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Smart Export Guarantee

The Smart Export Guarantee is a support mechanism designed to ensure small-scale generators are paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. It has been in place since 1 January 2020.

You may be eligible to apply if you have one of the following renewable energy generating technologies:

  • solar PV panels

  • a wind turbine

  • hydro

  • anaerobic digestion

  • micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP)

Solar PV systems, onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, hydro – up to 5MW.

Any typical domestic system would be well within these size limits.

The technology and installer used by householders must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent. Energy suppliers may ask you to provide a MCS certificate to prove your installation meets this standard.

You will also need a registered smart meter that records your exported electricity, even if you’re not signing up to a smart tariff.

Following the closure of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme to new applicants in March 2019, the government recognised the need to pay small-scale renewable energy generators for the electricity they export to the grid. Consequently, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Under the scheme, all licensed energy companies with 150,000 or more customers must provide at least one SEG tariff. Smaller suppliers can offer a tariff if they want to on a voluntary basis. All suppliers can also choose to offer other means of making payments for exported electricity, separate to the SEG arrangements.

If you already receive a FIT on your installation, this is unaffected by the introduction of the SEG.

SEG and ESS (energy storage system) - solar batteries

If you’ve included an energy storage system in your renewables installation, you can still apply for SEG, but there might be a few rules, depending on your SEG contract. Your battery could store electricity from the grid (known as brown electricity) before exporting it later on.

Energy suppliers do not have to pay you for brown electricity exported to the grid but they may choose to do so.

Some suppliers may only pay the SEG for green electricity, ie the electricity your low-carbon system generates itself. If this is the case, the supplier may ask you to show how you separate out the green electricity you generate from any imported brown electricity. 

Smart Export Guarantee: Text
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