All You Need to Know About The Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FITs)
You may well have heard the term ‘Feed-In Tariff’ mentioned in the news over the last few years, but what exactly is it and how can you use the scheme to your advantage? This Energy Guide will go through exactly what Feed In Tariffs are and allow you to decide if you can make them work for your home or business.
Essentially, the Feed-In Tariff scheme allows you to generate your own electricity using a low carbon source such as solar panel and wind, and get money from your energy supplier. Even if you end up using some of the electricity you have generated for yourself, you can be rewarded for any surplus that is provided to the grid as a result of your efforts. This can obviously be a great way to cut your electricity bills and also contribute to the renewable energy cause.
When Were FITs Introduced?
Feed-In Tariffs have actually been available since 2010 and were brought in to replace government grants as an extra incentive for people to adopt solar and wind energy technologies. The majority of renewable energy techniques qualify for the scheme, the most notable being:
Micro Combined Heat & Power
How Do I Qualify for The Feed-In Tariff?
In order to qualify for FITs, you simply need to use installations and products that have been certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). If you are pursuing the use of anaerobic and hydro digestions then the ROO-FIT process must be adhered to. Your property’s Energy Performance Certificate will also be assessed when determining what kind of tariff you will be put onto.
The Feed-In Tariff scheme is administered by the regulator Ofgem and key decisions with regard to policy are made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Who Makes FITs Payments?
If you successfully generate enough power to be rewarded financially, then your energy supplier will make these payments to you. If you are with one of the Big Six, then they are legally obliged to pay you these monies whereas the smaller firms are not. That said, the majority of these providers have decided to pay out anyway and you can find a full list of FIT licensed suppliers by visiting the Ofgem website.
What Is An Eligibility Date
This is basically the point from which you can start receiving your FITs payments from the renewable energy you have generated. Once your supplier has validated your FITs application, you should be ready to go and will be rewarded for the surplus of energy you produce. If you have your energy generating apparatus installed, you should not hang around when it comes to sending your FITs application otherwise your payments may be stalled (Love Energy Savings would recommend sending this via special delivery to avoid any problems). A good piece of housekeeping is to stay in constant dialogue with your FIT supplier so you know what information they need and when, this way you can be assured about your payments. The eligibility date is really crucial as this is what your payments will be based on.
What If I Add Extra Solar (PV) Panels
If you think you can add some more solar panels to boost the amount of renewable energy you are producing, then you can apply for an extension but the rules change slightly. The eligibility date is the date that the new panels are commissioned, not the day your claim is received. This is very important to remember, especially if you want to claim the higher rate by submitting an EPC (which must be dated prior to the commissioning date other the higher rate will be invalid).
How Can I Benefit From The Feed-In Tariff?
Cutting Your Electricity Bills – Ultimately, as is the name of the game here at Love Energy Savings, you can reduce your electricity bills by choosing to generate your own power. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this will mean you have to buy less from your supplier, so as a long term option it is extremely viable. You would obviously have to rely on sunshine which can be problematic in the UK, but will more often than not end up being a good business decision.
Generation Tariff – Once you have agreed a unit rate with your supplier (p/kWh) then you can guarantee these for periods up to 20 years and these are index linked.
Export Tariff – For every unit that you contribute back the grid, you will earn 4.64 pence per kWh meaning that none of the electricity you generate is wasted. This is the same for any technology you decide to employ to produce your renewable energy. Smart technology now allows you to track exactly what you have produced, so you can stay on top of exactly what you have earned.
Feed-In Tariff Checklist
If you are concerned that you may have missed something following the installation of your energy generating hardware, fret not as that is what we are here for. Just ensure that you do the following and you will be producing power in no time.
MCS Database – Ensure your supplier puts you onto this database. You will then get a certificate which confirms that you are a member.
Correspondence With Supplier – Once you have told your energy provider that you want to register for the FIT, you just need to send them some documents. They will need your completed application form, an Energy Performance Certificate for solar power and your MCS certificate.
Your supplier will then check that all the information tallies with the records they have and confirm your eligibility date. You will be duly added to the Ofgem Central FIT Register and your first set of meter readings and payments will be scheduled.
After that, all you need to do is keep on top of your power generation and FIT payments. It is a requirement that you log all this information so it is a prudent move to put a system in place for this. This is a precaution which is necessary just in case of unforeseen circumstances such as FIT licensees becoming insolvent and other such scenarios. The exact criteria are:
- The licensee must record their generation and export meter readings
- The licensee must record all payments received
- This information must be taken for a one year period, commencing on the date of the first meter reading or on the date that a payment is received by a registered FIT generator.
If you are worried about any aspect of your gas and electricity supply, then Love Energy Savings are here to help. Although generating your own electricity can be a great way to save money, you need to ensure you are on the right energy tariff in the first place. You can use our online comparison engine free of charge and we will even get you moved over to a better deal so you can concentrate on the more important things in life.
If you found our Guide to The Feed-In Tariff helpful, then why not take a look at some of our other great Energy Guides? There you will find advice on everything from insulating your home to the latest smart heating technology.