Smart Export Guarantee

Smart Export Guarantee League Table

Which suppliers will offer you the best price for your surplus solar power? Our league table will help you understand your choices and who has the best offer for prosumers.

Flexible SEGs

Provider Tariff Name Tariff Rate Includes Battery Storage?
1 Octopus Energy Outgoing Agile Pegged to half-hourly wholesale rate Yes

 

Fixed-rate SEGs

Provider Tariff Name Tariff Rate Includes Battery Storage?
1 Octopus Energy Outgoing Fixed 5.5p Yes

 

To access a smart export tariff under the Smart Export Guarantee, there is also a requirement to provide evidence your installation is MCS (or equivalent) certified: “To benefit from the SEG, exporters must be able to demonstrate to suppliers that their generating equipment, and its installation, has been adequately certified. This in practice means providing evidence that they are certified to MCS or an equivalent standard”.

 

Other Offers

E.On’s Solar Reward

Pays the first 500 new solar customers 5.24p per every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy exported back to the grid on the assumption that 50% of generation is exported. Solar reward export payments apply for the first year only.

Bulb’s alpha trial

50 Bulb members who generate their own electricity will be paid for any electricity they generate and export to the grid. This is for solar-only customers, storage-only or solar and storage co-located. It is open to Bulb customers who pay by Direct Debit, with a smart meter they can read, and so long as you are willing to provide feedback.

Q&A

The Government published its final proposals for the SEG on Monday 10 June 2019. The Smart Export Guarantee requires medium – large electricity supply companies (those with more than 150,000 electricity customers) to offer a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Smaller suppliers can do so on a voluntary basis. Suppliers are already starting to offer SEGs, but all qualifying suppliers will have to offer you terms of payment for your solar power exports by January 1st 2020 at the latest.

SEGs may have a fixed price or they may have an element of ‘smartness’:

  • This means that some tariffs on offer for your solar exports may vary depending on how valuable the export is to the electricity system at particular times
  • For instance, if you are exporting electricity at a time when everyone is at home using lots of electricity and the system needs more power you could get paid more for exporting your power than when demand for power is weak.
  • There are already ‘smart’ tariffs like this from supply companies such as Octopus’s Agile tariff. These tariffs use the varying prices to encourage individuals to shift their electricity use away from times when others are also using a lot of electricity (called ‘peak’ times). Similarly, some SEG tariffs may try and encourage houses to export at times when the electricity system needs more power.
  • These smart tariffs could operate on half-hourly windows i.e. prices paid may vary each half hour and your own smart meter will be making recordings of your exports on a half-hourly basis.
  • Or they could be simpler, with suppliers offering different day/night rights or even weekday/weekend

The price you are paid will not fall below zero at any point.

Storage exports may be included in these tariffs. Please see information on battery storage and the SEG below. 

The STA has been arguing for households to be treated fairly and to be paid at a fair market rate for the power they contribute to our electricity system, as all other generators are. There are two obvious ways to define fair pricing. One is through wholesale prices, which is the price that the market buys power from to sell to you – in 2018 this averaged around 6p/kWh. The other is the ‘System Sell Price’, which the government referenced as a fair price in its SEG consultation. This is the price that larger generators receive for their surplus power when they produce more electricity than they had contractually arranged to produce. The annual average System Sell Price last year was very similar (5.4p/kWh) to the previous FIT export tariff payment of 5.2p/kWh.

Therefore a fair average price falls between 5p and 6p/kWh, though we recognise that power will be worth more or less than that at different times of the day and night.

While we wanted government to mandate a fair minimum floor price, the government has only obligated electricity supply companies to buy power at a price above zero. The good news is the electricity sector is changing fast and there are many suppliers who want to embrace smart energy to help deliver a much more efficient, low-carbon power system, and they want customers who want to participate. Please see our SEG League Table for which suppliers are making the first moves and where you could get the best price for your surplus power.

