Installing solar panels is a great way to reduce your energy bills by up to 80% and do your bit for the environment. Up until April 2019, you could get solar panel funding in the form of the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) that paid you for every unit of electricity you generate. Now it’s stopped, there are still ways you can embrace and implement renewable energy solutions while still earning money from your installation.

There are several funding options and incentives you can take advantage of, including the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), the time of use charge, frequency response and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). We’ll go through some of the solar panel funding and incentives available to you and explain how the Feed-in Tariff works so you can compare the differences.

installer installing solar panels for feed-in tariff

How did the Feed-in Tariff Scheme (FITs) work?

FITs was huge for the renewable energy industry when it first launched in April 2010 to help people with solar panel funding. Homeowners were paid up to 50.67p for every kilowatt hour (kWh) their solar PV panels generated, whether they used it themselves or not. They were also paid a separate export tariff for electricity they exported to the grid, which was estimated at 50% for anyone that didn’t have a smart meter; when the scheme started the export tariff stood at 3.57p/kWh, but rose to 5.03p/kWh in August 2012 and was 5.38p/kWh for the remainder of the scheme.

As the cost of installing solar panels reduced, so did the Feed-in Tariff. By the time the scheme ended in April 2019, the number of years homeowners received the FIT for had reduced from 25 years to 20 and the rates stood as follows:

FITs rate Total installed capacity (kW) Tariff (p/kWh)
Higher rate 0-10 3.79
10-50 4.03
50-250 1.69
Middle rate 0-10 3.41
10-50 3.63
50-250 1.52
Lower rate 0-10 0.15
10-50 0.15
50-250 0.15

But now that the FITs has ended, there are other ways you can maximise your savings and benefits from installing solar panels.

Solar panel funding & incentives 2020

solar panel funding with pound coins on solar panels

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee, or SEG, is the closest you can get to the Feed-in Tariff now. Your energy supplier, if they have over 150,000 customers, must offer you a tariff where they pay you for every unit of electricity you export to the grid.

There’s no set minimum tariff for the SEG, except that the rate must always be greater than zero. As a guide to what you might expect to be paid, the FITs export tariff ended at 5.38p/kWh.

You can find out more about the Smart Export Guarantee on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Time of use tariffs

With the time of use tariff, you pay different prices for electricity you use from the grid, depending on what time of day you use it. The idea behind it is to get customers to use more electricity at off-peak times to try to balance demand.

This might seem similar to the Economy 7 tariff, but time of use tariffs offer different rates at different times of day. When demand is lowest, the rates will be lower, usually at night or during the middle of the day when people are at work.

So, if you’ve got solar panels and a battery storage system, you can use electricity from your solar panels during the day and choose to fill up your battery during off-peak times to save money. You can do the same if you’ve got an electric vehicle – simply charge your car using cheap electricity from the grid.

Grid trading

Grid trading is where you control when you charge your solar battery storage system from the grid and when you trade excess energy back for maximum energy bill savings. This means you can fill up your battery with cheap energy during off-peak times (if you’re on a time of use tariff), then sell it back to the grid when demand is at its highest.

Most systems will be able to do this intelligently without you having to do much about it, so this is an easy way to get yourself some form of solar panel funding.

Frequency response

This is where a utility company remotely manage your system and can trade and swap energy on your behalf in compliance with the National Grid’s dynamic frequency response service.

You can benefit from the savings with a credit system.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive enables participants with domestic and non-domestic properties to utilise green technology and reap the financial rewards over a seven-year period. You can get this type of solar panel funding if you have a solar hot water system, but it doesn’t stop there. You can also claim the RHI if you have a ground- or air-source heat pump or a biomass boiler.

The incentive hopes to encourage more homeowners and non-domestic sectors to embrace green technology. By doing so, participants who generate and heat domestic buildings via renewable energy are rewarded with quarterly payments over seven years. The payment amount is dependent on which green technologies you install and the latest tariffs. At the moment, the rates are:

Solar thermal Biomass Ground source heat pump Air source heat pump
Tariff (p/kWh renewable heat) 21.09 6.88 20.89 10.71

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme enables you to benefit from affordable green solutions to improve the energy-efficiency of domestic and non-domestic properties and reduce your energy bills.

If you just want to use solar energy for your hot water, taking advantage of the RHI is a must – but you must only install flat plate or evacuated tube panels.

How do I take advantage of the solar panel funding available?

Fill in the form below and we’ll get in touch with you within 24 hours to discuss your options for solar panel funding and incentives. We’ll be able to recommend the best solar panel and battery system for your home, and even a heat pump system if you want to make your home fully renewable.

Alternatively, give our team a call on 01242 370 308 and they’ll be happy to help.