Import and export meters and the feed-in tariff
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 March 2011 at 9:59 am
I've been a bit confused about export meters for the feed-in tariff. When my solar PV panels were installed my installer put in two meters. One measures the total amount of electricity generated. The other measures the amount I export.
The meters are identical. So identical that they even have consecutive serial numbers. So the reason I'm confused is that the feed-in tariff is paid based on my total generation meter reading. Yet, my electricity company can't pay me for exported electricity based on the export reading. This seems odd because the export reading is smaller, and the tariff so much lower, than the total generation reading.
Now I know why. It's not the electricity companies that make the rules, but DECC (regulated by Ofgem). And the rules say that if you're going to send electricity into the grid you need to have a meter with an MPAN number (you already have an MPAN number on your import meter).
Getting an official export meter with an MPAN number costs about £70 a year. This means it isn't cost effective for most domestic installations, as the exported electricity (at 3p a kWh) won't be worth enough to cover the cost. So instead the export figure is 'deemed' to be half of your total generation.
In my case, this is an under estimate. I have a 2.1kWp system, which has generated 1,966.8 kWhs of electricity. Of that, 1,266.7 kWhs has been exported - which is more than half. And I work from home. So people who are out all day will probably be exporting an even greater proportion.
I'm not the only person a bit confused. I hear that some electricity companies require their feed-in tariff customers to install a smart meter (despite the fact that standards for smart meters are yet to be agreed), and then they are tied into that supplier as they can't change until the meter is removed. If you've got a story about metering and feed-in tariffs please share it in the comment section below.
More information about metres and the feed-in tariff from YouGenCathy Debenham
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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