New Grid Trade Incentives Explained
Solar Panels have become incredibly popular for homes in the UK. Indeed, there are now 840,000 homes with solar panels. At the same time, the cost of solar panels has declined an incredible 70% since 2010. It is no surprise then that more homeowners and business owners want to heat and light their home with this source of energy.
The Feed-in Tariff was also highly successful. The scheme ran from April 2010 through to April 2019. Through the scheme, households in the UK were paid for each kWh of energy that was generated from their solar panels. It also provided homeowners with the option of selling unused electricity back to the grid. This was known as the Export Tariff.
Through the nine years, the scheme was operational, renewable energy capacity throughout the UK increased to 38.9 gigawatts from 9.3 gigawatts. While the tariff has ended, anyone who signed up will still receive payments throughout their full twenty-year contract.
Now, there are fresh positive incentives available from the government that will provide more savings and even greater opportunities for solar power users. There are also exciting options on the horizon with the planned Smart Export Guarantee. So, let’s explore the latest changes and discover they new solar panel incentives that could benefit homeowners.
How Solar Panels Have Evolved
In the past solar panels were systems that provided you with energy for your home. This clean energy allowed you to live, at least partially off the grid. However, despite providing an efficient solution, they did not provide the maximum benefit. A lot of energy was lost due to peak sunlight hours. Peak sunlight hours are late in the morning through the afternoon where most people are not home. During this time, the energy produced from the solar panels was immediately lost. People only gained from the energy produced when they were using electricity in their home.
This changed with the introduction of the solar panel battery. With this device, users were able to save their energy and store it. They could then use it how they wanted, when they wanted, including at times outside typical sunlight hours. With a solar panel battery, it is now possible to use more solar energy and benefit at night or in the morning. The ability to store solar power has provided another major benefit to consumers.
The Full Power of Batteries And Grid Trading
A typical homeowner will only use 27% of the solar energy that they are able to generate. But thanks to smart technology along with solar battery systems, this is changing. With smart technology and solar battery systems, energy becomes worth more. It’s possible to store, switch or trade the energy produced. This provides solar investors with a high income that is generated autonomously and that can provide savings of up to 70%.
This can operate automatically. With smart systems, it’s possible for the computer to know how much you need and when you need it. Then, there’s an excess level of power. This excess can be traded at the ideal times to provide the maximum energy savings. The process is known as grid trading and through it, energy becomes stock.
Users can take their valuable energy and with automatic systems available, it’s completely user-friendly. As well as being able to set this up as an automatic process, users can take control of their grid trading platform as well. As such, users can have as little or as much control over the process as they like. It can work in the background, or you can choose to manage it on a daily basis.
It is now possible for customers to do this using the technology that they have around their home. With the correct setup, energy accounts can be accessed through a smartwatch, laptop or mobile phone. This provides updates and information on the latest savings and earnings. Similar to a smart meter, it ensures that users always know how much they have saved or how much they are spending.
Solar Panels and home battery storage systems are now far more efficient. Five years ago, solar panel batteries were giving the average UK homeowner an efficiency rating between 16 and 23%. Today, advanced technology provides a higher level of efficiency with max levels that reach up to 97%. As such, users may only lose 3% of the energy they produce with the right set up. This provides more energy for the user and does open up a greater possibility for grid trading.
The battery systems that are available are also scalable. This means that users can invest in the solar battery they need today and upgrade in the future to provide a higher level of storage that may be suitable for increased needs. At the same time, efficiency remains at the highest point.
Smart Tech and Solar Power
Millions of homes across the UK use smart home tech from fridges to control devices. Technology improves lives and provides more control to users. The smart energy market is next with Bloomberg suggesting that the energy storage market is already worth over $500 billion.
An energy bill is already greatly reduced by using solar energy. With smart technology, it’s possible to take this saving to a new level. With a solar storage battery, it’s possible to then store the energy you use as well as the excess. After this, users can then benefit from trading software. Using this software, it’s possible to earn points by savings to reduce the energy bill and earn money from the energy that others are paying for.
In the past, grid trading was not possible due to smaller batteries. Today, large batteries are available at more affordable prices and are capable of storing higher levels of energy. Customers can also now invest in batteries that are optimised to the level of energy they generate and their usage.
