exports – more for those who are typically at home during the day, such as retirees, flexible workers and young families, and potentially much more for those with battery storage who can respond to the needs of the energy system.

All offers will be monitored through the STA’s online SEG League Table, which enables solar households to easily identify the best offers on the market and which is attracting thousands of visitors every month. [6] Currently, Octopus Energy occupies the top, and only, spot, with a flat-rate offer of 5.5p/kWh, and a variable rate pegged to the half-hourly wholesale rate. [7] However, this offer is restricted to domestic customers, with commercial and community energy groups currently lacking route-to-markets for small-scale power exports.

 

ENDS​

 

Notes to editors

[1] Solar Trade Association – Open letter to all retail suppliers regarding the Smart Export Guarantee: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/STA-Letter-to-Electricity-Suppliers-regarding-solar-export-tariffs-July-2019.pdf

[2] ClientEarth – Climate Snapshot: https://www.documents.clientearth.org/wp-content/uploads/library/2018-08-20-clientearths-climate-snapshot-coll-en.pdf

[3] Which? – Will solar panel owners struggle to get new SEG renewable energy payments?: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/06/will-solar-panel-owners-struggle-to-get-new-seg-renewable-energy-payments/

[4] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – The Future for Small-Scale Low-Carbon Generation: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/807393/smart-export-guarantee-government-response.pdf

[5] EUR-Lex – Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.328.01.0082.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:328:TOC

[6] Solar Trade Association – Smart Export Guarantee League Table: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/resource-centre/advice-tips-for-households/smart-export-guarantee/

[7] Solar Trade Association – Octopus Energy Grabs Top Spot in Domestic Solar Export Guarantee League Table: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/octopus-energy-grabs-top-spot-in-domestic-solar-export-guarantee-league-table/

 

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Jack Dobson-Smith

Title: Public Affairs & Communications Officer

Main line: 0203 637 2946

 

Background on the Solar Trade Association:

The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power plus energy storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for all three technologies.