How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?
Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 September 2014 at 7:05 am
Q. Can users who have smart meters use their export values from the meter for FIT payments, rather than the standard deemed 50 per cent?
A. Your question refers to the way in which the export payments element of the feed-in tariff is calculated.
You are right that for most domestic solar installations your export is assumed, or ‘deemed’, at 50 per cent; that is it is assumed that you will export around half of the electricity you generate so metering is not required.
However, with the government-driven roll out of smart meters in all homes commencing in earnest in late 2015, and already started in some areas, you are right to question what implication this has for those in receipt of the feed-in tariff.
Smart meters will read your electricity consumption and generation in real time, and communicate this data to your supplier automatically thus rendering the need to ‘deem’ your export data defunct.
Some of the larger energy companies have already started this roll out and to date smart meters have been installed in 295,700 homes.
If you already have a smart meter, you are required to use that to inform your export payments. Part of the FIT agreement states that if you do have a meter fitted whether it is a smart meter or not, then your FIT supplier must use those readings to inform their payments to you.
Ahead of the smart meter roll out though, it’s likely that you are still better off with a deemed rate, even if you export more than 50 per cent of your electricity.
If your usage is only marginally less than 50 per cent or you aren’t sure whether it is, you may find it more economically beneficial to stick with the deemed amount.
Secondly, if your use is likely to change, for example if you’re nearing retirement and are likely to start being at home and using more energy during the day, then the deemed rate might suit better for now.
Thirdly, even though you may be exporting more than 50 per cent, the cost and hassle of installing and maintaining a meter may be such that the minor benefit of increased FIT payments fail to offset the installation costs anyway.
If and when the smart meter rollout happens across the UK, it is unclear whether those in receipt of FITs will have the same right as other householders to opt out of the scheme. As more decisions are made and more details emerge, we will keep you posted!
More information about Feed-in Tariffs on YouGen.
Need help with any Jargon?
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
7 comments - read them below or add one