Smart Export Guarantee proposals: industry responds

Chris Hewett, chief executive, Solar Trade Association: “We give these proposals a cautious welcome. We are very pleased the government is unequivocal; small generators will be compensated for the power they contribute to the system, but the issue remains providing remuneration at a fair market rate… The consultation acknowledges many of the market barriers we have raised with government and the associated costs. Our worry is that these may impede the ability of suppliers to offer fair and meaningful rates, even though they may wish to. Customers are freely able to switch suppliers in a competitive market so where these costs fall remains vital to developing meaningful offers.”

James Court, director of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association: “These proposals could usher in a new era for small-scale renewables and offer a subsidy free means for homeowners and businesses to generate their own low-cost, low-carbon electricity. It was clear that no-one should be asked to give away electricity for free, and we strongly advocated for a market based solution and are pleased this approach has been adopted.”

Barnaby Wharton, head of policy, RenewableUK: “These Government proposals rightly recognise the role that small-scale generation can play in developing a smarter, more decentralised energy system that benefits consumers. Small-scale wind energy and other renewable generation reduces overall demand on the grid and supports thousands of jobs in industries across the UK. It is vital that the value of this locally generated, low-carbon power is reflected in the final Smart Export Guarantee proposals.”

Doug Parr, chief scientist, Greenpeace: “The government has recognised that forcing households to hand over their surplus solar power to big energy companies for free is not the way to go, and that’s a good sign. Ministers should incentivise people to do the right thing to help tackle climate change, not punish them for it. But householders will want a lot more certainty around the benefits of installing solar than the government has yet provided.”

Simon Daniel, chief executive, Moixa: “The introduction of this scheme will help to ensure the continued success of domestic solar in the UK, which is hugely important for delivering on our decarbonisation targets. The Smart Export Guarantee will also boost the uptake of smart home energy storage systems, as they will enable users to maximise their financial returns by storing energy until they can get the best possible price.”

Community Energy England: “An initial read-through of the document has raised some areas for concern. It is not clear whether generators will receive a fair market price for their exported electricity, with the consultation only proposing that tariffs must be greater than zero. Contract lengths agreed by suppliers may also vary, making it difficult for community organisations to develop financial models or secure finance... The proposed SEG is also heavily dependent on the effectiveness of smart meters.”

“The consultation doesn’t give a timetable for implementation and there will be no retrospective payments. Best case scenario for implementation of the SEG would be Autumn, but 12 months is more likely. There will therefore be a significant period from the FIT closing from 31 March whereby projects not registered in time for FITS will receive no payments for exported electricity.”

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