Over the last couple of days, we’ve had some good threads on Twitter regarding donating part (or all) excess solar export to households that are struggling to pay their energy bills.
Users that sign up for a SEG arrangement with a supplier would simply tick the amount of their export that they would like to de donated, perhaps in 25% increments: 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The energy suppliers work out the rest, in coordination with government organisations.
Kevin Holland calls it:
the Solar Donation Initiative Share Your Solar, a much better term than our original take.
Climate crisis and increasing energy cost
The climate crisis and the increasing cost of energy have made it abundantly clear that we need to rethink our approach to energy consumption and production.
One solution gaining more and more traction is the decentralisation of energy generation, where households and businesses generate their own electricity through renewable sources like solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
A significant step in this direction is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), a government-backed initiative in the UK launched in 2020 that requires electricity suppliers, known as SEG Licensees, to pay small-scale generators, known as SEG Generators, for low-carbon electricity which they export back to the National Grid.
While the SEG model has been successful in encouraging the adoption of renewable energy technologies, there is an opportunity to expand its potential by introducing a new initiative: the Solar Donation Initiative.
This proposed scheme would allow SEG Generators to donate a percentage of their exported electricity to households struggling with their energy bills.
A framework for energy equality
The Share Your Solar initiative would be a means-tested system, ensuring that the energy generated by participants is directed to households most in need. Depending on their circumstances, participants could choose to donate 25, 50, 75, or even 100% of their exported energy.
These contributions would be made freely, with no financial return expected.
In order to provide flexibility and accommodate changes in their situation, participants would be able to adjust the percentage of their donation every six months via a basic amendment form with their contracted SEG energy provider.
Through this initiative, those with solar PV systems could directly support their community and contribute to a more equitable distribution of energy resources. It builds on the spirit of communal aid and encourages a more sustainable and inclusive energy economy.
Moreover, it can help alleviate energy poverty, a pressing issue that affects many households, particularly in the colder months.
Collaboration: the key to success
Share Your Solar would necessitate a strong collaboration between energy companies and the government. Energy companies would play a pivotal role in facilitating the transfer of donated energy from SEG Generators to the recipients.
They would also be responsible for providing regular updates to the participants about the impact of their donation.
The government, on the other hand, would be instrumental in developing the legal and regulatory framework necessary for the initiative. It would establish the criteria for means testing, ensuring that the benefits are directed towards households that struggle the most with their energy bills.
It would also oversee the initiative to ensure transparency and fairness in its operation.
The Share Your Solar initiative represents an innovative approach to promoting renewable energy, combating energy poverty, and fostering community solidarity.
By integrating this initiative with the existing SEG, we can make better use of our renewable energy resources and ensure a more equitable energy future.
As we move towards a more sustainable and inclusive energy system, such initiatives can play a crucial role in ensuring that no one is left behind.
Companies like Octopus Energy are already at the forefront of smart and innovative tariffs for their customers. It would be fantastic if they could also help drive charitable programmes like the Share Your Solar initiative to help those who need it most.