The Smart Export Guarantee Explained
All figures and calculations are correct at the time of publication.

The Smart Export Guarantee Explained

If you’re considering installing solar panels at home, and want to make them as cost-effective as possible, then you’ll need to know about the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)!

While it might seem a bit confusing at first, there’s no reason to worry. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand. Feel confident in your decision to install your solar panels, knowing you’re well-informed about this essential scheme.

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What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a scheme that helps you earn money by exporting surplus renewable energy to the grid. Launched in 2020 to replace the Feed-in Tariff (FIT), the SEG scheme encourages households to install green tech. It supports a cleaner national grid by paying for the extra energy produced.

How Does the SEG Work?

Under this government-backed scheme, homeowners receive compensation for the electricity they export to the grid through their energy supplier. Participating energy suppliers, serving more than 150,000 customers, provide an SEG tariff known as an 'export tariff', ensuring households are compensated for the electricity they sell.

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Which SEG Tariff Should You Choose?

Energy suppliers can set their own SEG tariff rates so prices do vary. As with standard energy tariffs, it’s good to look around for the best deal for you. Consider the length of the tariff, the rate the tariff pays, and the type of tariff – either a fixed tariff where a rate is set per kWh of electricity you export, or a variable tariff which can fluctuate on market demand. These factors can all affect the payback time of your panels!

Do I need to go for my supplier’s tariff?

No, you do not have to go with your energy provider’s SEG tariff. You have the opportunity to shop around and choose the best tariff for you. However, you will often find that the best rates are reserved for existing customers.

Am I Eligible for the Scheme?

Before you apply for the SEG for your solar system, you need to make sure you meet certain criteria. This includes the following:

  • Your solar panel installation must be 5MW capacity or less
  • You’ll need a meter that can provide half-hourly readings for electricity export (a smart meter)
  • Your installation must be MCS-certified
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How Does the SEG compare to FIT?

The FIT (Feed-In Tariff) known for its financial benefits, closed its doors to new applicants in 2019, paving the way for the SEG to take its place. Under the FIT, households received fixed payments for both generating and exporting renewable energy. The SEG compensates households solely for their exported energy.

While the FIT offered stable, long-term payments, the SEG operates on a market-driven model. This means that rates can fluctuate, as they are set by suppliers.

Why Do I Need a Smart Meter?

Smart meters are essential if you’re considering installing solar panels. Even if you’re not planning to sign up for a smart tariff, to join the SEG you’ll need one. One of the requirements is a meter capable of recording half-hourly readings, which is to make sure you’re being paid correctly.

If you don’t already have a smart meter, you can simply get one installed for free by your energy supplier. From automatic meter readings to accessing a diverse range of energy tariffs, there are many reasons why installing a smart meter makes sense beyond solar. 

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