Switching energy suppliers with solar panels
This guide is intended to provide general guidance only. It is not intended to give you advice on your personal financial circumstances. You should seek independent professional advice if you’re unsure about anything mentioned in this guide or what choices to make
I’ve got solar panels and a Feed-In Tariff with my existing supplier – can I still switch to a new provider?
If you think your energy supplier is charging you over the odds and you’d like to look around for a better deal, don’t be put off just because you’ve also got a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) contract. Changing electricity supplier with solar panels is just the same as any other switch – in fact you don’t need to worry about your FIT contract at all.
A Feed-In Tariff is simply a standard subsidy paid out by most energy companies (certainly all the big ones). The company that pays your subsidy is known as your FIT licensee, and they don’t need to be the same as your energy supplier. You can have separate contracts for your energy supply and your FIT payments.
So switching energy supplier with solar panels doesn’t need to affect your FIT contract at all. Your old supplier can still be your FIT licensee and carry on paying you the same rate.
No matter which energy company you’re currently with, it’s always worth checking the market regularly to see if you could save money by switching. So it’s good to know that there’s no problem changing supplier when you’ve got a FIT contract.
Who sets my FIT payments?
Once I’ve chosen a FIT licensee, do I have to stay with them?
No – you don’t have to stay with the same FIT licensee forever. You can change whenever you want.
Remember, you won’t get a better financial deal by moving to a new FIT licensee. However, if you’re not satisfied with the service you’ve been receiving, or the time it takes your FIT licensee to pay you, it may be worth switching.
How do I switch to a different FIT licensee?
First, make sure the company you’ve chosen is licensed to pay Feed-In Tariffs. See the question below for a list of companies that have to offer FIT contracts.
Contact the company through their website and check that they’re happy to take you on. You may need to fill in an application form and confirm your request in writing.
Your new FIT licensee will get in touch with your current supplier and sort out a date for the switch. They’ll also arrange a ‘generation reading’ to make sure they have accurate figures for your solar panel energy output.
They’ll let you know when the switch is complete.
Which energy providers pay Feed-In Tariffs?
All the ‘big six’ – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, ScottishPower and SSE – plus first:utility and OVO Energy are legally required to offer FIT contracts. Many smaller suppliers also offer these contracts – you can see a complete list here.
Why should I install solar panels?
Solar panels are a ‘green’ way to use your home to produce electricity. You then use this electricity in your home, and if there’s any surplus you can sell it through a Feed-In Tariff.
You can arrange a FIT contract with any of the companies that offer it (see the question above). It may be most convenient to arrange a contract with the company that currently supplies your other energy needs, but you can choose a different provider if you want.
How else can I cut my energy costs?
If you’re thinking of switching energy supplier with solar panels, but want to shrink your bills in other ways as well, here are a few nifty suggestions.
To start with, try to cut down on your energy use by making sure your home and all your electrical appliances are working as efficiently as possible.
If you insulate your roof and walls, improve your heating system and follow the tips below, you could cut your energy bills by around £300 a year. You’ll also reduce your home’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 1.5 tonnes – which is good for our planet, too.
Here are ten tips ideas saving energy:
- Defrost your freezer at least once every six months
- Get or make draught excluders for outside doors, windows and letterboxes
- If your boiler is over 15 years old, it may be time to replace it with a new A-rated condensing boiler
- Replace all your old windows with double glazing – you could save around £135 each year
- Slip an insulating jacket on your hot water tank – for around £35 a year in savings
- Stop heat escaping through your walls – cavity wall insulation can cut around £115 off your heating bill each year
- Turn appliances off at the wall – don’t leave them eating up electricity on standby
- Use energy-saving light bulbs
- When using your washing machine, never set it higher than 30˚
- When you boil a kettle, only use as much water as you need
You’ll find more ideas in our full energy saving guide
Does OVO offer FIT contracts?
Yes, OVO does offer FIT contracts, and we also know that price matters – that’s why we keep our costs down, to help you save.
If you switch to OVO as your energy supplier, you'll also get our 3% OVO interest reward on any credit in your account.
Visit our website to see how your current provider matches up next to our range of energy plans – you can compare energy prices for our electricity, gas and dual fuel plans. They’re based on a medium user, paying by Direct Debit, averaged across all UK regions. It’s the quick and easy way to compare utility prices.