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Solar PV: UK Feed in Tariffs (FITs)

Updated: April 2019. The solar PV Feed in Tariff (FIT) came to a close for new applicants on 31st March 2019. The FIT was a tremendously successful government backed incentive administered and regulated by OFGEM that was designed to promote the uptake of renewables in the UK.

This was achieved by obliging the traditional energy companies (known in this context as FIT Licensees) to pay the owner of a solar PV system (a Generator) for the clean energy that was generated even if the energy was used on-site and also guaranteed an additional price (per kWh) for the energy that was sold/exported.

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The Achievements of The FIT

Over 900,000 early adopter UK householders now enjoy the benefits of Solar power and as a result the cost of installing solar technology for everyone else has tumbled. At scale Solar power is now price competitive when compared to older methods of energy generation such as burning oil, coal or gas and UK solar PV system designers and installers are now recognised as amongst the best in the world.

Amongst the general public Solar is easily the nations favourite method of electricity generation, enjoying a 87% approval rating and 93% of actual solar power systems owners who were surveyed by Which were satisfied with their solar power system.

Existing Solar PV System Owners

The closure of the FIT scheme to new applicants does not affect existing solar PV system owners with regards to the agreed FIT rates payable and or the duration of the scheme (20/25 years) as agreed at the time of installation.

Buying a home with Solar Installed

New owner occupiers moving into homes with an existing solar PV system and Feed in Tariff in place will enjoy the same terms as agreed at the time of installation by the original system owner (Generator). We advise that the paperwork transferring ownership of the system and the Feed in Tariff (FIT) is carried out by your solicitor at the same time as the house purchase.

Solar PV Feed in Tariff Calculations

The Generation Tariff

The solar PV generation tariff guarantees a fixed payment (usually paid quarterly) based on the size of solar PV system that is installed and the amount of power (measured in kWh) that the solar PV system generates, the power is measued using an OFGEM approved generation meter which is provided by the installer. Payments are guaranteed for 20/25 years and payment rates are index linked to inflation (using the Retail Price Index).

Feed in tariff rates are fixed based on the installation date for the full 20/25 years (+ RPI increases).

Solar PV Feed in Tariff - Export Tariff

The Solar PV Export Tariff

The solar PV export tariff applies to the proportion of clean energy that is exported (i.e. sold via the national grid mains connection for others to use) and is set at a buy price per kWh The export rate is guaranteed for 20/25 years and also index linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

As many residential properties are not yet installed with 'smart meters' which are able to measure the amount of solar power that is exported, export tariff payments in these situations are based on the assumption that 50% of a solar PV systems power generation will be exported. Solar PV systems of over 30kWp in size are automatically provided with a 'smart' meter that measures the real amount of power that is exported.

Solar PV Generation Meter

Key Points:

  • The Generation Tariff is based on the amount of power (measured in kWh) a system generates, this power does not need to be sold, you can use the free electricity you generate and export any excesses independently of the FIT.
  • The power you export/sell via the grid can be sold for additional profit.
  • The Feed in Tariff is applicable to all types of solar PV system but both the equipment and the installer must have been certified to UK Microgenertion Certification Scheme (MCS) standards.
  • The property where the solar PV system was to be installed must have met an energy efficiency rating of grade 'D' or above to qualify for the highest rate. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) would have been supplied with the FIT application.
  • FIT payments are index linked to inflation, this means that if inflation rises than so will the FIT payment.
  • FIT payments are non-taxable for homeowners.
  • FIT payments and rates are guaranteed for 20/25 years.
  • Different rates are payable for different size systems (based on max power output in kWp).
  • The original installer must have registered your system on the MCS database and provide you with an MCS number.
  • FIT registration and FIT payments are handled by FIT Licensees (the participating power companies).

Talk to us:

There is no getting away from it, the solar PV Feed in Tariff (FIT) appears complicated. When updating this article although we tried to make it as user friendly as possible we quickly realised how complicated the FIT process might appear.

If you would like any further information, would like to confirm something, have questions about eligible solar PV systems or you have recently moved into a home with Solar PV system installed then please feel free to contact us

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