The Feed in Tariff

The Feed-In tariff is the mechanism the government has set up to pay electricity producers for the electricity they produce – and you really benefit.

The mechanism is very simple. When we install a PV system, as part of that system we install an extra electricity meter that measures the total amount of electricity produced by the system. Every quarter you read the meter, phone the reading through to the company who supplies the electricity and – every quarter – the electricity company pays for the electricity produced. To ensure readings are correct, once every two years they will come and read the meter themselves.

In addition, you will be paid for the electricity you produce – but don’t consume. This is called the Export tariff. At present this is simply deemed: a calculation is made, which takes the total amount of electricity produced as read from the meter. That figure is halved and you’re paid an extra 4.5p a unit based on the calculation.

You also benefit from the electricity you generate and use. Every unit you produce and use is a unit you have not bought. So, if you’re paying 13p for a unit of electricity you save 13p for every kilowatt your system produces but use yourself.

In order to qualify for the Higher Feed-In tariff Rate the installation must comply with certain conditions.

  1. The house must have an energy performance certificate of D rating or higher.
  2. A roof survey must be carried out in order to ensure the roof is structurally sound and capable of supporting the additional load, which in the case of PV Panels is not large.
  3. The installation must be carried out by an MCS certified company, which of course we are.

The Feed-In tariff is the scheme brought in to provide financial incentives to encourage the installation of renewable, energy-based electricity generation. The Feed-In tariff varies depending on the type of technology and the size of the system installed.

The simple table below is for small scale solar PV:

Totalinstalled capacity (kW) Generation tariff with eligibility date 1 Aug - 31 Oct 2012 Generation tariff with eligibility date 1 Nov 2012 - 31 Jan 2013 Lower tariff (if energy effeciency (EPC) requirement not met) with eligibility date 1 Aug 2012 - 31 Jan 2013
<4kW (new build and retrofit) 16.0p/kWh 15.44p/kWh 7.1p/kWh
>4-10kW 14.5p/kWh 13.99p/kWh 7.1p/kWh
>10-50kW 13.5p/kWh 13.03p/kWh 7.1p/kWh
stand-alone 7.1p/kWh 7.1p/kWh 7.1p/kWh

How the Tariff works

When you install a Complete Plumbing Clean Energy solar PV system or wind turbine we will connect the system to the grid via your own generation meter. The meter will measure how much electricity you are actually producing. As an MCS Accredited company we at CPCE will register the meter along with details of the installation on the MCS database. We will send you the certificate and you then register for the Feed-In tariff with your electricity provider.

The electricity provider will then request a meter reading from you every quarter and will verify the meter reading no less frequently than once every two years. You will get a rebate on your electricity bill and sent a cheque every three months.

Energy Performance Certificates

It is current policy that all installations must have an energy performance certififcate for D rating property or better. However Complete Plumbing Clean Energy can commission a survey of the property on your behalf and can recommend and install the most cost effective measures to raise the performance of the property – and lower your bills at the same time.

For example:

  • On our smart house we have a 2kW system of eight panels producing 1667.2 kWh (units of electricity)
  • The Feed-In tariff means that our owner will receive 15.4p for each kWh (unit of electricity)
  • In addition, the government makes the assumption that the average householder will use half the electricity the system produces and the other half will be fed back into the grid (electricity network)
  • So, the scheme pays an addition 4.5p for half the total produced
  • The house will use some of the electricity the system produces. So, on a summer’s day, the house is empty and very little electricity is being used but the system is still producing electricity. This will be fed back into the grid. Much more will be used on the weekends
  • The scheme doesn’t measure what is used and what is fed back. It merely assumes (deems) that half will be used and half fed back

Let's take an example...

A two-kilowatt system of eight panels on a south-facing roof may produce something in the region of 1700 kilowatt hours a year (units of electricity).

£262.48 would be paid for the total amount read on the meter (generation tariff) based on 15.44p per kWh.

£34 would be paid for electricity generated but not used.

£110.50 would be the savings from using half the electricity you generate. Yielding a total return of £406.98 a year.

Other Technologies

The Feed-In tariff is also available for other technologies that generate electricity, such as wind turbines, or boilers – which generate electricity as well as heat your home or business. These are called Combined Heat and Power systems (CHP).

The rates for these systems are set out in the table below:

Summary of hydro, wind and micro-CHP tariffs

Technology Tariff band (kW capacity) Tariffs from 1 december 2012
Hydro <15 21.0p/kWh
>15 to <100 19.6p/kWh
Wind <1.5 21.0p/kWh
>1.5 to <15 21.0p/kWh
>15 to <100 21.0p/kWh
Micro-CHP <2kW 12.5p/kWh