Feed-In Tariffs scheme (FITs)

If you install an electricity-generating technology from a renewable or low-carbon source such as solar PV or wind turbine, the UK Government's Feed-In Tariffs scheme (FITs) could mean that you get money from your energy supplier.

You can be paid for the electricity you generate, even if you use it yourself, and for any surplus electricity you export to the grid. And of course you'll also save money on your electricity bill, because you'll be using your own electricity.

A similar scheme is being introduced for heat generation: the Renewable Heat Incentive.

 

About Feed-In Tariffs  

Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including:

  • solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or stand alone)
  • wind turbines (building mounted or free standing)
  • hydroelectricity
  • anaerobic digesters
  • micro combined heat and power (CHP).

The UK Government's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) makes the key decisions on FITs in terms of government policy. The energy regulator Ofgem administers the scheme.

Your energy supplier will make the FITs payments to you. The large energy suppliers are required by law to provide them; smaller suppliers are not, but many have opted to offer them anyway. Go to the Ofgem website for a list of FITs-licensed suppliers.

For you to qualify for FITs, the installer and the products you use must both be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), except hydro and anaerobic digestion which have to go through the ROO-FIT process. The tariffs you receive depend on both the eligibility date and, for solar PV, your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.

 

Eligibility dates  

The eligibility date is the date from which an installation becomes eligible for FITs payments. For most renewable electricity systems (with a declared net capacity of 50kW or less), this will be the date your FIT supplier receives a valid application for FITs. This will be after the date on which your renewable electricity system is installed, so it's essential to send your application to your FIT supplier promptly – for absolute certainty, use Royal Mail's Special Delivery.

We recommend that you contact your FIT supplier (also known as the FIT licensee) as soon as possible to confirm the requirements below and make sure you know exactly what information they require from you and when they need to receive it by. Please note that you will only be paid for what you generate based on the meter reading on the eligibility date. This is likely to be a later date than when the system was commissioned so units generated before the eligibility date may not be paid. You should check this with your FIT licensee before system is commissioned.

 

Dates when you add solar panels

The rules are slightly different for an extension. If you add solar panels to an existing system, the eligibility date for the new panels is always the date they were commissioned, not the date that you send your revised claim in. This is particularly important if you want to claim the higher rate by submitting an EPC. The EPC must be dated before the commissioning date or you will not get the higher rate.

 

How FITs work  

Electricity is created by solar panels. Your electricity supplier pays you for each unit of electricity you generate. You can use the electricity you generate meaning you don’t have to import from the grid. You export electricity back to the grid when you don’t use it. You are paid an export tariff. You import electricity from the grid when you need additional power.

If you are eligible to receive FITs you will benefit in three ways:

  • Generation tariff: your energy supplier will pay you a set rate for each unit (or kWh) of electricity you generate. Once your system has been registered, the tariff levels are guaranteed for the period of the tariff (up to 20 years) and are index-linked.
  • Export tariff: you will get a further 4.64p/kWh from your energy supplier for each unit you export back to the electricity grid, so you can sell any electricity you generate but don't use yourself. This rate is the same for all technologies. At some stage smart meters will be installed to measure what you export, but until then it is estimated as being 50% of the electricity you generate (only systems above 30kWp need to have an export meter fitted, and a domestic system is unlikely to be that big).
  • Energy bill savings: you will be making savings on your electricity bills because generating electricity to power your appliances means you don’t have to buy as much electricity from your energy supplier. The amount you save will vary depending how much of the electricity you use on site.
 

Tariff rates  

Once you are receiving Feed-In Tariffs, the rate you get will increase in line with inflation in accordance with the Retail Price Index (RPI). ). The tables below summarise the latest tariffs available for each technology. For the full list of tariff rates visit the Ofgem web site.
 

