understanding the smart export guarantee rates – moving into 2023

Large energy suppliers in the UK are obliged to pay households and businesses for renewable energy they export to the National Grid, under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The Smart Export Guarantee is a government-backed initiative that compels large energy suppliers to pay homeowners and business for renewable energy they send back to the National Grid.

If you produce energy with solar panels, wind turbines, micro combined heat and power, hydro, or anaerobic digestion, you can request payments from one of more than a dozen companies.

SEG began in January 2020 as a replacement for the defunct Feed-in Tariff (FiT), but works differently – mainly because it puts the responsibility on consumers to choose the best rate.

Smart Export Guarantee rates

15 companies are licensed to offer SEG rates, which can be any amount above zero.

This includes 12 which are compelled to, as they have at least 150,000 domestic electricity customers, and three that have voluntarily offered a tariff.


Energy supplierPrice (p/kWh)Name of tariff
Tesla (requires Powerwall 2 battery)24Tesla Energy Plan
Octopus Energy (own customers)15Outgoing Fixed
EDF (own customers)5.6Export Variable Value
Bulb (own customers)5.57Export Payments
E.On (new E.On solar PV customers)5.5Next Export Exclusive
ScottishPower5.5Smart Export Variable Tariff
Pozitive Energy5SEG tariff
SO Energy5So Altair
Octopus Energy (non-customers)4.1Outgoing Go
SSE3.5Smart Export Tariff
Shell Energy3.5SEG V1.1 Tariff
British Gas3.2Export & Earn Flex
Utilita3Utilita Smart Export Guarantee
Bulb (non-customers)3Export Payments
E.On (all other customers)3Next Export
Utility Warehouse2UW Smart Export Guarantee
EDF1.5Export Variable
E1E SEG January2020v.1


What’s the best Smart Export Guarantee rate?

The highest rate is Tesla’s (administered by Octopus) – but it requires you to buy a Powerwall 2 solar battery, which currently costs around £9,000 to install. Octopus offers the next best SEG rate, paying out 15p for every kWh of renewable electricity a household sends to the Grid.

Beyond these two specific (own customer only) rates, the next best available rate currently is 5.5p. We want to highlight this as a point of importance, as we are aware of some clients currently being sold oversized systems to take advantage of SEG, However with levelized costs of energy on a purchased system (circa 7-8p), this can often be a poorer decision at current rates.


Is the Smart Export Guarantee good enough?

The Smart Export Guarantee is a positive development, but goes nowhere near far enough to reward solar owners or encourage prospective buyers.

The best Smart Export Guarantee tariff is Octopus’s 15p per kWh offering, while the standard rate residential consumers pay for electricity is currently 34p per kWh.

That means the Smart Export Guarantee allows companies to buy electricity from you for, at most, less than half of the price they charge you.


Will the Smart Export Guarantee increase?

Just two have declared they are planning on increasing their rates.

So Energy, which currently offers a 5p per kWh rate, and EDF – which pays just 1.5p per kWh, as we mentioned above – were the only suppliers to commit to a higher tariff.

Energy companies currently pay households 13% of what their solar energy is worth. 

You should still sign up for an SEG tariff, because otherwise you’re leaving free money on the table – but your solar power is worth more than this.


Is installing solar PV still worth it to take advantage of SEG?

As a technology provider and consultant, we will always advise on a system specification based on your operation and estimated energy consumption. 

At the present time, we ensure all our systems maximise your on-site usage of generated energy, minimising energy export where possible. Currently the achievable savings on energy bills quite significantly outweigh the value of the SEG payments; therefore we recommend that SEG export energy is minimal for most of our clients.

Adopting solar PV via this considered approach, generates a sensible investment that delivers savings on your energy bills, and can offer you protection against rising energy prices. 

When we provide our clients a proposal, we wouldn’t currently maximise a system size or ‘fill your roof’, as this reduces your return on investment time – we want our clients to maximise their savings as soon as possible. We certainly wouldn’t recommend a larger system size just to take advantage of the current SEG tariff payments.

If you’d like to know more about buying a considered and tailored solar PV system for your business, leave us a message here where one of our sustainability consultants will be in touch.


Original Article – https://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/solar-panels/smart-export-guarantee


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