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Solar PV: Smart Export Guarantee

Updated: February 2020. Interesting times ... The Smart Export Guarantee came into affect in January 2020. The Smart Export Guarantee is an obligation set by the government for licensed electricity suppliers to offer a tariff and to pay small-scale low carbon Generators and Micro-generators for any electricity that they export to the National Grid.

Underpinned by the SEG Order and the SEG License Conditions, the Smart Export Guarantee is available for solar PV and other renewable power systems, sized to a total installed capacity of 5MW.

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Eligible Installations

Solar PV and other renewable power generation systems are eligible and have the option to apply for an export tariff, provided under the Smart Export Guarantee Scheme which fulfill the following criteria:

SEG Licencees & Smart Export Tariff Rates

SEG Licencees are the participating power supply companies. The usual power supply companies are obliged to offer a Smart Export Tariff under the order. However, suppliers are allowed to set their own rates and compete to purchase the power that you have available for export.

The market is also open to new entrants both on the supply and the purchasing side. As you will have your own export meter, the purchaser of your exported power may not neccessarily be the same company who supplies your mains electricity. You will be able to sell your Green Electricity to whomever you choose. It's still early days but the technology is here, tested and proven to do it. It is hoped and anticipated that the Smart Export Guarantee will open up new opportunities and markets in electricity trading, where buyers and sellers, including anyone with a Green Electricity Generator such as a Solar PV system can participate.

At the time of writing the wholesale price of electricity is approx 5-6p per kWh, the best solar export tariffs are currently paying out at around the 5p - 6p per kWhr level. The Solar Trade Association is keeping a track on developments with smart export tariffs and prices.

Is the Smart Export Guarantee worth signing up for? ... Depends

No In our opinion, the smartest way, is, was, and likely always will be, to install and use Solar Power; is to generate and use the power immediately yourself. If you are in the position of being able to use all of the power that your solar PV system generates yourself then the Export Guarantee Scheme will be of no use to you. Offsetting expensive mains power supplied at a rate of 14-15p per kWhr with much cheaper and greener Solar Power is where it's at! A customer like you should have a PV system already!

The advice above applies to systems from the very small to the very large, if all of the power provided by the solar PV system is used, as it is generated and used to offset mains power that would otherwise need to be purchased. Then suitable mounting space permitting, any day of the week, a well designed and sized solar PV system would likely be a very good medium - long term investment.

Maybe If you won't use much of the power that you generate at the time it's being generated, which will be in the daytime, with the bulk of the power being generated over the long days of Summer, then although at todays' prices, you will likely see a return on your investment during the lifetime of the system via a tariff provided under the Smart Export Guarantee. If you are looking at Solar PV as a financial investment and are only relying on an export tariff at today's rates, it looks like you will be in for a long wait to see a return. A smarter investment might be to look to sell the generated power directly, in which case the Smart Export Guarantee wouldn't apply.

Yes If you are likely to be able to use the majority of the power that you generate but not all, then an export Tariff provided under the Smart Export Guarantee might be a good option. Many homeowners would fall into this category. Your's would be a PV system that would likely transact more with the grid anyway, it would make sense for power to be imported/exported as seemlessly and cost effectively as possible. The expense of storage batteries could be avoided and income from the export tariff could then help repay the investment, the bulk of which would be repayed by offsetting mains electricity that would have otherwise have been purchased.

Maybe Things start to become interesting, although far less clear cut when you speculate how a market like this might develop, particularly when power storage and batteries are added into the mix. Will there be a value or even a margin in storing cheap Green Power when the sun is shining that you generate yourself? Storing this premium Green Power on-site and then selling it at a premium to the highest bidder? at a time of your choosing? Is this a thing? Will it be a thing? Who knows? Not us, but the opportunities are potentially many ... interesting times ...

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Solar PV System Repairs

Problems with your solar power system? Solar panels not working? Established in 2007, we are one of the longest serving renewable energy companies around and experts at fixing all things Solar. Solar installers have had a rough few years and many have closed down leaving customers in limbo when things start to fail and systems start to weather and age.

Solar Panel System Repairs

If you do have an issue, any issue with your solar PV system and are currently without an installer then we can help. This includes repairs to roofs, mountings, cables, isolators, meters, inverters, batteries and connectors; anything involved with the day to day maintenance and repair of existing residential and commercial solar PV systems of any size.

You will find us very straightforward and easy to deal with, everything is agreed at the outset and delivered as instructed, at the agreed price. If all you would like, is to have your solar PV system professionally tested and or something needs to be replaced or fixed, then we hope and will do our best to ensure that you will find us to be a good choice of installer to carry out this work.

Solar PV System Repairs

Solar PV Installation & Commissioning

Need experienced hands and heads on-site? Our engineers and electricians are some of the best and most experienced in the business. We can add real value to any project through our flexibility, efficiency and the quality of our work.

