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Financial support for renewable technology

Smart Export Guarantee

Location notice

Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in England, Scotland, Wales.

If you generate renewable electricity and live in England, Scotland or Wales, you could benefit from a Smart Export Guarantee tariff.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariffs aren’t available in Northern Ireland. Specific energy suppliers may have their own export tariffs, and regulated energy suppliers have to provide export terms to relevant microgenerators. Get in touch with your energy supplier to see if they offer this.

The Smart Export Guarantee is a support mechanism that ensures people that generate their own electricity are paid for the electricity they export to the grid.

This doesn’t happen automatically, so you need to sign up to get the SEG tariff.

Under the scheme, all licenced energy companies with 150,000 or more customers must provide at least one SEG tariff. Smaller suppliers can offer an export tariff if they want to.

All suppliers can also choose to offer other means of making payments for exported electricity, separate to the SEG arrangements.

Who can get a smart export guarantee tariff?

You may be eligible to apply if you have one of the following technologies that generate renewable electricity:

Micro-CHP technologies need to have an electricity capacity of 50kW or less. All other technologies need to have a capacity of 5MW or less.

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

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

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

What are the smart export guarantee rates?

There are no set SEG rates – the only requirement is that the tariff must be always greater than zero. But other than that, energy suppliers can decide what tariffs to offer their customers. They may also offer more than one type of SEG tariff.

SEG tariffs are either fixed or variable.

  • A fixed SEG tariff pays a set rate per kWh of electricity exported over the length of the contract.
  • A variable SEG tariff varies the price based on market demand, as long as the price never falls below zero.

How do I apply for a SEG tariff?

You need to apply directly to a SEG tariff supplier to start getting payments. Ofgem publishes a list of SEG licensees every year. The SEG supplier you choose doesn’t have to be the same one that provides your energy.

Make sure you compare several SEG suppliers to find the best deal for you.

Can I combine SEG with other grants and financial support?

Yes, you can.

SEG payments aren’t linked to other financial support around renewable energy installations. So, if you’re eligible, you could combine SEG payments with other financial support.

You can’t get SEG payments from more than one supplier, though.

What if I already get Feed-in Tariff payments?

If you already receive Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments on your installation, you should continue to get FIT payments until the end of your contract. The SEG doesn’t impact this.

You can’t get both FIT export and SEG payments. But you can opt out of your FIT (export) payments and get SEG payments instead. Meanwhile, you can continue receiving FIT generation payments.

The FIT scheme closed to new applicants in March 2019. Afterwards, the government recognised the need to pay small-scale renewable energy generators for the electricity they export to the grid.

This led the government to introduce the Smart Export Guarantee.

Can I get the smart export guarantee with an energy storage system?

If you have an energy storage system in your renewables installation, you can still apply for SEG. For example, your battery could store electricity from the grid before exporting it later.

Energy suppliers don’t have to pay you for non-renewable electricity exported to the grid, but some may choose to do so.

Some suppliers may only pay the SEG for the electricity your low-carbon system generates itself. If this is the case, the supplier may ask you to show how you separate generated electricity from the electricity you got from the grid. Speak to your installer about how to do this.

What alternatives are there to SEG tariffs?

In addition to SEG, energy suppliers are offering similar deals by paying customers set tariffs for electricity they export to the grid.

Deals are specific to each household and could involve your generation and supply being metered. Deals may also be time limited and have other conditions, such as requiring you to buy your supplied electricity from the same supplier.

You should consider all terms and conditions carefully to make the best choice.

The Solar Energy UK website regularly updates a league table of the best SEG tariffs available, so you can compare rates.

Last updated: 6 June 2024