If you’re thinking of having solar panels installed on your propert you’ll most probably be aware that you can receive an income from the electricity you produce, but you may not be aware of the finer details relating to the feed-in-tariff (FiT). After all it is a complicated scheme and one which is constantly changing due to government legislation and fluctuating tariff levels.

What is the FiT

The FiT is available on a range of renewable technologies which produce electricity. This includes solar panels (by far the most well known and popular), wind turbines, hydroelectrcity, anaerobic digesters and micro combined heat and power. The scheme is regulated by Ofgem and payments are made to you for each kilowatt of energy you produce.

How much will I make?

The scheme started in 2010 with a rate of 43p per kWh and this rate has fallen dramatically since that time. It is now 14.38p (from April 2014) for solar panels but increases to around 22p for wind and hydro. Due to government changes to the scheme announced last year, this rate will fluctuate. Essentially the government base the amount they will pay on the cost of the installation and the efficiency. The FiT you get will be based on the time you register your installation and will be fixed until the end of your contract – usually 20 years.

The FiT rate is linked with the retail price Index and will increase with inflation.

What other benefits are there?

You will receive the FiT plus a set tariff from the grid for any surplus energy you sell back to them. This rate is currently set at 4.64p/kWh. Additionally you will get energy savings on your everyday bills. It is estimated that the average home with solar panels could save and earn as much as £770 per year.

How do I get the FiT

  • Choose the type of renewable energy you would like to have installed
  • Find an installer who is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)
  • Inform your supplier that you want to be registered for the FiT scheme. You will be given a registration form, a certificate of compliance under the MCS scheme and an Energy Performance Certificate where required (your home needs to be a band D or better).
  • Your supplier will double check your eligibility and confirm the date of your installation. You will also be told when you need to read your meter and when they will make the payments to you.

Changes to meter readings

Since July 2013 the government have required all FiT generators to maintain records of their generation and the exported power. This means that all meter readings must be recorded and a record of payments received needs to be kept updated. For this reason your system must be installed with an accurate meter.