The Smart Export Guarantee – what is the SEG and who is it for?

The Smart Export Guarantee started at the beginning of 2020. The government-backed initiative pays small-scale generators for renewable energy exported to the grid. Licensed electricity suppliers buy surplus low-carbon energy from those installing renewable solutions for their home or business.

How does the Smart Export Guarantee work?

The Smart Export Guarantee is a contract between generators and select electricity suppliers (known as a SEG Licensees). Ofgem licenses the scheme.

The SEG works similarly to how homes buy their electricity. The SEG Licensee determines the unit rate for purchase, along with the contract length. They then pay customers for any clean energy exported to the grid. Tariff rates vary between suppliers. Finding the best deal will take a bit of shopping around.

Readings from a smart meter are used to calculate Export Guarantee payments. Therefore, customers will need a smart meter in order to register for the SEG.

Who can claim the Smart Export Guarantee?

Firstly, the SEG is available to anyone living in Great Britain and installing one of the following renewable systems:

Solar photovoltaic (solar PV)
– Wind
– Micro combined heat and power (systems up to 50kW only)
– Hydro
– Anaerobic digestion

Secondly, only systems with a capacity up to 5MW are eligible. The good news is this means all domestic solar installations fall under these parameters. All eligible installations must be MCS-approved and have grid approval for installation.

Thirdly, SEG payments require a smart meter to calculate payments. If you don’t have a smart meter or if you’re unsure if your meter is compatible, we advise speaking to your electricity provider.

Finally, it is possible to claim the Smart Export Guarantee alongside other upfront funding or grant support. Anyone registered to receive Feed-in Tariff export payments cannot also claim the SEG. It is possible to opt out of FIT export payments in favour of the Export Guarantee. Existing generation payments would remain the same.

How much will the SEG pay?

Only unused energy is eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee. As such, payments are completely individual. The amount of payment depends on how much energy a customer self-consumes and how much is exported.

With that said, not all tariffs are equal. Some companies, like the forward-thinking Octopus Energy, offer a higher unit rate but insist that you must be an import customer as well. Companies such as British Gas offer a lower unit rate but separate SEG and electricity tariffs. There’s no set rule on what’s the best option. Generators will need to pick an overall energy scheme that works best for their circumstance.

Solar Energy UK have a ‘League Table’ tool on their website that allows anyone installing solar to compare the market.

How to apply for the Smart Export Guarantee

The Smart Export Guarantee is a contract between the SEG Generator (the system owner) and the SEG Licensee (an energy provider). As such, the application must be undertaken by the customer.

We do, however, have a Handy Guide to Applying for the SEG. Here you’ll find a breakdown of what you’ll need to make the application and how to make your submission.

Not got all the answers?

Give our team a call for further info.

One of our experts will be happy to offer guidance on the Smart Export Guarantee and how it impacts your solar installation.