How feed-in works
Households with approved solar panel schemes are paid for the electricity they generate, even if they use all of it themselves. These payments are in addition to bill savings.
For techies, the feed-in tariff pays you up to 43.3p per kWh (kilowatt-hour, one unit of electricity) for energy generated from solar panels. Then there's a 3.1p bonus for every unit you don't use and pump back (export) to the grid. That's considerably more than the typical 13p per unit it costs to buy electricity from your provider.
Plug your details into the Energy Saving Trust's (EST) feed-in tariff calculator to see how much you'll gain. Go to Ofgem for a full list of feed-in tariffs. The feed-in scheme covers England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland.
Here's an example of what a typical domestic 2.9kWp solar electricity system could earn:
The benefit of feed-in tariffs Savings per year
Generation tariff £1,060
Export tariff £40
Electricity bill savings
Based on a tariff rate of 43.3p/kWh, export rate of 3.1p/kWh.
If your energy supplier doesn't hook you up with an import/export meter, it assumes you pump 50% of electricity back to the grid. (Your electricity bill savings will depend on how much you actually export, usually over 50%.) The vast majority of energy suppliers don't currently supply meters, because of the cost, plus the Government is still deciding meters' requirements.