Solar Panel Installers

Our solar PV installers, roofers and electricians have carried out installations of all shapes and sizes; building solar PV arrays onto most types of roof including commercial roofs and flat roofs. We have built ground mounted frames and installed solar panel mounting structures such as carports and canopies; we have safely installed solar panels on top of barns, in open fields, on factories, houses, workshops, stables, garages and sheds.

Solar PV Installation & Commissioning

 

Articles

Further reading and calculators related to designing, installing, repairing and maintaining solar photovoltaic and electrical systems:

Mains Power Supplies & Earthing Systems

Mains Supply and Earthing Systems: Location & accessability, supply systems, earthing, bonding, labelling, installing RCDs.

Types of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System

Introduction to the different types of Photovoltaic (PV) System available including Grid Tied, Off-Grid, Hybrid and Batteryless solar PV systems.

Engineering Recommendation G98

Grid Connections for Micro-Generators including Solar PV Systems and Elecricity Storage Systems in the UK. Under 16Amps Per Phase, grid synchronised.

Solar PV System Components

Overview of the basic components needed to install a complete solar PV system. Introduction to solar PV panels. power inverters, AC & DC isolators and mounting systems.

Free Solar PV Calculators

A list of free solar PV calculators, solar design tools and software, Use to calculate solar yields and the Return on Investment (ROI) for solar PV systems.

Evaluating Solar PV Panels - Which panels to buy?

What to look for when evaluating and selecting solar PV panels for UK installations. Electrical characteristics of solar PV arrays and the safety factors used for selecting BoS equipment, also mounting options.

Solar Panels - PV Array Calculator

Solar Panels: Solar PV System sizing and power yield calculator. Use to work out roof layouts, PV array sizes, No. of panels and power yields. Based on SAP 2009.

Flat Roof Solar PV Array Spacing / Shade Calculator

The minimum required space between parallel rows to avoid shading is decided by the height of the array immediately in front, the slope of the roof and the lattitude of the installation site. This table illustrates the different row spacings required for optimum positioning in different locations.

Solar Electricity - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to size a system?, What is kWp?, What is the difference between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt hour ( kWh)?, How does a solar PV system work? Can I add more solar panels to my system? How do I know if my solar panels are working?

Preparing for a Solar Panel Installation

As with any construction project the success and efficiency of a solar PV panel installation comes down to good planning. Some advice for potential system owners preparing for a new solar panel installation.

Planning Permission for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

A solar PV installation can be classed as 'permitted development' subject to conditions and when not located within a conservation area, AONB or world heritage site.

Solar PV, Safety & The Building Regulations

Residential PV systems notifiable under Part P. Special consideration needed for Part A. A combination of serious risks for solar PV installers.

Safely Retrofitting Solar PV Roof Mounts

The things to consider before installing a retrofited solar PV system on a roof and an introduction to the type of equipment used to secure an on-roof solar PV system.

Smart Switching / Solar PV Power Switching

Available as an addition to existing solar PV systems or installed as a package alongside a new system, Smart switching puts full control of a solar PV system's power output firmly in the hands of the system owner.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) & Electrical Glossary of Terms

An alphabetical list of many of the industry and technical terms you are likely to come across when installing a solar PV system. The glossary also defines terms that are used in roofing and electrical work as well as in solar PV installation and solar manufacturing.

Electrical Warning Signs & Labelling

A quick overview of some common electrical warning signs and labels that you might find attached to electrical equipment.

ABB / Power One Aurora Inverter Faults and Repairs

Power One, at one point were the second ranked inverter manufacturer in the world and there are many Power One Aurora Inverters installed in the UK. The most popular models being the Uno PVI-3.0-TL-OUTD and the Uno PVI-3.6-TL-OUTD.

Fronius IG / IG Plus Inverter Faults and Repairs

Fronius IG and IG Plus series inverters have LCD displays on the front of the chassis that providing it's working, will highlight any errors with the inverter or the solar PV system that it runs.

Mastervolt Inverter Faults and Repairs

Mastervolt Sunmaster and the smaller Soladin ranges of inverters were widely installed in the UK between 2011 and 2014. Popular Sunmaster models being the Sunmaster XS2000, Sunmaster XS3200 and the Sunmaster XS4300.

SMA Sunnyboy Inverter Faults and Repairs

SMA Sunnyboy Inverters have been widely installed in the UK, some of the most popular being the SB1200, SB2000 and SB3000. High frequency models include the SB2000HF, SB2500HF, and SB3000HF. Transformerless models include the SB3000TL and the SB3600TL.

SolarEdge Inverter and Optimser Faults and Repairs

The SolarEdge system is unique and in our opinion unrivalled in terms of it's ability to monitor system performance down to panel level. This is achieved through the installation of a small unit called an optimiser.

Sonnen Macht Inverter Faults and Repairs

The problem we often find with these inverters are damaged relays, the tell tale sign of a relay failure is an Error 19: Relay or Error 19: Relay Fault warning displayed on the inverter's display.

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