Feed-In Tariffs: The Basics
Feed-In Tariffs are payments you can receive from your energy supplier in return for generating your own electricity at home using a renewable or low carbon electricity generating technology, such as solar PV or hydroelectricity. This means that on top of the money you save by generating your own free electricity, you are actually making money from the technology you have installed, which reduces the time it takes for your renewable technology to pay for itself.
You can get paid for all the electricity you generate, including what you use and the any electricity you don’t use which can be exported to the national grid for another customer to use.
Feed-In Tariffs replaced previous government grants for domestic electricity generating technology in 2010.
FIT in 5 steps
- See what you can save and get quotes from accredited installers – complete an energy assessment in 2 minutes here
- You install your electricity generating technology
- You use your technology, generating your own free electricity to use, reducing your electricity bills
- Your energy (FIT) supplier pays you a ‘Generation Tariff’ for each unit of electricity you generate whether you use it or not
- You are paid an ‘Export Tariff’ for each unit of electricity you don’t use and export to the grid
In periods where you need more electricity than you are generating, you can import it from the grid as usual, which you pay for. However, your electricity bills will still be reduced as you are generating at least part of the electricity you are using free of charge.
How Feed-In Tariffs Work
As with the Renewable Heat Incentive subsidies, the scheme is administered by Ofgem, the U.K’s energy regulator. Large energy companies are legally obliged to be FIT suppliers; if your energy company is smaller it’s a good idea to check if they provide this service.
The following renewable heat technologies are eligible:
- Solar PV (freestanding or roof mounted)
- Hydroelectricity (inc. some small tidal projects)
- Wind turbines (standalone or building mounted)
- Micro combined heat and power (CHP)
- Anaerobic digesters
- You choose and pay for your technology and get it installed.
You need to get the installation carried out by an MCS accredited installer using MCS accredited products. (This is not the case if the installation is hydroelectricity or anaerobic digestion or its capacity is greater than 50kW). You will then need to inform your energy supplier (your FIT supplier) that you wish to apply for the FIT and send them your application form, your MCS certificate from your installer and your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) if you are applying for solar PV (you will need to have obtained this EPC before having commissioned the installation if you wish to qualify for the higher solar PV tariff). Your FIT supplier will then confirm your eligibility for the scheme and the terms of your FIT agreement.
In the case of hydroelectricity and anaerobic digestion projects or projects with a capacity greater than 50kW you will need to apply for ROO-FIT accreditation for your installation online by setting up an account on the Renewables and CHP Register. This can be done up to two months before your installation is carried out. This application is then automatically sent to Ofgem.
Ofgem will confirm your eligibility and provide your accreditation details. You then need to inform your FIT supplier that you wish to register for FIT payments and provide them with your accreditation details and application form. Your FIT supplier will confirm that you qualify for the scheme and the terms of your FIT agreement.
If your application for FITs payment is successful, your payments will be backdated from the date your FIT supplier or Ofgem receives your application. This means that it is important that you send off your application as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to find out from your supplier or Ofgem in advance exactly what information they’ll need to help you complete your application promptly.
If you are adding solar panels to an existing solar PV system your FITs payments will be dated from the date the panels were commissioned rather than the application receipt date.
Your FIT supplier pays you a ‘Generation Tariff’ for every unit of electricity you generate whether you use it or not. This tariff value is set at the time you start receiving payments and stays the same (linked to inflation) for the duration of your payment period, which can be up to 20 years. The tariff value you are assigned will depend on whether you have an EPC if you are looking to install solar PV.
Your FIT supplier will pay you an additional ‘Export Tariff’ for each unit of electricity you don’t use and export to the grid. This tariff is currently set at 4.5p/kWh. The amount of electricity you export is not currently measured but estimated to be around 50-75% of what you generate.
|Total installed capacity (kW)||Generation tariff with eligibility date 1 Nov 2012 – 31 Jan 201||Lower tariff (if energy efficiency (EPC) requirement not met) with eligibility date 1 Aug 2012 – 31 Jan 2013|
|<4kW (new build and retrofit)||15.44p/kWh||7.1p/kWh|
Solar PV tariffs are being reviewed every 3 months and adjusted according to the level of uptake of the technology. As more customers install micro generation technology, the technology becomes cheaper, reducing the need for the same level of FIT payment. These adjustments will only apply to new customers, however – when your FIT is set, its value does not change.
Hydroelectricity, Wind turbines and Micro-CHP:
|Technology||Tariff band (kW capacity)||Current generation tariffs||Generation tariffs from 1 December 2012||Export tariff from 1 December 2012|
|>15 to <100||19.6p/kWh||19.6p/kWh||4.5p/kWh|
|>1.5 to <15||28p/kWh||21.0p/kWh||4.5p/kWh|
|>15 to <100||25.4p/kWh||21.0p/kWh||4.5p/kWh|
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards