Smart Export Guarantee: A Comprehensive Guide


Jack Ayre

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With the rising prominence of major environmental issues, such as climate change and greenhouse emissions, many governments are encouraging people to turn to renewable energy. The UK government is no exception, as shown by its Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) initiative.

The smart export guarantee allows those who have installed renewable energy technologies on their property to make money by sending excess electricity produced through solar technology back into the national grid and getting paid for it. The payment rates depend on the SEG licensee.

Read on to learn more about how the smart export guarantee came about, as well as how it works. We’ve also included valuable information on the different tariff rates available from several licensees. Additionally, we’ve briefly covered other government incentives regarding renewable energy.

What Is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The SEG is an initiative that was put in place by the government to encourage home and business owners to fulfil their energy needs using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels.

This came about because of the government’s decision to strive to reach zero carbon emissions for the UK by 2050. In June 2019, the authorities put this plan into motion by introducing the Feed-in Tariff (FIT). Six months later, the SEG replaced this initial scheme.

Here’s how the SEG works:

The scheme incentivises the switch from fossil fuels to low-carbon renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels. It does so by offering a financial return to those who use these technologies.

If your SEG application is accepted, you can earn money by pumping any excess electricity your solar panels produce back into the national grid.

In turn, this makes investing in renewable energy technologies a more attractive option for businesses and homeowners.

Note that if you already receive money as part of the FIT scheme, you aren’t eligible to receive tariffs from the SEG.

However, receiving SEG tariffs doesn’t stop you from benefiting from tax deductions and other incentives the government provides for renewable energy.

How to Apply For Smart Export Guarantee?

Before you submit your SEG application, you should make sure that you’ve prepared well and have all the paperwork and documentation you need.

Your first course of action when preparing to apply for the SEG is to find a SEG licensee in your area. This licensee could be your energy supplier or a different entity. 

Each SEG licensee offers different tariff rates, which we will get into in the coming section. Therefore, you should carefully compare licensees to ensure you’re getting the best SEG tariff possible.

Depending on the licensee you opt to go with, you’ll need to meet certain criteria for your application to be successful. Make sure that you can fulfil all the requirements before you proceed to file your application.

Here are some of the requirements you’ll need to have regardless of which licensee you’re filing an application with:

  • The licensee’s application form: You can find this on the licensee’s website. You’ll need to fill it out and submit it.
  • Proof of ownership: SEG licensees will typically require you to be the power generation system’s owner to be eligible for tariffs. You’ll need documentation to prove this.
  • MCS certification: The licensee will also require your Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certification.
  • A smart meter reading: You’ll need to provide recent meter readings to the licensee as part of your application documents.

Be noted that the SEG licensee is likely to carry out an inspection of your low-carbon power generation system during the application process.

When you’ve completed all of the above and submitted your application, you’re likely to get a verdict from the licensee after about 28 days.

Smart Export Guarantee Rates

As previously mentioned, there are numerous smart export guarantee rates available on the market. They range from 15p/kWh to 2p/kWh.

We’ve summarised them for you in the table below to aid you in making the best decision when choosing a licensee:

SupplierTariff NameTariff Type Tariff LengthTariff Rate (p/kWh)Payment Frequency
Octopus EnergyOutgoing FixedFixed12-month fixed term15pMonthly
TeslaTesla Energy Plan FixedUnknown12pUnknown
TeslaTesla Energy PlanFixedUnknown10pUnknown 
British GasExport & Earn FlexFixedNo fixed end date6.4p3 months
Bulb EnergyExport PaymentsFixedNo fixed end date5.57p3 months
E.ON EnergyNet Export ExclusiveFixed12-month fixed term5.5pUnknown
Scottish PowerSmart Export Variable TariffFixedNo fixed end date5.5p6 months
OVO EnergyOVO SEG TariffFixed12-month fixed term4p3 months
SSESmart Export TariffFixedNo fixed end date3.5p12 months
Shell EnergySEG V1 TariffFixedNo fixed end date3.5p12 months
E.ON EnergyNext ExportFixed12-month fixed term3pUnknown
EDF EnergyExport+EarnFixed12-month fixed term3pUnknown
Utility WarehouseUW Smart Export GuaranteeFixedNo fixed end date2pUnknown

Other Government Incentives For Renewable Energy

The Smart Export Guarantee isn’t the only initiative that the government has to encourage people to move toward green energy.

In addition to the SEG, the authorities have introduced tax breaks for individuals and businesses that hop onto the renewable energy bandwagon.

Business owners can save substantial amounts of money in the form of tax deductions when they invest in solar panels. For every £1 a company spends on solar panels, it can reduce its tax bill by up to 25p.

As for individuals, it’s now less expensive to install solar panels in their homes. The reason is the government’s decision to bring the VAT on solar panel installation down to 0%. This deduction will remain in place up until 2027.   

Smart Export Guarantee FAQs

How often will you receive your SEG payments?

The frequency with which you’ll receive SEG payments depends on the licensee you’re dealing with. Some licensees issue SEG payments every month. However, the most common payment cycle is a quarterly one.

You should ensure you’re clear on a licensee’s payment cycle before you sign a contract with them.

Which renewable energy installations are eligible for the smart export guarantee?

The smart export guarantee initiative is available for individuals and businesses that use various renewable energy installations.

You’ll be eligible to apply for the SEG if you have any of the following technologies installed:

  • Solar PV systems
  • Hydroelectric power (up to 5MW)
  • Onshore wind turbines
  • Micro-CHP (up to 50kW)
  • Anaerobic digestion

How do solar panels export to the grid?

One of the main advantages of solar panels is their autonomy from the national grid. Therefore, you may be wondering how they can export electricity to the grid.

The export process is made possible by the inverters built into solar PV panels. These components convert the DC current produced by the panels into AC current and pump it into the main supply.

SEG Summary

In its continued attempts to bring the country’s carbon emissions down to zero over the coming decades, the UK government has introduced the smart export guarantee scheme.

This initiative allows home and business owners to supplement their income by exporting excess electricity produced by their renewable energy installations to the national grid.

Applying for the smart export guarantee is quite simple. However, you’ll need to have certain documentation on hand and meet certain criteria. 

The specifics of these criteria differ depending on the SEG licensee you’re dealing with. The same applies to the tariff rate and payment cycle you’ll get if your application is successful.

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Born in North West England, Jack kicked off his career in the insurance arena, dealing with claims for three years. Always up for a challenge, Jack leapt out of his comfort zone and embarked upon 5 years of excitement with the military.

Working for the Ministry of Defence, Jack specialised in counter-terrorism which took him to places such as Dubai, Oman, Iraq, Norway and Bahrain. During this period he worked with various Governments implementing strategic operations to prevent terrorism.

After travelling around various countries Jack increasingly came across various forms of solar from large solar farms to domestic solar panels. From here Jack took a keen interest in all things solar and started reading about the technological capabilities with a view to entering the industry after his career in the Ministry of Defence.

Once home after 5 fruitful years, Jack had 3 months leave in which he immersed himself in a solar crash course and got applying for jobs within the solar sector. He came across ESE Solar, a long-established forward-thinking company whose head office was only a stone’s throw away from him. He picked up the phone to see if there were any vacancies and within a week had a successful interview and obtained a full-time job, starting in the technical team.

Within the first few months, Jack onboarded in various online courses during work and social hours to speed up his knowledge of all things solar. Due to his strong work ethic and thirst for knowledge Jack was promoted to Head of Technical at ESE Solar. He currently leads the team and oversees the product development of new technologies within the company alongside assisting where necessary on their maintenance department.

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