Thursday, 9 October 2014

Solar Energy Feed-in Tariff Explained

Feed-In tariffs (FITs) were introduced in April 2010 to replace U.K. Government’s grants as the major financial incentive to encourage more uptake of renewable energy sources such as solar PV or wind turbines. Most domestic technologies such as solar PV electricity, wind turbines, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectricity, and micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems qualify for FITs.

Your energy supplier is responsible for making feed-in tariffs to you. Large energy suppliers are required by law to make FIT payments but smaller providers are not. Many small providers, however, do make feed-in tariff payments anyway. To qualify for these tariffs, the energy products you install at your home, as well as the installer, must both be certified under Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS). Hydro and anaerobic digesters, however, must pass the ROO-FIT test. The amount of tariff you receive depends on the eligibility of your solar PV and the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of your property.

Eligibility Dates   

The eligibility date refers to the date from which your solar installation becomes eligible for FIT payments. This is the date your FIT supplier receives a valid FIT application. This will usually after the date on which your solar PV system is installed, so it’s strongly advisable to send your application through to your supplier promptly. Contact your FIT supplier as soon as possible to check which information they require from you and when they require you to send it through.

Adding Solar Panels

The rules for adding extra solar panels are a bit different. If you add new solar PV panels to your existing system, their eligibility date is the date they are commissioned and not the date you send your revised claim to your FIT supplier. This is especially important if you want to claim a higher rate by submitting an EPC. You should date your EPC before the commissioning date, or you will not receive a higher rate.
Feed-in tariffs are divided into 2 categories:

  •  Generation Tariff- Your energy supplier pays you a fixed rate for each kWh of solar energy you generate in your home. Once your systems get registered, the tariff level is guaranteed for the entire period of the tariff (20 years).
  • Export Tariff- Apart from the normal generation tariff, you will be eligible for an additional 4.77 pence per kWh that you generate and export back to the electricity grid. This rate applies to other renewable energy sources, too. If your energy exports are really big, you will have a smart meter installed in your home to monitor your exports.

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