AI Grid Trade Explained
With a solar panel installation and an optimised battery to provide the maximum efficiency, users can then benefit from AI grid trading. With grid trading, you can sell energy to other users on a shared platform. AI grid trading software is able to learn. This means it will understand your individual habits and change the way it operates accordingly. As previously mentioned, the latest software is able to understand individual energy usage down to a tee and make trades around it. It can do this continuously with a high level of accuracy, ensuring that each user gets the most benefits without having to lift a finger.
Theoretically, this means a user could regularly switch the TV on at 6pm each Tuesday night. AI grid software knows this and is able to ensure that the green energy they want is available. Alternatively, it’s possible for the software to work on a far grander scale. It can calculate a user’s typical energy usage and work out what they will use in the future for successful smart trading.
Gaining More from Energy Throughout the Day
There are two main periods in the day when we use energy. These are in the morning and in the evening. You can make savings during this time by relying on solar of up to £200 annually. The rest of the time, you will typically be out of the home at work or involved in social activities. This is referred to as off-peak energy. Off-peak energy is anytime where you’re not using a lot of energy because you might not even be in the property.
When you’re not in the sun rises and sets at points throughout the day. As such, you lose a lot of energy. With a smart battery, you can benefit and use 75% more energy that you produce. You’ll be able to benefit at off-peak energy times and use the energy stored to power the home. This is a fantastic new benefit that ensures people are even less reliant on the national grid with solar power.
Ultimately, it is possible to gain two types of savings. The first type of comes from the benefit that you get from using more solar energy due to the amount you will still be able to use during off-peak times through the day. The second comes from the amount you will save that you don’t use which you will be able to trade.
How Solar Energy Trading Works
As mentioned, thanks to new technology, solar power users can now gain access to the second type of saving. They can sell back what they don’t use on the grid. The exchange can occur between you and your energy provider or potentially another individual using the same platform as you. Energy can be bought back at a variable rate which will largely depend on both demand and the individual supplier. With SEG, the system will become even more competitive and as such provide greater benefits to users. However, this hasn’t been introduced yet.
This is another advantage of new technology. In the past, a battery would charge rapidly in under an hour. The energy saved during off-peak energy times would then pass back to the grid. This doesn’t happen with the latest software. Instead, the software immediately starts to trade and allows you to gain the benefits. As well as saving more, this does mean that both the energy used, and the energy traded is green. Consumers can make more money and remain environmentally friendly.
Fast Reacting Energy Savings
Through new smart technology and more powerful batteries, consumers using solar power and now access grid trading options. This also means that they can gain access to fast reacting energy savings.
To understand what this is and how it works, it’s important to be aware of the current state of the UK energy supply and TV pickups. TV pickups are what happens when massive numbers of people are watching the same program and then break at the same time. During this point, millions of people across the country are using energy, putting incredibly pressure on the national grid. This is pressure it, unfortunately, can’t withstand because hydropower is the main source to compensate and this can only provide energy to 2% of the UK.
Due to this, 20% of energy comes from the EU and will continue to do so until 2025. Currently, the EU provides 4% of our energy which means that will grow nearly five times before the end of the next decade. With uncertainty surrounding the relationship between the UK and the EU, this could be a massive issue. It’s important instead that UK energy supplies are able to react fast to this pressure.
With smart systems and high capacity batteries, it is possible for homes across the UK to become the much-needed power source. Particularly, during times like TV pickups where there is an increased level of pressure on the national grid.
This also means that during these times, energy from private solar panel installations is going to be in high demand. Basic laws of supply and demand dictate that this energy will be more valuable and thus will sell at a higher price. Smart devices are also able to track the usage of energy in the grid. If the grid needs energy, the device will then start trading it from individual homes. The grids get power and the home energy provider earns money.
This is all about balancing energy and grid balancing. Grid balancing determines how much energy the grid needs at any given time. Utility providers then ensure that the grid has the energy it needs. Now, solar panel installations can help individual homes be part of this and contribute to that process. Annually, this could lead to savings of up to £100 for individual solar users.
