What is the Smart Export Guarantee and am I eligible?

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The Smart Export Guarantee was introduced in January 2020 to replace Feed-in Tariffs. The Feed-in Tariff, or FiT, scheme was launched in 2010. It offered homeowners the chance to earn money back from their energy company by generating electricity from renewable sources and selling it back to the National Grid. The unit price per kWh is defined by each supplier and it varies between 2-5 and 6p.The Smart Export Guarantee is a similar scheme. It allows homeowners generating electricity from renewable sources to earn money and reduce their energy bills. However, there are a few crucial differences and it’s likely homeowners signing up to SEG will earn less than those who are on Feed-in Tariffs. Here, we look at which energy suppliers offer SEG and how to apply, how much you could earn from the scheme, how long do SEG payments last, and who’s eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee.
Last update: June 2022

How to apply for Smart Export Guarantee

The Smart Export Guarantee allows homeowners to earn money by selling green electricity back to the National Grid. In order to be eligible for the SEG, homeowners must have a smart meter installed alongside their renewable energy generation equipment. This smart meter will measure how much electricity is being exported from the property.
As well as having solar panels, wind turbines or a hydro generator in place and your smart meter installed, there are a few other things you need to get in order before you apply for the SEG. These are:

  • Your MCS certification (or equivalent)
  • Your proof of ownership (most licensees stipulate that SEG tariff recipients must be the system owner).
  • The application form. This can be found on the SEG licensee’s website.
  • For anaerobic digestion, you’ll need to fill in an additional form. This can be found on Ofgem’s website.


Once you have submitted all relevant documentation, you’ll need to wait around 28 days for your application to be processed. In some circumstances, your SEG licensee may need to visit your property and inspect your equipment before you’re accepted onto the scheme.

What do I need to qualify for the SEG?

The Smart Export Guarantee is aimed at homeowners that are generating green electricity on a relatively small scale. The scheme is open to owners of the following technology types up to a capacity of 5MW, or up to 50kW for Micro-CHP:

  • Solar photovoltaic (solar PV)
  • Wind
  • Micro combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Hydro
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)


Of these, the most popular generation method is solar photovoltaic panels. Solar panels are affordable and easy to install and can be fitted to roofs, walls and in free-standing frames, allowing them to fit easily onto your property.

Wind generation is another viable option. On a large scale, wind is probably the most efficient form of green energy generation and currently, wind farms produce the majority of the renewable energy we consume in the UK. On some days, this can be up to 40% of the total electricity used

Smart Export Guarantee - Application

Which energy suppliers offer Smart Export Guarantees

Under the SEG, all UK energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers are legally obliged to be part of the scheme. Suppliers with fewer than 150,000 customers can choose whether or not to offer the Smart Export Guarantee.
According to Ofgem, mandatory SEG licensees include:

  • Avro Energy
  • British Gas
  • Bulb
  • E
  • EDF Energy
  • E.ON
  • Green Star Energy (now part of Shell Energy group)
  • Npower
  • Octopus Energy
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • SSE (part of OVO group)
  • The Utility Warehouse
  • Utilita
  • Green Network
  • SO Energy

How much can you make selling energy back to the grid?

The Smart Export Guarantee was introduced to replace the Feed-in Tariff scheme. However, while the FiT scheme saw homeowners being paid for the energy they produced and consumed, as well as the energy they exported, SEG will only pay for energy that’s pumped back into the grid.

What’s more, while FiT saw rates set by the Government, SEG allows energy companies to set their own tariffs. The only requirement on these tariffs is that the amount paid for each unit of energy must be above zero.

This means that homeowners signed up to SEG will earn significantly less than those on FiTs. It also means that you’ll need to shop around to find the best rates for your SEG tariff.

The table below shows the SEG tariffs available from the most popular suppliers.


