What is the government solar panel program?

A tree with no leaves in the middle of a field with the sun shining through

With the Government making statements that they want 15% of energy consumption within the UK to come from renewable energy sources it wouldn’t be a long stretch to imagine that to help facilitate those plans that there would be a scheme in place to help homeowners finance the expensive outlay for a solar system installation. 

Under the Government’s Green Deal Home Improvements Fund you may be entitled to have a Green Deal assessment carried out to assess whether you are eligible for a variety of energy saving home improvements, including the installation of solar panels.

Green deal and Feed-In tariff

In 2013 the Government set up the Green Deal and offered loans to help homeowners purchase their Solar Panel systems. In 2014 they changed these loans to Grants but in 2015 these were stopped. These grants accompanied the Feed-In tariff

The Feed-In tariff was a payment made to homeowners for their excess renewable energy that they fed back into the national grid. Under this tariff you would receive a payment for the total units of electricity you generated and also a payment for electricity that you put back into the national grid. 

The payment tariff rates were set by the Government along with OFGEM. In 2015 the grants for solar panels was stopped and in 2019 the Feed-In tariff was brought to an end although any households that signed up will continue to receive their payments until the end of their contract which is normally around twenty years. 

Smart Export Guarantee

In January 2019 the Smart Export Guarantee was introduced. Households can still get paid for their excess electricity that they put back into the National Grid but these tariff rates are set by the energy companies themselves. The guidelines currently state that the payments must be above 0 pence per kwh.  

Green Deal Home Improvements Fund

Under the Government’s Green Deal Home Improvements Fund you may be entitled to have a Green Deal assessment carried out to assess whether you are eligible for a variety of energy saving home improvements, including the installation of solar panels.

This assessment must be carried out by a Green Deal assessor and any subsequent work carried out by a Green Deal provider. There is normally a fee for this assessment and you will be informed of the cost prior to the assessment taking place. 

You will be asked details about your home, the number of people in your household and any current energy saving measures you have. After the assessment you will receive a report that contains 

  • An Energy Performance Certificate that rates your home for energy efficiency. 
  • An occupancy assessment that measures how much energy you are currently using. 
  • Any recommended improvements. 
  • An estimate of savings that could be made with these improvements. 
  • A statement on whether these improvements will pay for themselves through reduced energy costs. 

After you have received this report you can choose to have the improvements carried out by a Green Deal provider. You may pay for the work by yourself or apply for a Green Deal Finance plan through one of these providers.

You are only eligible for a finance plan for the improvements recommended in your assessment. The repayments for this finance is paid back by an added charge to your energy bills and the annual repayments should not be more than the savings you make on your energy bills. 

If you move into a property with a Green Deal you will be provided with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate and will be required to carry on making the loan repayments. This is because the Green Deal stays with the property so whoever is responsible for the electricity bill is responsible for the repayments.  

If you wish to have an assessment carried out on your home or to find a Green Deal provider then one can be found by visiting https://gdorb.beis.gov.uk/find-a-green-deal-supplier/

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