Maximise Your Earnings: Get Paid for Surplus Solar Energy with the Smart Export Guarantee

Smart Export Guarantee SEG

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a government-backed initiative introduced in the UK on 1 January 2020. The scheme aims to financially reward households and businesses for exporting their surplus renewable electricity back to the national grid. This scheme is particularly beneficial for those who have installed renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbines, and other eligible renewable technologies. This article delves into the various aspects of the SEG, its benefits, eligibility criteria, and how to get started.

Key Takeaways:

1. SEG Overview: Launched in 2020, the SEG compensates small-scale renewable energy generators for surplus electricity exported to the grid.

2. Eligibility: Requires MCS certification, a smart meter, and an EPC rating of D or higher; applicable to solar PV, wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion, and micro-CHP.

3. Tariff Rates: Rates vary by supplier; Octopus Energy offers up to 35p/kWh during peak times, while others like Shell Energy and British Gas offer lower, fixed rates.

4. Application Process: Involves contacting an SEG licensee, submitting necessary certifications, and installing a smart meter if not already in place.

5. Additional Benefits: Encourages adoption of renewable energy technologies, reducing energy bills and promoting sustainability.

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What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The SEG replaces the former Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, offering payments to small-scale generators of renewable electricity for the excess energy they export to the grid. The SEG mandates licensed electricity suppliers to offer at least one export tariff to eligible participants. This scheme covers a range of renewable technologies, including solar PV, wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion, and micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems.

Benefits of the Smart Export Guarantee

Financial Incentives

The primary benefit of the SEG is the financial compensation for the surplus electricity exported to the grid. Rates vary among suppliers, with some offering higher rates for electricity exported during peak demand periods. For instance, Octopus Energy’s Intelligent Octopus Flux tariff can offer up to 35p per kWh during peak times.

Encouragement for Renewable Energy Adoption

The SEG incentivises the adoption of renewable energy technologies by providing a steady income stream for the surplus energy generated. This not only helps in reducing energy bills but also supports the broader goal of reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy independence.

Eligibility Criteria

To participate in the SEG, certain eligibility criteria must be met:

  1. Renewable Energy Source: The electricity must be generated from an eligible renewable source such as solar PV, wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion, or micro-CHP (Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) | Ofgem).
  2. System Capacity: The system’s capacity should not exceed 5 megawatts (MW) or 50 kilowatts (kW) for micro-CHP systems (Smart Export Guarantee Rates in 2024 – Solar Planet).
  3. Certification: The system must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or an equivalent standard (Smart Export Guarantee | Everything You Need To Know).
  4. Smart Meter: A registered smart meter that can measure exported electricity is required to provide accurate readings for SEG payments.

How to Apply for the Smart Export Guarantee

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Ensure your renewable energy system meets the SEG eligibility requirements. This includes having MCS certification and a smart meter installed.

Step 2: Research Suppliers

Investigate various energy suppliers to compare SEG tariff rates and terms. Suppliers such as Octopus Energy and E.ON Next are notable for their competitive rates.

Step 3: Submit an Application

Contact the chosen SEG licensee to start the application process. You will need to provide documentation proving your system’s eligibility, such as the MCS certificate and smart meter details.

Step 4: Install a Smart Meter

If you do not already have a smart meter, arrange for its installation. This is essential for accurately measuring and reporting the electricity you export.

Step 5: Receive Payments

Once approved, you will start receiving payments for your exported electricity. Payment cycles and rates vary by supplier, so ensure you understand the terms before finalising your choice.

SEG Tariff Rates

SEG rates are not fixed and can vary significantly between suppliers. Rates are typically influenced by market conditions and supplier policies. For example, as of early 2024, Octopus Energy offers the highest rate at around 27p per kWh for certain customers, while other suppliers like British Gas offer flat rates of 6.4p/kWh.

Additional Considerations

Combining SEG with Other Incentives

You can still receive SEG payments even if you have benefited from government grants for your solar installation, as the two schemes are separate. However, it’s crucial to check with your supplier regarding any specific conditions that may apply.

Energy Storage Systems

If you have a solar battery storage system, some suppliers may offer additional benefits or different tariff structures (e.g. Octopus Flux tariff). It’s worth exploring these options to maximise your earnings from surplus electricity.


The Smart Export Guarantee is a valuable initiative for those generating renewable electricity, offering financial rewards for surplus energy exported to the grid. By meeting the eligibility criteria and selecting the right supplier, households and businesses can benefit significantly from the scheme. The SEG not only supports the adoption of renewable energy technologies but also contributes to a more sustainable and energy-independent future.

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