First published on Sustainable Development Blog by BEC director Ross Gilbert
Getting an export meter takes time and patience. It makes sense to start this process before installing your system as – crucially – payments are not made until you’ve got your meter in place. A flow chart has been been produced to sit beside this blog and can be found by clicking on the link below.
If you system is under 30 kWp you don’t need export metering. Indeed, it’s usually uneconomic to do so. Instead, opt for a “deemed export payment” whereby a tariff (index-linked) is paid on 50% of the energy generated on site.
If your system is sized over 30 kWp then you’ve got to get an export meter installed.
Setting up export metering – things you need
First up, you’re going to need to know the import MPAN of the electricity supply you wish to connect into – it can be found in the top right hand side of an bill that covers that meter and is an 13 digit number.
You will then need to ask your FiT Provider who will direct you to your District Network Operator to provide an export MPAN.
At the same time you need to establish who the meter operator (MO) or (MOP) is. The easiest way to do this is to contact your chosen FiT provider – having had extremely good experiences with them I’d recommend Good Energy – there are other ways such as internet searches that will yield the same results.
You will need an half hourly import export meter installed. The MOP will know what meter is currently installed on the import MPAN
Note: You cannot have 2 contracts on a single meter. Thus, if you are a third party installing solar PV on another persons building or land then you will need to obtain written permission from the party who holds the existing electricity supply contract to deal with the MOP – or better yet get them to arrange all of this if you can!
You will then need to contact the MOP and fill in a “HH Meter Operator Contract” form. To do this you’ll need the import and export MPANs as well as authority to deal with them if you are not the account holder. Different MOPs will offer different terms – the installations I have dealt with have all been through the same company and we have taken out a 5 year MOP contract
Registration of Export MPAN
Once you have your export MPAN number and you have signed MOP contracts in place you will need to register you export MPAN with your FiT provider and wait for them to confirm registration.
Half Hourly Meter Installation
When you’re FiT provider gets back to you with the above, then tell the MOP. They will then carry out the work required: either the installation of an new meter or the re-programming of an existing meter.
Once a meter has been installed then you must wait for flows to be auctioned (I’ve no idea what that means either) by the MOP. Your FiT provider should then be able to confirm the receipt of data and provide details of the electricity you’re exporting.
Export Metering Costs
There are two elements of charges incurred through export metering.
The cost of the meter itself (covered by a contract with the MOP. Usually a single fee annually
The cost of the data provision which is provided by your FiT provider. (invoiced quarterly and is contra charged against any export payments due.)
This equates in our experience to about £600 pa relatively evenly split.
Please note different MOPs have different arrangements.
LECs & REGOs
As well as export payments, you’ll also be eligible for LECs and REGOs – an additional payment of about 1/2 a penny per kWH. You will need to provide monthly total generation and total export figures to Ofgem. We have found that together with the export metering a GSM generation meter provides a cost-effective way of getting total generation data.