With thanks to the Energy Trust 2013)
If you install an electricity-generating technology from a renewable or low-carbon source such as solar PV or wind turbine, the UK Government’s Feed-In Tariffs scheme (FITs) could mean that you get money from your energy supplier.
You can be paid for the electricity you generate, even if you use it yourself, and for any surplus electricity you export to the grid. And of course you’ll also save money on your electricity bill, because you’ll be using your own electricity.
About Feed-In Tariffs
Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including:
- solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or standalone)
- wind turbines (building mounted or free standing)
- anaerobic digesters
- micro combined heat and power (CHP).
The UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) makes the key decisions on FITs in terms of government policy. The energy regulator Ofgem administers the scheme.
Your energy supplier will make the FITs payments to you. The large energy suppliers are required by law to provide them; smaller suppliers are not, but many have opted to offer them anyway. Go to the Ofgem website for a list of FITs-licensed suppliers.
For you to qualify for FITs, the installer and the products you use must both be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), except hydro and anaerobic digestion which have to go through the ROO-FIT process. The tariffs you receive depend on both the eligibility date and, for solar PV, your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.
How FITs work
(Energy Trust 2013)
If you are eligible to receive FITs you will benefit in three ways:
- Generation tariff: your energy supplier will pay you a set rate for each unit (or kWh) of electricity you generate. Once your system has been registered, the tariff levels are guaranteed for the period of the tariff (up to 20 years) and are index-linked.
- Export tariff: you will get a further 4.64p/kWh from your energy supplier for each unit you export back to the electricity grid, so you can sell any electricity you generate but don’t use yourself. This rate is the same for all technologies. At some stage smart meters will be installed to measure what you export, but until then it is estimated as being 50% of the electricity you generate (only systems above 30kWp need to have an export meter fitted, and a domestic system is unlikely to be that big).
- Energy bill savings: you will be making savings on your electricity bills because generating electricity to power your appliances means you don’t have to buy as much electricity from your energy supplier. The amount you save will vary depending how much of the electricity you use on site.