New households seeking to install solar power no longer receive public support, but this reflects how far the cost of installing solar has plummeted. Today, a good quality, straight-forward household solar PV system can be purchased for around £5,000 – less if you take part in a collective purchase scheme. However, the STA campaigned hard for fair market payments for any clean power that your households may contribute to the power system, in line with EU Law. In response the government has agreed it will require medium and large electricity suppliers to buy your power under the new ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ and it is counting on electricity suppliers to pay a fair rate to solar schemes which adhere to MCS standards.

We are closely monitoring and assessing any offers from electricity supply companies to buy your clean power and these are published in our Smart Export Guarantee League Table.

It still makes good financial sense for people who are likely to use a lot of the power that their solar generates to investment in solar power. Over the waranteed life of your panels solar will generate power today at around 9p/kWh in today’s prices for 25 years, considerably lower than grid power prices (see our economics section). And there are many other good reasons to go solar if you can afford to.

Homes in Scotland can benefit from Home Energy Scotland’s interest-free loans for investing in solar PV and battery storage. If you want to install solar thermal, which provides hot water, then Government support is available through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

You can sign up to receive SEG payments with the chosen supplier as soon as you install. The Government has been clear that there will be no back-payments if you installed recently and have not signed up to a tariff such as Octopus’s or EON’s, as these have been available since the Feed in Tariff ended – the supplier would not know how much you have exported anyway! If you have installed solar recently and haven’t signed up, do so soon!

The Smart Export Guarantee will allow electricity supply companies to include battery storage as part of their tariffs.

Currently, all offers allow for solar, solar and storage and storage installations to receive payments for any exported electricity – without additional requirements.

However, this is not a legal requirement, so it will be up to the electricity supplier offering the tariff, firstly, as to whether they will reward power exporting from a storage unit as part of their offering and secondly, how they want to go about this.

Providing an electricity supplier wants to offer a tariff for storage customers, those who are installing storage only or solar and storage together won’t be excluded from receiving payments for their exported electricity – which is good!

Suppliers who decide to include storage in their tariff offers will then also decide what type of power is eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee. They can decide whether they want to differentiate payments for only ‘green’ electricity (meaning the power coming from your solar panels only) or whether payments can also be made on so called ‘brown’ electricity (drawn from the grid) passing through your storage system. Our League Table shows you which suppliers are offering what to homes with battery storage.

 

Example 1: Electricity Supplier A only wants to pay their customers for the 100% green electricity they generate.

Peter has installed solar and storage together. The solar is generating 100% green electricity and this is what Electricity Supplier A wants to pay for through the SEG export tariff they are offering.

The storage Peter has installed is connected to the grid and Peter (at times when the sun is down for instance) sometimes charges his storage from grid electricity. This electricity will typically include some power from fossil fuels as we are still using non-renewable sources such as coal to provide electricity for the whole of the UK. If Peter doesn’t use all of this grid import it is possible that he could export some of this grid-imported electricity as well the green electricity has generated himself through the solar panels.

The electricity exported is now considered ‘brown’ as contains a mix of the green generated solar electricity from Peter as well as the grid import that is not 100% renewables.

For Pete to access Electricity Supplier A’s tariff it must be possible to distinguish between how much electricity he has generated and how much he has imported from the grid. This can be done by not allowing the storage to charge from the grid at all (such as through what is called a disconnection relay) or through using a bi-directional meter.

There are no tariffs on the market requiring this at the moment.

 

Example 2: Supplier B wants to incentivise their customers to export at times of need and doesn’t mind as much whether the electricity they are paying for comes only from the green generated solar power at the customers home or whether it includes some ‘brown’ electricity imported from the grid.

Jane has installed solar and battery storage. The storage unit can import and store electricity from the grid when she needs it to. Jane will be paid to export electricity from her solar and storage set up without any additional meters or other requirements as she does not need to distinguish between the power she generated herself and any export she had previously imported from the grid.

Tariffs like this include:

Octopus

Bulb