The problem with TV pickups isn’t a new one and has existed for years. However, there is even more pressure on the national grid than there was before. Even renewable energy doesn’t help if it can’t be controlled. But with smart tech, some solar energy can be controlled. It can provide the necessary solution and ensure that there aren’t power outages in the UK’s future. This also stops the money for energy from going out of the country to the rest of the EU. Instead, it remains firmly in the hands of the British public. The more people invest in AI grid technology, the more it will benefit individuals as well as the overall energy income.
Individual Energy Trading
Aside from trading energy back to the grid, there is also the opportunity for individual trading. Here, you will be using energy to make money through wholesale electricity. Again, this is also possible due to smart technology. The value of energy does not remain constant. Instead, it shifts constantly depending on the time of day, the level of wind, the weather conditions and the total amount generated. This all impacts demand and thus the money that can be made by selling.
At off-peak energy times through the day, there is less demand thus prices will be lower. In contrast, peak energy times lead to higher demand and higher prices. Colder weather also means that demand for energy increases as more people rely on their heating appliances. At times of high wind, there will be more energy generated by wind power and thus less need for solar energy. However, if there is a lower level of generation overall, then demand increases above supply, leading to a higher cost.
Now users can benefit from these peak energy demand times due to the energy stock market or energy trading. You can sell when the prices are high and store when prices are low. This can also be completed automatically which means that users don’t have to constantly click to gain the savings or rather the income that they want. Again, the smart AI system can handle this for you.
Off-Peak Energy Explained
Every time power is provided to a home due to the flick of a switch electric travels from the power station through a network. It must travel through both national and local cables or substations. The DNO puts the cost to the utility of individual users which the user then pays for through their bill. Not all electric infrastructure is owned by the UK government. Instead, there are DNOs licences at different locations. Individuals do not liaise with the DNO directly. Instead, the DNO interacts with each energy provider. They have to pay to use the lines that the DNO owns and the cost is added to the bill. This cost can fluctuate depending on the region. DNO charges per unit for the energy and these charges increase during peak periods. So, if you use more energy at periods throughout the day, the DNO charges more money for their lines which increases your bill overall. This is not laid out on the typical electric bill, but it can cause increases in price overall.
There are three different types of charges from the DNO. These are green, amber and red which each coincides with levels of energy usage. Red is the peak times and the most expensive where users pay a premium. Green times offer the lowest cost and the cheapest deal.
With smart AI grid technology, it is possible to save during off-peak times when DNO charges are cheapest and use the energy at red points. This means that you can, theoretically, avoid the high charges completely.
So, during the points where the DNO services are at the lowest point, individual users can save that energy to charge their battery. They can then use the battery that is completely powered up to gain the most benefits and ultimately stay off the grid. This does add another saving for each individual user with up to £50 annually.
Typically, gains from trading operate as a credit system. As such, this means that the money made or gained is automatically added or subtracted from the energy bills. Due to this, it is not counted as income by the UK government and thus is not taxable. So, while the user does make gains by selling their energy, it is subtracted directly from what they would otherwise need to pay. This includes off-peak energy savings, energy trading savings and fast reacting energy trading savings. It’s all completed using the same system.
Savings and Returns
With the right package, you will be able to save a great deal on your energy bill every year. If you invest in both a solar panel installation and a battery, you could save as much as £380 annually on your energy bill. That’s because you’ll be able to use a lot more of the clean energy that you generate. With a battery, you will be able to use energy generated through the day, when you weren’t home.
With a battery, you may have unused solar energy too. With this taken into account, you could be looking at a return of nearly £4000. That could be more than half of what you paid for your original solar panel installation, battery and setup. As such, new incentives will ensure that you gain tremendous energy savings and a boosted long-term income.
Taking into account the three main types of savings discussed and available to the users right now, individuals could save half of what they would typically pay for energy over the next fifteen years. This is due to the fact that electricity is going to increase in price over the next few years. The amount of electricity that costs you £1 right now is estimated to cost nearly £3 fifteen years from now.
