The feed-in tariff (FIT) pays around 80,000 homes for generating renewable electricity, mainly from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. It closed to new applicants in March 2019.
The feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme offered cash payments to households that produced their own electricity using renewable technologies, such as solar PV panels or wind turbines.
The scheme closed to new applicants at the end of March 2019. This doesn’t affect you if you already receive FIT payments.
The payments are guaranteed by the government and paid for by a levy on everyone’s energy bills.
Feed-in tariff payments are made up of two elements:
They are payable for up to 20 years (25 years if you signed-up before August 2012) and usually paid each quarter. They’re tax-free.
Feed-in tariffs are for renewable electricity only. If you’re considering installing solar water-heating, a , or , these are heat-generating technologies and eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
If you already get the feed-in tariff then how much you earn depends on:
Those who signed up to the feed-in tariff when it first launched in 2011 are paid a much more generous rate than those who signed up shortly before the scheme closed.
Whether you can make a profit will depend on how much your system cost to install plus any maintenance costs, balanced against how much you make or save from it.
Those who signed up when the feed-in tariff was smallest could take around 25 years for savings to pay for their system. Though how much of your electricity you use makes a big difference.
The generation tariff rates for different technologies varied:
|Generation tariff (p/kWh)|
|Table notes: Feed-in tariff generation rates are those which were available to new installations when the scheme closed to new applicants in March 2019. Based on installations of 10kW or less. CHP stands for Combined Heat and Power. Source: Ofgem.|
If you already receive the feed-in tariff you will continue to do so. The scheme has closed to new applicants but those already signed up will continue to receive payments for the duration of their agreement.
To maximise your savings and earnings from the feed-in tariff, try some of these tips suggested by Which? members who have solar PV and receive the feed-in tariff:
Yes. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is the name for the new scheme that will pay homes for excess renewable electricity they generate and put into the grid.
All energy firms with more than 150,000 customers must offer a SEG tariff by the end of 2019, though very few have launched theirs so far.
The SEG differs from the FIT in a few key ways:
If you’re considering installing solar panels, or other renewable electricity generation at home, make sure you use an reputable company accredited by the (MCS) and . Ensure the technology is MCS-accredited, too.
If you move home, the ownership of the renewable technology will usually transfer to the new owners of the property. Therefore they would qualify for the feed-in tariff.
You or they would need to notify the energy company of the change on the date of the move.
Over the years, we’ve heard from solar panel owners who have had problems receiving their feed-in tariff payments.
Almost one in five Which? members with solar panels told us they’d had a problem getting their FIT paid when we ran a survey in May 2018. The most common complaint was receiving payment later than expected.
But things have improved since we first asked this question six years ago, when more than a third told us they had had a payment problem.
Some suppliers can take up to 90 days to pay your FITs, while others say they’re much faster, promising payment just 10 working days after you send a meter reading.
If your payments seem slow, check your feed-in tariff contract to find out when you should expect them. Make sure you submit meter readings on time – otherwise your FIT licensee has nothing to base your payments on. If you miss the deadline you may have to wait until the next meter reading period.
Your feed-in tariff payments will be the same regardless of which electricity company pays them. This is because the rates are set by the government.
You don’t have to use the same electricity company as your feed-in tariff licensee and your domestic electricity supplier. You can change your FIT licensee if you wish.
All electricity companies with more than 250,000 companies had to pay the feed-in tariff. These are: Avro Energy, British Gas, Bulb, Co-operative Energy, EDF Energy, Eon, Flow Energy, Npower, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy, Scottish Power, Shell Energy, SSE, Utility Warehouse and Utilita.
Some smaller firms also chose to pay the feed-in tariff. These include: Bristol Energy, Ecotricity, Engie, Foxglove Energy, Good Energy, Green Energy UK, iSupply Energy, Robin Hood Energy and Tonik Energy.
The feed-in tariff wasn’t available in Northern Ireland. Instead it had a scheme called NIRO (Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation) which you could claim if you installed solar panels.
However, this scheme has also now closed to new installations. If you already receive Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), you will continue to do so for either 20 years from the date your system was accredited or until 31 March 2027 – whichever is closer.
Additionally, if you register your installation with Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) you will get an export meter. Then you can sign up for an export tariff and be paid for every surplus unit of electricity you produce and export to the grid. For example, Power NI pays 5.47p/kWh.