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?