FIT Tariff payments

FIT tariff payments

/ posted in Green, Green Living, Guest Posts / 5 Comments

Lola describes herself as a ‘middle aged, middle income, muddling along’ homeowner who divides her time between working, cooking and sleeping. She lives in a ex-miners cottage in Somerset which she has been slowly making more energy efficient over the past 7 years…

With all this talk of energy efficiency and the new Green deal, npower have asked me to write a real life solar case study, as a Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel owner, explaining how it works, and most importantly how the maths add up!

We installed solar panels three years ago, and since we’re lucky enough to have an almost exactly south facing roof, we’ve found our installation not only generates plenty of electricity for us to use, but also allows us to take advantage of the Feed in Tariff (FIT) payments and get a steady income. In fact, the payments we receive are a significant help in covering the costs of our other energy bills.

First, I should probably explain a bit about us; obviously we are energy conscious, so we do have fairly efficient appliances, but we’re not obsessive. We have a drinks fridge, an extra freezer in the garage, we leave lights on when we shouldn’t, and we have lots of fairy lights, plus like most people we sit watching TV while using the laptop and various other energy draining toys! We have a four bed house which has a lack of natural light, solid walls and is located on what feels like the windiest hill in the UK, so while we’re very lucky to be taking advantage of the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme, we do still have energy challenges! In short, we’re fairly average.

We installed the PV panels very soon after the government scheme was set up in 2010 (we had been lucky enough to receive an inheritance and I had wanted solar panels for a long time), so as soon as FIT tariffs made the maths work for us, we took the plunge.

Basically the FIT scheme allows a homeowner who installs electricity generating technology, like solar panels, a small wind turbine or hydro electricity generating equipment to get paid for each unit of energy they generate PLUS sell your surplus energy back to the national grid at an agreed rate. As we don’t have an export meter fitted within our property, we receive export payments for 50% of the total energy we generate.

Energy companies will then buy your surplus energy from you as part of their renewable energy obligations. The rate that they pay you per unit generated is set by the FIT scheme, and you are guaranteed to receive the income for the next 20 years (although of course there’s no guarantee as to how much energy you will be able to export – that depends on how much you generate)

Although the FIT tariff rates for excess energy sold have dropped since the scheme began (early installers receive 39.6p per kwh sold to the grid, people installing solar panels now receive just 14.9p per kwh) the cost of installing solar PV panels has also dropped considerably (get a quote here) so the return for your money is now greater – because you save more as energy prices rise, plus although you earn less from exporting, as a percentage of your system cost it’s still the same.

Next time, I’ll share some figures from our incredibly geeky spreadsheet showing you how much we generated, and saved/earned in our first year, and how that varies depending on the weather!

Comments on this article (5)

Christopher | commented on 02.10.15

Thank you for this article. Where can I find your spreadsheet?

    Lindsey | commented on 07.10.15

    Hi Chris, thanks for getting in touch. We’re glad you enjoyed reading the blog. Please could you pop your query over to James Hall at and he’ll be happy to help you further

Zaida Reaney | commented on 28.03.16

When I initially commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thank you!

    David | commented on 06.04.16

    Hi Zaida, thanks for letting us know. How strange! We're looking into this and will put a stop more notifications coming through to you. ^David

A Bulled | commented on 27.03.17

we have not had our march payment jet

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