If you’ve spent much time trying to find the best energy deal, you may have come across the term ‘time of use tariffs’. It’s more exciting than it sounds - if you’re interested in Britain’s evolving energy system.
We talk a lot about time of use tariffs, but now there’s a new kid on the block - type of use tariffs. The first of these has been announced by energy supplier OVO and is designed to reward EV owners with lower cost car charging.
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) has now been in effect for over a year, since it came into law on January 1st 2020. It’s the mechanism to ensure solar PV owners are paid for the power they send to the grid, ending the policy void that existed since the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants in March 2019.
According to the SEG, energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers must offer an export tariff with a rate greater than zero. The SEG is available for customers with an MCS-certified renewable energy system under 5MW and a second generation smart meter.
With zero as the minimum, at the very least you can’t be charged for being relieved of excess solar power. However, suppliers don’t have to give you very much for it. So how much are they offering in practice?
We’re facing a winter like no other.
Likely confined to our homes, many of us will be concerned about rising bills from extra heating and electricity usage. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve put together some practical tips for how to save on your energy bills over winter and investigated the impact of on site renewables in the colder months.
The rollout of smart meters is an important part of the energy revolution and transition to a clean electricity network. But if you’re generating your own electricity, how do smart meters and solar panels interact? Can you have smart meters with solar PV? You can - and it may make your life even easier.
We’re often asked by our customers which is the best electricity tariff, especially when they’re investing in their own renewable energy systems. There are lots of energy suppliers, with prices varying by location and various contract commitments. But there are particular types of tariffs that we’d recommend looking at, depending on your circumstances:
On 10th June, the government finally announced the details of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), the system to ensure people are paid for excess generated electricity they send to the grid.
This guarantee is seen as a replacement for the Feed-in and Export Tariffs, which ended on 31st March this year. Those schemes encouraged thousands of installs and helped bring the cost of solar down over 50% since 2011. The aim of the SEG is to continue promoting renewables but without costing consumers. Instead suppliers will have to start bidding competitively for the energy you generate.
The solar PV industry has faced a year of change in 2019, with more uncertainty lying ahead. First came the end of the Feed-in Tariff, the guaranteed payments for people generating solar energy. The 50% deemed Export Tariff for smaller systems ended at the same time and we’re still waiting to see what will fill the gap, to prevent customers with new solar systems from exporting excess electricity to the grid for free. (Don’t worry, this doesn’t impact people who installed their system before the final Feed-in Tariff deadline of 31st March 2019.) The current proposal from the government is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) - more on this below. As a final kick in the teeth to the industry, another threat to solar PV installation has resurfaced - a potential solar VAT rise on domestic systems from 5% to 20%.
So what does all this mean to you? Is solar PV still worth installing now, either as an extension to your existing system, or as a new system altogether, or should you wait? And what about a solar battery?
Around 30 GigaWatts of the UK’s older fossil fuel and nuclear capacity is due to be de-commissioned by 2025. At the same time, more and more of us are taking delivery of our first electric car, pulling away from the lights much faster than the petrol heads whilst fuelling a significant increase in the national electricity demand.
Furthermore, with the advent of renewables, the problem of balancing supply and demand within the National Grid is become ever more challenging, leading to periods of excess demand and ‘negative electricity prices’.
And with all this comes an increasing expectation of power cuts, grid constraints and increasing electricity costs.
Enter battery storage, and in particular, home battery storage. And smart meters, and smart electricity tariffs.