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Solar export contracts: getting the most from your solar PV

A commercial solar PV array in front of a pink and yellow sunset

Businesses can increase the value of their solar PV systems via solar export contracts, thanks to the government-backed Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme.

The premise of these contracts is relatively simple: any excess electricity your system generates can be sold back to the UK power grid.  But there are a number of complexities which make this practice fairly unusual.  For the future of the UK’s energy needs, this needs to change.

This blog explains how your business can take advantage of exporting excess energy and how Procure Smart can assist.

Which UK suppliers offer solar export contracts?

Only a handful of energy suppliers offer businesses solar export contracts.  Pozitive Energy and Rebel Energy voluntarily offer this service, however Ofgem also mandates a group of suppliers to offer the service.  This list is reviewed every 12 months.

As of this blog’s release, the mandated list is:

  • British Gas
  • E
  • E.ON
  • EDF
  • Octopus Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • So Energy
  • The Utility Warehouse
  • Utilita

Export contracts work differently with all of these suppliers and some offer different products.  For example, some require the exporting business to be an energy customer of their inbound supply first. 

They also offer fixed or variable prices, which can track the market.  In line with the wholesale energy markets, SEG prices fluctuate and require regular monitoring to ensure your system is as profitable as possible.

Who can benefit from solar export contracts?

Both businesses and residential PV systems can benefit from the SEG.  The value which can be gained from an export contract should be weighed up with the cost of maximising system size.  Investing extra in a larger system can prove shrewd in the long term.

Just like your energy contract, you can switch SEG supplier.  This is straightforward but depends on the terms set in your current solar export contract.

What is the minimum SEG rate?

There is no minimum set SEG rate.  The “guarantee” element of SEG refers to the fact that the tariff must always be greater than zero, eliminating the chance of a solar export contract costing you money.

SEG rates offered by suppliers can fluctuate on variable products, but fixed products for suppliers who aren’t your inbound grid supplier peak at 12p per kWh.  Flexible and same-supplier rates can exceed 25p per kWh.

It is certainly not guaranteed, but SEG rates have increased steadily since the scheme launched in 2020, just as the wholesale gas and electricity markets have done.  This means that your investment could overperform if rates continue to increase, both in the protection solar PV provides your business and the revenue you could access via a smart export contract.

What do I need to get started?

Firstly, the starting point is having a solar PV system.  Wrapping an export contract up into your business investment case is a great way to minimise payback period and get a renewable project signed off by your business’ leadership.

You must have an up-to-date smart meter installed or be prepared to have an export meter installed at your premises.  Again, this is all much easier to plan as part of a solar installation.

Having an idea of your load profile is important, because certain SEG rates are inflated at different times of day and you could benefit from exporting between certain business hours, which may coincide with your PV system’s peak efficiency, or may require a storage solution built into your project.

Your system must be up-to-scratch, meaning the installer should be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited.  This is something to bear in mind during the planning of your renewables project.

Work with the experts

At Procure Smart, we have the connections with suppliers, installers and funders to holistically plan business renewable energy projects, including Solar PV systems.

We conduct free desktop feasibility studies, to give customers an outline of what a project could deliver for them, including:

  • Funding options
  • The most appropriate technology
  • Planning permission assistance
  • Savings cases versus grid-sourced energy
  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
  • Revenue generation via solar export contracts
  • Accredited installer options
  • Overall business investment cases

Working with a third party such as Procure Smart allows you peace of mind that you are going for the right renewable technology and are using the right installer.  We can build your project from our panel of suppliers and ensure you are making the right choice.

As always, our quotes are free and no-obligation.  Fill in a form below to get smart and make the most of your business’ solar PV.

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