Octopus Energy, a leading UK energy supplier, has announced that it will no longer require MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certification for solar PV installations in order to qualify for SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) payments. This change, which came into effect on August 1, 2023, is a significant development for the solar industry, as it makes it easier and more affordable for homeowners and businesses to install solar panels and start exporting their excess energy back to the grid.
What is the SEG?
The SEG is a government-backed scheme that guarantees that solar PV owners will be paid for the electricity they export to the grid. The amount of payment per kWh exported is set by Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator. In 2023, the SEG payment rate is 5.5p per kWh.
What is MCS certification?
MCS certification is a voluntary scheme that ensures that solar PV installations meet certain standards of quality and safety. It is not a legal requirement, but many energy suppliers require MCS certification in order to qualify for SEG payments.
Why did Octopus Energy drop the MCS requirement?
Octopus Energy said that it dropped the MCS requirement because it believes that it is no longer necessary to ensure the quality and safety of solar PV installations. The company also said that it wants to make solar PV more accessible to everyone, and that dropping the MCS requirement is one way to do that.
Specifically, in their terms & conditions, clause 5.8 specifies: “Where you are unable to provide MCS or equivalent certification under clause 5.5, you confirm that you are satisfied that the generation asset has been installed by a competent professional and meets all required industry standards and guidelines. Octopus accepts no liability for any loss, damage or injury resulting from the installation.”
What does this mean for solar installers?
The fact that Octopus Energy drops MCS requirement is good news for solar installers. It means that they will now be able to offer solar PV installations to a wider range of customers, including those who may not have been able to afford the MCS certification fee.
It also allows installers who have not been through the MCS registration process (which can be very arduous and expensive) to now offer their customers an option which allows them to still be paid for their export energy.
Up until now, this was not an option and any non-registered installers/installations would simply not be liable for remuneration for their exported energy.
However, it is important to note that not all energy suppliers have followed Octopus Energy’s lead. Some suppliers still require MCS certification in order to qualify for SEG payments. Therefore, solar installers should always check with their chosen energy supplier before installing a solar PV system.
What does this mean for homeowners and businesses?
The decision by Octopus Energy to drop the MCS requirement is good news for homeowners and businesses who are considering installing solar panels. It means that they can now do so without having to pay for MCS certification, which can save them hundreds of pounds.
In addition, the SEG payments that homeowners and businesses receive for exporting their excess energy to the grid will now be higher, as Octopus Energy pays more than other energy suppliers for exported energy.
How do I qualify for SEG payments from Octopus Energy?
To qualify for SEG payments from Octopus Energy, you must:
- Be a customer of Octopus Energy (sign up through this link and you get £50 credit on your account!)
- Have a solar PV system that is installed and operational
- Have your solar PV system certified by a NICEIC or NAPIT registered installer
- Register your solar PV system with Octopus Energy
How much can I earn from SEG payments?
The amount of money you can earn from SEG payments will depend on the amount of electricity you export to the grid AND who supplies your imported energy (these do not need to be the same). The current SEG payment rate is 4.1p per kWh, for customers who use another company for import and only use Octopus for their export rate
For example, if you export 1,000 kWh of electricity to the grid in a year in this situation, you will earn £410.
However, if you use Octopus for both your imported and exported energy, then you can earn 15p per kWh, significantly more.
Using Octopus Energy for both imported and exported energy, if you were to export 1,000 kWh of electricity to the grid in a year in this situation, you will earn £1500.
Bear in mind that energy you use in your own home will lower the amount that you export to the grid, however the SEG payments can still give you a few £££ back towards the energy that you will import from the grid (particularly in the winter months)
How can I find out more about SEG payments from Octopus Energy?
You can find out more about SEG payments from Octopus Energy on their website: https://octopus.energy/help-and-faqs/articles/seg-tariff/
The decision by Octopus Energy to drop the MCS requirement is a positive development for the solar industry. It makes solar PV more accessible to everyone and helps to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.
If you are considering installing solar panels, I recommend contacting Octopus Energy to find out more about their SEG tariff and how you can qualify for payments.
In addition to the above, here are some other things to keep in mind about the fact Octopus Energy Drops MCS requirement to be able to earn SEG payments:
- The new requirements apply to all solar PV installations, regardless of size or location.
- The self-declaration process is still subject to review by Octopus Energy, and they may request additional information or documentation.
- Customers who have already installed solar PV and are not MCS certified will still be able to receive SEG payments from Octopus Energy, but they will need to complete the self-declaration process.
If you do want to join Octopus Energy (and there a number of other good reasons why you should!), then use this link and get a FREE £50 credit onto your first bill – which other energy supplier is doing that at the moment?
I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!