How to Sell Your Surplus Solar Energy Back to the Grid in the UK

By Josh Roberts
April 11, 2024

The UK’s transition to renewable energy is in full swing, and solar power plays a crucial role in this movement. Homeowners and businesses generating excess solar energy can now contribute to the grid and get compensated for it. This guide will walk you through the process of selling your surplus solar energy back to the grid in the UK, including the necessary documentation and a comparison of payment rates between two leading energy providers, Octopus Energy and E.ON.

Understanding the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Introduced in January 2020, SEG obligates licensed electricity suppliers with over 150,000 domestic customers to offer a tariff and pay small-scale low-carbon generators for surplus electricity exported back to the grid. This scheme replaced the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme and has opened up new avenues for energy compensation.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for SEG payments, your solar panel installation must:

  • Have a maximum capacity of 5MW, or 50kW for micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power).
  • Be located in Great Britain.
  • Be installed by an MCS-certified (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) or equivalent installer.
  • Have a smart meter or an export meter that can measure what you’re exporting to the grid.

Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Your Surplus Solar Energy

1. Ensure Your System is Compliant

Make sure your solar panel installation meets the eligibility criteria mentioned above. This includes having an MCS certificate, which is crucial for the next steps.

2. Install a Smart Meter

A smart meter is essential for measuring the electricity you export. If you don’t have one, contact your energy supplier to install it. There might be a waiting period depending on the supplier’s availability and schedule.

3. Choose an Energy Supplier

Not all energy suppliers offer SEG tariffs, and those that do have varying rates. Research and compare SEG tariffs offered by different suppliers, including Octopus Energy and E.ON, to find the best deal for your needs.

4. Gather Necessary Documentation

Prepare all required documents, including:

  • MCS certification for your solar panel installation.
  • Proof of ownership or residency (utility bills, ownership documents).
  • Your smart meter details or MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number).

5. Apply for SEG Tariff

Contact your chosen energy supplier and submit your application along with the necessary documentation. The supplier will review your application and guide you through the next steps.

6. Start Exporting and Earning

Once approved, you can start exporting your surplus solar energy back to the grid. Your energy supplier will track the amount exported through your smart meter and compensate you according to your SEG tariff rate.

Comparison Between Octopus Energy and E.ON

When it comes to choosing an energy supplier for SEG tariffs, two popular options in the UK are Octopus Energy and E.ON. Here’s a brief comparison based on their SEG offerings as of the latest information available:

Octopus Energy

  • Known for its innovative and flexible tariffs.
  • Offers a competitive SEG rate, often regarded as one of the best in the market.
  • Provides excellent customer service and easy-to-use digital platforms for monitoring your exports and earnings.
  • With Outgoing Fixed plan you earn a flat rate of 15p per kWh for every unit of power you export.

E.ON

  • One of the largest energy suppliers in the UK, with a wide range of energy solutions.
  • Offers a standard SEG tariff rate, which might not be as competitive as Octopus but is backed by the company’s robust infrastructure and customer service.
  • 16.5p per kWh of electricity you export on a 12-month fixed-term export tariff.

It’s important to note that SEG tariff rates are subject to change, and providers may offer different rates based on market conditions and other factors. Always check the latest rates and terms directly with the suppliers.

Conclusion

Selling your surplus solar energy back to the grid is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and earn some extra income. By following the steps outlined in this guide and choosing the right energy supplier for your needs, you can make the most out of your solar panel installation. Whether you opt for Octopus Energy, E.ON, or another provider, ensure you’re getting the best rate and service for your surplus solar energy.