 

Summary of solar PV tariffs

Total installed capacity (kW)

Generation tariff with eligibility date or after 1 January 2014 and before 1 April 2014

 

Lower tariff (if EPC requirement not met) with eligibility date on or after 1 January 2014 and before 1 April 2014

<4kW (new build and retrofit) 14.90p/kWh   6.61p/kWh
>4-10kW 13.50p/kWh   6.61p/kWh
>10-50kW 12.57p/kWh   6.61p/kWh
stand-alone 6.61p/kWh   6.61p/kWh

 
For solar PV:

  • evidence of property’s EPC rating will be required when applying for FITs. If no evidence showing the EPC has a band D or higher then the lower rate will apply.
  • the export tariff for solar PV is currently 4.64p/kWh
  • the tariff period (lifetime) is now 20 years
  • the tariffs are to be reviewed every three months and will be revised according to deployment rates.

For a site-specific calculation and bespoke report showing how much you could earn through Feed-in Tariffs for solar PV, use our Solar Energy Calculator.

 

Summary of hydro, wind and microCHP tariffs

Technology

Tariff band (kW capacity)

Tariffs up until 31 March 2014

Hydro <15 22.23p/kWh
  >15 to <100 20.76p/kWh
Wind <1.5 22.23p/kWh
  >1.5 to <15 22.23p/kWh
  >15 to <100 22.23p/kWh
Micro-CHP <2kW 13.24p/kWh

For hydro, wind and microCHP:

  • evidence of property’s EPC rating is not required for these technologies
  • the export rate is 4.64p/kWh
  • the tariff period is 20 years for hydro and wind, 10 years for microCHP
  • microhydro (<50kW) accreditation has to go through the ROO-FIT process not MCS
  • the definition of 'hydro generating station' has been extended to include small tidal projects
  • a degression mechanism for wind and hydro technologies (microCHP not included) will become effective from 1 April 2014 (baseline 5% though will depend on previous deployment rates).

For a site-specific calculation showing how much you could earn through Feed-In Tariffs for hydro, wind and solar, use our Cashback Calculator.

 

Registering for FITs  

Once your chosen installer has installed your generating technology, take these steps to register for FITs:

  1. Ask your installer to register you on the central MCS database. The installer will then send you a certificate confirming MCS compliance.
  2. Tell your chosen FIT supplier that you wish to register for the FIT and send them:
  • a completed application form
  • the MCS certificate
  • for solar PV, the Energy Performance Certificate that shows your home has an energy efficiency rating band D or better.

Your FIT supplier will:

  • cross-reference your installation with the MCS database and undertake other eligibility checks.
  • confirm your eligibility and the date you are eligible for payments from
  • add you to the Ofgem Central FIT Register, which records all installations in the FIT scheme
  • agree with you if and when you will need to provide meter readings and when they will make FIT payments to you – these will form part of your statement of FIT terms.
 

Update on meter readings

If you receive FIT payments, you must ensure that you maintain up-to-date records in relation to the amount to electricity your system generates and the FIT payments you receive. This is a requirement under the FIT scheme. It is a precautionary measure to ensure that generators have information to hand and to help ensure that the correct FITs payments are received in the event that the FIT licensee becomes insolvent. 

As of 1 July 2013 DECC requires all new FITs generators (and by 1st October 2013, all existing generators will be required) to:

  • maintain records of their generation and (where applicable) export meter readings
  • maintain records of all FIT payments received
  • maintain the above records for a period of one year, commencing with the date on which a meter reading is taken by or supplied to a FIT licencee, or the date on which a FIT payment is received by a FIT generator

Please contact your FIT licensee if you have any questions on the above. 

 

Find out more  

Get the latest tariffs at the Ofgem website.

Read the FAQ on the UK Government's FIT.

Read the FIT pages at the DECC website.

Read the FIT pages at the Ofgem website.

Last updated March 2013.

To get FITs at the standard rate for solar PV your property needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate of band D or better. Find out how to get an Energy Performance Certificate, and how to get your property up to band D.