Currently, the main source of power in the UK is still fossil fuels such as coal. However, renewable energy power plants are quickly taking over fossil power and in no time at all, they will be the main source of energy in the UK. This does mean that the UK will be greener and more environmentally friendly overall. However, it also causes a significant issue. Renewable power is not as reliable or predictable. This issue is going to increase as the cost for renewable energy gets lower over the next few years until the point where it is cheaper than fossil fuels. From 2025, there will be no power from coal plants at all as these energy resources are expected to close. From 2030, all new cars will be electric and grid balancing will be a greater necessity. Everyone will be plugging into the grid and using an immense amount of power.
Innovative technology will be necessary to ensure that people can get the energy they need when they need it. This technology is now available on the market and providing the ultimate solution while offering a fresh incentive for new buyers who are eager to invest in this power source.
Smart Guarantee Explained
The Smart Export Guarantee or SEG is the recently proposed initiative which is intended to replace the Feed-in Tariff. Or, rather the Export Tariff that was included in the original incentive.
Through SEG, energy supplies will be required to pay homes for electricity that is either in excess or that hasn’t been used. Homeowners will be able to export this energy to the national grid to gain payments and essentially convert energy into cash. It ensures an extra income that will deliver even greater energy savings for those who opt for solar power.
There is another benefit to being aware of that ensures SEG will provide greater advantages to homeowners. Under the original scheme, the rates provided for energy were set by Ofgem. With the new deal, the energy suppliers will decide individual prices that they offer. Essentially, this should create a highly competitive market with fantastic prices for energy that homeowners will be able to tap into. Ultimately, it will be a seller’s market.
As well as this, SEG will provide a fairer benefit for homeowners. Originally homeowners were only paid for a max 50% of the electricity produced even if they exported more. On the SEG, homeowners will be paid what they export and no less.
The new incentive will be active from the 1st January 2020 so it’s not available on the market yet. This is however good news for solar panel providers and homeowners. The end of the FIT tariff caused a 94% drop for solar panel installations in May compared to April when the incentive ended. The new SEG incentive is sure to get people back on board. According to the government, the new scheme is also designed to encourage homeowners to purchase batteries.
While the scheme isn’t active yet, a number of businesses already offer to purchase unused solar power from their customers. However, the SEG scheme will make this option official to all using solar power.
The Future of Solar Energy Savings
It’s worth noting that this is just the beginning of the future of energy savings that consumers can look forward to with solar power. Batteries will improve, the software will advance, and this means that individuals will be able to use their solar energy in new and exciting ways. It may be possible to transfer solar energy to other devices and equipment in the home. For instance, over the next few years, electric cars will become more popular and common. With solar power, it could be possible to store the energy in the battery and then transfer it to something like the electric car. Theoretically, in future energy from the car could also be transferred to the battery to trade as well. Ss, if at the end of the week, a user had energy left in their car, they could trade this and save on their overall energy bill.
Other appliances could complete a load shift in the future as well. Energy could automatically be transferred to a heating system or a hot water tank to increase usage and avoid wastage.
Perhaps one of the most interesting developments on the horizon is the use of blockchain software in this process. With blockchain software, it’s possible that energy could be traded in a peer to peer system. So rather than trading back to the grid, you could trade between individual users. This could again lead to even more competition on the market with individuals trading at higher prices and providing an even greater power for individual solar energy users.
At the same time, the demand for electric energy is only going to increase. This means there is certain to be more savings and more profits in the future for individual solar power users. Energy bills will be reduced further as demand grows leading to increased opportunities and higher gains.
SEG is certain to help here too, pushing energy companies to be competitive with their prices. This will give an increased level of power to consumers, allowing them to find the best deal for them on the market.
While FIT may have ended it is fair to say that there are some exciting developments on the market for those who have invested in solar panels or who are thinking about investing. Particularly, for those who spend more and purchase a home battery storage system as well. Indeed, individuals can now make more money and save more with solar energy than has ever been possible before.
Smart technology has put the power firmly in the hands of the individual homeowner which has come at precisely the right time. As pressure builds on the grid, it will be more important than ever to find solutions that will keep the lights on across the UK. It now seems as though solar power will fill that void. As well as delivering a smart solution, to the energy crisis, homeowners who invest will save, earn energy and have extra money to spend in other areas of their life.
This is of course just the beginning and beyond SEG, the smart tech will ensure that there are even greater gains for those ready and eager to jump on the solar power train.
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