When eligibility for the feed-in starts: the definitive answer
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 October 2011 at 6:02 am
"What is the start date for my feed-in tariff payments?" and variations on it must be the most frequently asked question we get here at YouGen. Is it the date it's commissioned? Or the date the electricity company gets your application? And what happens if they lose it?
Well I've just checked with Ofgem, and this is what they say:
"Feed-in tariff (FIT) payments start on the eligibility date of the installation. Eligibility date for FIT Installations is the later of the commissioning date or the application date. Effectively meaning you have to commission and apply for the scheme to be eligible to receive payments. We would advise people to apply soon after [their system is] commissioned, but regardless generators will receive a fixed period of support from their eligibility date based on the technology type. i.e. 25 years for PV."
A typical question for us is this one from a reader in Aberdeen: "I have PV solar panels (3.99kW) installed at my house in Aberdeen,Scotland, on 20th September 2011. As in most cases paperwork and postage takes a certain amount of time, and I only received my feed-in tariff contract from my electricity supplier, Scottish Hydro / SSE, today, 4th Ocrtober 2011. I notice from the contract sent me that the eligibility date of the contract is 29 September 2011. My solar panels have produced 128.3 kWh, or £ 55.68 from the FIT Tariff during this intervening period. Is Scottish Hydro / SSE responsible for payment of the FIT in this period, or will this production just be grabbed / stolen by the electricity supplier?"
Based on the Ofgem answer above, our enquirer won't be paid for the first 128.3 kWh her system has generated, but SSE will have to pay her until 29 September 2036 (eligibility date) rather than 20 September (install date) and the rate will be tied to the retail price index. So the payment is delayed, rather than grabbed or stolen. I'm sure readers will let us know in the comment section below how acceptable that is!
My advice would be to send the paperwork off to your FIT supplier on the day of your installation. If you want to be extra safe, send it registered post, so you can prove when it was sent if your energy supplier loses it.
Photo by Andreas Demmelbauer
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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