As an owner of a property that has solar PV installed or even a provider of solar PV, you may have heard the term SEG being ‘thrown around’ since the closure of the feed-in tariff in April 2019. So, what is it and how does it affect you?
SEG, otherwise known as the Smart Export Guarantee, is a new government scheme that pays people for the excess electricity that they export to the national grid. This scheme will be implemented in January 2020 however some energy providers have been trialling the scheme in recent months.
The overall aim of the SEG plan is to reduce the strain on the national grid by buying excess green solar energy off solar PV owners. Additionally, it encourages people to earn money by going green with renewable energy solutions such as solar PV.
As of January 2020, it is a requirement for energy suppliers with over 150,00 domestics customers to offer the SEG scheme. Some energy suppliers offering trials of the SEG scheme have developed two tariffs. A fixed tariff e.g. 5.5 kWh of electricity exported per hour or an agile tariff that differs based on the time the electricity is exported. While the government has yet to deem if stored energy from battery storage will qualify under the SEG scheme, some energy providers have allowed users to export stored electricity to the grid making the scheme open to people with ‘any available means to export electricity back to the grid’.
There are some downfalls to the scheme which is expected as it is in the early stages of implementation. Currently, the scheme relies on the use of smart meters which aren’t in every UK home. Additionally, the government have yet to confirm whether or not electricity exported to the grid from a battery store will be accepted under the scheme. And lastly, the lack of regulation of tariff prices remains a concern for solar PV owners looking to earn for exporting electricity. As of now, the government hasn’t set a minimum export tariff, instead stating that energy suppliers have to pay ‘more than zero’.
It is expected that once some ground rules have been set for the scheme that it will be taken up by more solar PV owners and lead to an increase in solar PV installations due to the SEG scheme incentive.
The feed-in tariff remains unaffected and active to owners of solar PV who received this scheme before its closure in April 2019.
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