Back in 2010, businesses introduced the feed-in tariff scheme to encourage us to create our own energy. With energy being used up faster than ever, it made sense to try and cut back on the amount we buy from our suppliers and start giving something back to the grid. The feed-in tariff closed to applications in 2019 and was replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. Through the SEG scheme, households are paid to export the unused renewable electricity that they generate to the National Grid.
The Smart Export Guarantee scheme is one of many national initiatives to support energy efficiency in homes. Find more grants, cash incentives, discounts and other initiatives in our list of financial support to make your home more energy efficient.
Of all renewable energies, the solar panel is the one that we like the most. According to The Department of Energy and Climate Change, this year around 85% of us are backing the solar cause, often in addition to wind energy (a worthy runner up with 77%!)
If we install a PV solar panel system at home, we’ll be paid for every unit of excess energy that we send back to the energy grid. The amount you get depends on the energy supplier you apply to. It’s worth using the Energy Saving Trust’s calculator to work out what your income and savings could be.
I’ve always shied away from solar panels because of their appearance. I’ve known that I could benefit but I hadn’t considered the payoffs to be worth the ugly strips or looked into them in greater depth. Now that they’ve developed to be a lot nicer on the eye and we have a scheme set up, I’ve started to reconsider joining the other 85% of us giving them the green light.
The biggest myth is that they won’t be much use in rainy England. If they’re in shadow, they won’t generate as much electricity so we need to place them on a roof or wall that’s within 90 degrees of south-facing. But, whether it’s sunny or otherwise, it’s daylight that matters. So as long as a tree or a neighbour’s house doesn’t put them in shade, they’ll work fine.
What we do need to consider is the quality of our roofs as the panels aren’t light but planning permission isn’t needed for a standard amount either, unless you live in a conservation area. If you’re wanting to install a system, check with your local planning department that you’re okay to go ahead and always assess the weight of the load on your roof with a structural engineer, builder or solar panel installer.
Do you have solar panels installed already or are you considering them? Let us know your thoughts below. For more information about the feed-in-tariff scheme, visit the Ofgem website.