Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Solar Application

With the solar panel incentive reduction date being so close to my solar installation, I had already researched what action would be required to complete my feed in tariff (FIT) application. This was partly down to not having complete faith in somebody else completing the form in time probably due to lessons and experiences already learnt over the last six weeks!

Anyway, I made contact with Southern Electric (SSE) my electricity supplier, telephoning first and later registering my first point of contact with them. This would then enable me to be eligible to receive FIT payments from the solar system’s commissioning date. This first point of contact was made via email to their micro generation department and basically means that after the system is installed I would then be able to claim on any generated electric from the start. There are application forms and information on the company’s web site located (here). But due to the time scale for the installation of my array and later, my fathers, I wanted to talk direct and make quite sure that I get all the facts right.

Contrary to what I had already read on some of the various web site forums and discussion boards, I have found on each point of contact to date that all of my questions were answered well with politeness and a great deal of efficiency. Details of the FIT application were explained and also backed up by a letter detailing the process required for using SSE as my feed in tariff provider. I was also advised that SSE would also take emailed application forms right up to midnight on Sunday 11th of December 2011.

I guess other electricity companies will differ from the information provided here. But at the bottom of the feed-in tariff application form provided by SSE it states that they require 4 supporting documents including the completed application form to enable the processing of the FIT sign-up. The other required documents are;

  1. The MCS certificate (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) – this is a certificate that should be arranged via the installer upon completion. My MCS certificate came direct via email.
  2. Proof of ownership – an invoice / receipt, again provided by the installer once full payment received.
  3. Proof of identity – due to already being a Southern Electric customer this was not required for my application. If I was not an existing SSE customer then a recent utility bill would suffice

The application form for me was a pretty straightforward affair, no complications as the generation site was my home address, I do not have any other installations, I do not have an export meter and I am the payee. So it was all self-completable and easy enough right down to the technology and generation meter details which can be completed at the time of hand-over by the installers. In my case the declared net capacity was 2.0kW, I had a Landis + Gyr generation meter and a SMA SB2000HF inverter. Serial numbers and readings were also completed at this time.

After scanning all the necessary documents I emailed my application off to the micro generation department which I had previously been in touch with. After a few days without reply I also contacted them by telephone to confirm receipt and also that I had included all the required information for processing. Again, after what must be a very busy time, I found my point of contact very obliging and helpful.

Apparently and understandably, due to the large backlog of application processing it will be some time before I receive any further contact from SSE. I will update the blog again once I know what and when this happens!

Solar Terminology and Wording

I’m going to back date a few of my blog posts to try and get up to present day. As already mentioned I should have started this a long time ago. So for a little bit of the boring part, although I can’t recall everything or when I went through it to get here, I thought that I would start by giving some explanations and definitions to some of the terms that I have picked up over my journey or at least an explanation to how I personally have understood some of the solar panel installation terminologies. If I have got it wrong, then I stand corrected – please feel free to advise accordingly. For research, there are plenty of Solar and Renewable Energy Associations around including the Renewable Energy Association and the Energy Saving Trust.

Solar Photovoltaic Panel (PV) or correctly named modules. These are the panels that we are seeing popping-up on rooftops around the country generating the electrical energy from the sun’s rays. They convert solar radiation into DC electricity.

Solar Cell is the electric producing part of the the solar panel. These are collectively grouped together to form a module all held within the frame (the solar panel).

Direct Current Electricity (DC) similar to the electricity released by batteries. This flows from the solar array via the electrical cable to the inverter.

Alternating Current Electricity (AC) Is the form in which electric power arrives at our homes from the GRID.

Inverter The inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity.

Solar Array The group of electricity generating panels which make up the system are called a solar array.

Generation Meter When electricity is being generated from your PV system it gets recorded by the generation meter and used for feed in tariff payments.

FIT (Feed in Tariff) A government scheme designed to accelerate and encourage the investment in renewable energy technologies. A payment is made for each unit (kWh) of electricity produced by a solar PV system

kWh (Kilowatt/hour) The energy produced by the PV array is measured in kWh.