How to Maximise Your Earnings from Solar and Renewable Energy

solar panels on a house roof


Climate change has precipitated some significant changes in different industries and everyday life, and many homeowners are installing alternative sources of energy to reduce their carbon footprint. With renewable energy such as solar energy, homeowners can even earn monetary compensation for any excess electricity their systems produce and export back to the grid.

As of the first of this year (January 1, 2020), this compensation is based around the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for solar exporters.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The SEG is a new scheme that applies only to homeowners and businesses that install new systems for renewable energy. Individuals and companies with existing renewable energy systems are likely still on the legacy scheme, Feed-in Tariff (FiT). FiT ended in April 2019, but customers on the old plan will continue to receive their compensation until their contracts expire, at which point they will probably switch to the new SEG scheme.

The new scheme is different from the FiT program in one significant way. Homeowners and businesses under the SEG scheme will receive a single payment for the electricity they can export back to the grid, instead of one payment for export and a second for energy generation. Instead of estimating payments as was the case under the FiT scheme, homeowners’ SEG payments will be more precise based on the actual amount of electricity they send to the grid. Therefore, while the new plan may mean reduced payments for some homes, it will be more accurate and fair.

Under the SEG scheme, households will receive either a fixed-rate or flexible-rate tariff for any excess electricity they export back to the grid from renewable energy sources. Fixed-rate tariffs will be paid at a set amount per kilowatt-hour, while flexible-rate tariffs will pay more for electricity that is exported during high-demand times of the day. Flexible-rate tariff rates will also be set based on pricing for day-ahead wholesale.

You can compare smart export guarantee tariffs to get the latest rates and information about how to qualify.

How to Maximise SEG Tariff Earnings

Solar energy systems and other renewable energy sources still offer great cost-reduction opportunities for homeowners and businesses, beyond lower energy bills. Although the SEG scheme means reduced payments for some homeowners and businesses who export excess renewable energy to the grid, there are some ways that you can make the most from the electricity you generate:

  1. Research and review the best SEG/Export tariffs available, and be sure your household meets the requirements.
  2. Use the SEG flexible-rate tariff if your household can generate excess electricity during high-demand times of the day.
  3. Follow energy conservation practices and techniques. If you can reduce your energy consumption at home, you can increase the excess amounts sent to the grid.
  4. Time your use of high-energy appliances for low-demand hours. Try to set your washer, dryer, dishwasher, air conditioning, and heating appliances to run during the evening to take advantage of Economy 7.
  5. Track the return on your investment in solar and renewable energy, so that you can be sure to make the most for your renewable energy equipment and installation purchases.