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Solar PV: Smart Export Guarantee

Updated: February 2020. 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 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 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 the 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 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 solar electricity when the sun is shining that you generate yourself? Storing this premium solar generated electricity 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 ...

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Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

Mains/AC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

A whole house surge protector is installed to provide protection from transient overvoltages originating from the mains/grid. A whole house surge protector is installed directly inline and as close as possible to the incoming mains/grid supply meter, this allows for surge protection for all circuits and equipment including solar inverters, routers, stereos and other sensitive electrical equipment within the network. The addition of a 100Amp lockable isolator also allows for safe and convenient isolation of all electrical equipment within the network including consumer units, solar inverters, battery storage units and EV chargers from the mains/grid in one place.

Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

 

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

DC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

DC surge protection devices (SPDs) are installed between the solar panels and the solar inverter to protect both the solar inverter and the downstream electrical equipment from transient overvoltages of an atmospheric origin impacting the electrical system via the DC side of the system / the solar panels.

DC Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

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Articles: Further Information, Calculators & Solar Inverter Fault Codes

Lots of articles, calculators and technical information including links for further reading. Covering a range of topics related to the installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and electrical systems in the UK.

/Solar PV Information Articles

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.

How to provide power to a house using a portable generator

In this article we show you how to power your home using a portable diesel, petrol or LPG generator. We look at changeover switches, the importance of earthing, generator loadings, how to isolate non essential loads. We ask where to locate the generator when it's in operation, how best to safely isolate the mains supply and switch to a generator supply.

Ground Faults, Isolation Faults, RISO Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

After a number of years exposed to wind, rain, snow, ice and sometimes animals; solar panel systems can start to develop faults. The most common faults we find related to exposure are ground faults, isolation faults, RISO faults and insulation resistance faults. In this article we take a look at what these faults are, the possible causes and what steps are taken to identify and resolve them.

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Areas Served:

We are located in Wanborough, very close to Swindon in Wiltshire, Southern England, UK. From here we service clients within a 90 minute driving radius including the towns, cities and regions below:

Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Amesbury, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bridgwater, Bristol, Buckingham, Burford, Burnham on Sea, Calne, Camberley, Cardiff, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Eynsham, Faringdon, Frome, Fleet, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Ledbury, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Newport, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Reading, Ross on Wye, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Southampton, Stow, Stratford upon Avon, Stroud, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

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