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Are you actually receiving your solar FIT payments?

If you invest in solar panels you could make money back on the electricity you generate through the Feed-in Tariff scheme. Sounds appealing, but what happens if your energy company fails to make the payments?

The Feed-in Tariff scheme was introduced in 2010 to encourage the use of low-carbon energy. For solar panel owners, it means that you can claim payments for the energy you generate, whether you use it yourself or sell it back to the national grid.

Since it was brought in, the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FIT) has certainly caused its fair share of controversies. It’s funded by a levy on energy bills, meaning that those who don’t have solar panels end up paying money to those who do. But if you took the plunge and installed panels, how easy have you found it to get hold of the money owed?

If you’ve installed solar panels within the last two years or so, it’s likely that by now you’ll be claiming FIT payments from your energy supplier. But despite the contracts in place, we have received a number of letters, emails and phone calls from solar panel owners saying that payments have been irregular, late and in some cases not made at all.

Losing out on solar FIT payments

Your contract should tell you when you can expect to receive your FIT payments, but might lean on terms such as ‘best endeavours’ and get-out clauses. One member I spoke to said that their supplier owed them £1,000 for electricity generated for the grid, most of which had been declared in their meter readings almost six months beforehand!

This is all well and good for the energy companies’ cash flow, but not so great for our wallets. While practice such as this could be protected by the contractual terms, it seems unfair that consumers should have to lose out to this extent.

We want to investigate these late payments and find out how common they are. If you have solar panels, how long do you generally wait for your payments, compared to what your contract says?

oonagh says:
28 May 2021

My situation is that since installation 2015 I was with isupply for my FIT. They ceased trading end of 2019 and I was trying to move to Octopus. I needed verification for UK Power networks that they accepted this installation on their system. UK Power networks said that it had never being registered. Eventually after a lot of toing and froing they (Uk Power Networks) found the records of our installation. I then could go to Octopus and they wanted a smart meter installed. This whole process has taken 17 months and now Octopus advise they only pick up the solar from when their metering kicks in. So, based on previous readings I have fed £1200 into the system and get no payment. I have taken this up with UK power networks but they whole thing is very clunky

David Czuprynski says:
15 July 2021

I phoned in to British gas on the 31st March 2020 my FIT meter reading after taking almost 4hours of phone calls as British Gas changed the account references expecting payment within 28 days, I received a letter on the 8th April stating I would receive payment in 5 days.As no payment was received by the 1st May I contacted them every week being given the same reasons and assuring me a cheque has been sent. In June I was informed a cheque has been reissued and I would receive it within 28days, I requested to speak to a supervisor or manager and was informed due to David the would call back within 24hours, each week in June I received the same reply and no cheque or call back from British Gas! Last week’s call now July I am informed that the cheque was reissued on the 8th of June and I would receive it within 28 working days and low and behold nothing has arrived and no call back where do I go next!!!!

Hi. I have had solar panels for ten years and always received my FIT payments within about two weeks of submitting the reading. That was with Npower. However, Eon have taken over the payments for Npower and so far they have not impressed! I submitted my reading on 1 June and still have yet to be paid. I emailed Eon and they said a cheque had been sent on 5 July but it has not been received. They claim they are new to all this, but surely a company that size has been handling FIT payments since 2011! I have given them five days to pay and then I am complaining to Ofgen

Interesting. I haven’t been paid now for six months by EON so I’ve just issued a money claim against them for over £1000.

Norman Knight says:
29 July 2021

I submitted my reading on June 17th 2021 but have not received any payment yet, normally it comes in about 3 weeks, I have had solar panels for about 10 years and never had to wait so long, I am with SSE

I am with SSE and normally receive payment within 2 weeks if submitting reading. I submitted most recent one 5th July still havent rexeived payment. They have told me to wait another 28 days before contacting them again. Im not very impressed. Im guessing its because its a larger amount. They have authorisednit as Ive had the statment but they are just holding onto the money

I am with sse. Normally get payment with 2 weeks. This tine reading sibmitted 5th July still no payment. Have been told not to contact them about it for a further 28 days. Its been authiorised as Ive had statement they are just holding onto the money. Im guessing because its a larger amount. Im not impressed

I have been with British Gas for a long time and had 12 Solar panels fitted in 17/08/2021. I had no problems with FIT until I had to have a new meter fitted as it broke down. At first first BG replied that I would get the FIT soon and since then I have received nothing although I have emailed them frequently. I sent them a copy of my contract and told them that I considered that they are in breach of contract. Contacting Ofgen seems like a good Idea.

I have just received this email from British Gas:
This was after I sent a copy of my contract with them and told them I thought they were in breach of contract.

”Good News, your payment is on its way

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Your cheuqe for Jul’21 reading was not generated due to some technical reason.

We have raised the concern and you’ll receive your payment from British Gas within 28 working days.

For any further query, you can contact us on below number.”

Mind you I will believe it when I see it, not holding my breath.

Peter Toulouse Toulouse says:
27 August 2021

I submitted fit readings in April, then July. It is now the end of August and I am still awaiting payment. I am with SSE. When I contacted them by phone the said it was delayed because they had been waiting for the meter check this as been done, so why am I still awaiting payment?

I was with Bristol Energy when we had solar panels installed in 2017. Everything was okay until Bristol Energy was taken over by another firm and they informed us that they would not be able to pay the FIT payments. We then tried British Gas but they just kept bombarding us with questions they we could not understand so we tried Octopus Energy. They also asked us a lot of questions but we managed to answer all of them except one, although I do not know if we answered them correctly. The one question we could not answer was to send a wiring schematic which apparently we were given when the solar panels were installed. As far as we are concerned we were never given them. We tried to get in touch with Solar Studio UK who said they would send them, but they never even sent them after phoning them several times. We have spent many phone calls since April and we are no nearer to resolving the situation.

Barbara says:
14 September 2021

We too have not received payment ,we are with SSE for our Fit payments.
Never had a problem in the past ten years. We received our statement a month ago.
Spent ages on the phone, only to be told I could wait up to 90 days to get my money ….by the look of it , lots of people in the same boat .

Cathy Lyon-Green says:
15 September 2021

I realised I had not received my FIT payments for 12 months, nor received any reminders to provide readings. After failing to reach SSE by phonecall or email I wrote to them about the situation, stating that this was the start of a formal complaint. Within days I had a response from a named person and within a week received an up-to-date statement and a year’s worth of payments in my bank account. For some reason my email address had disappeared from their system so I was not getting any reminders nor confirmation of any readings I had given. Whether this was the reason for non-payment or not I am unsure, but a written complaint quickly resolved it and I have been promised quarterly reminders in the future.