Electricity Supplier Tariff Type Tariff Name Tariff Rate (p/kWh) Payment Frequency Battery Storage Export
Social Energy Variable Smarter Export 5.6p Monthly Yes
Octopus Energy Fixed & Variable Outgoing Octopus Fixed: 5.5p
Variable: ½ hourly rate
Unknown Unknown
E.ON
(also available for Npower customers)
Fixed Fixed & Export 5.5p 12 months
(3 months possible)
Unknown
Bulb Fixed Vari-Fair 5.38p 3 months Case by case
SO Energy Fixed Smart Export Tariff 5p Unknown Unknown
OVO Energy Fixed OVO SEG Tariff 4p 3 months Case by case
Scottish Power Fixed Smart Export Variable 4p 6 months No
EDF Energy Fixed Export+Earn 3.5p Unknown Unknown
Shell Energy Variable SEG Tariff 3.5p 12 months Yes, excluding brown energy
SSE Variable Smart Export Tariff 3.5p 12 months Unknown
British Gas Variable Smart Export Tariff 3.2p 6 months Yes
Avro Energy Variable Smart Export Tariff 3p Unknown Unknown
Utilita Unknown Smart Export Guarantee 3p Unknown Unknown
Utility Warehouse Variable UW Smart Export Guarantee 2p Unknown Unknown


If you choose a tariff that pays 5.5p per kWh, and your system generates 3,000 kWh, you could earn around £165 per year. However, you’re likely to consume some of this energy yourself, so it’s more likely you’ll export around half to the grid, earning you approximately £82.50 per year.

How does SEG work with solar battery storage?

Because solar panels only generate electricity when exposed to the sun, batteries are used to store power for use at night and on overcast days. As the SEG only pays for energy that’s exported, you generally won’t get paid for any electricity stored in your batteries.

However, in some circumstances, stored energy is covered by the SEG. This means you could get paid for the electricity in your batteries. Check with your supplier to find out more.

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How long do SEG payments last?

At the moment, there is no date for the SEG to come to an end. Energy suppliers are able to set their own terms and many offer 12-month contracts, although variable deals are also available.
If you signed up for a 12-month deal, your SEG payments would end when the contract period expired. It’s important to check the exact terms with each supplier before you sign on the dotted line.

Will I receive the Smart Export Guarantee if I’m already on a Feed-in tariff?

Although the Feed-in Tariff scheme has been discontinued, those already signed up will continue to receive payments for up to 25 years. As the FiT scheme is generally a lot more profitable than SEG, it makes sense to stay on your existing tariff if you’re already signed up to the scheme.
If you’re on a Feed-in Tariff and want to switch suppliers, there are some, such as Octopus Energy and SO Energy, that will allow you to keep your existing deal.

Am I eligible for SEG if I received a government grant for installation?

Some homeowners have used government grant schemes to cover the cost of purchasing or installing renewable energy generation equipment. If you were able to access a government scheme to pay for the cost of your equipment or installation, you are still eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee.

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FAQ

How do you apply for SEG?

In order to apply for the SEG, you’ll need to download the application form from your chosen licensee’s website, check you have all your paperwork in order and ensure your system is eligible for the scheme. Your application should take around 28 days to be processed once submitted.

How much can you make selling energy back to the grid?

The maximum currently offered by SEG suppliers is 5.5p per kWh. If your system generates 3,000 kWh per year and you export all of this to the grid, you’ll earn around £165. However, if you consume some of this power yourself, your payments will be lower.

What do I need to qualify for the SEG?

In order to be eligible for the SEG, homeowners must have their own green energy generation equipment and have a smart meter installed alongside it. This smart meter will measure how much electricity is being exported from the property and allow suppliers to calculate SEG payments.
The scheme is open to owners of solar panels, wind turbines, hydro power generators, anaerobic digesters and Micro combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) up to a capacity of 5MW, or up to 50kW for Micro-CHP

When did the SEG come into effect?

The SEG was introduced in January 2020. Suppliers are accepting applications now, so if you have green energy generation equipment at home and want to make some money, now is the perfect time to apply.

Updated on 15 Jun, 2022

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