How To: Make Money by Going Green
How To: Make Money by Going Green


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How To: Make Money By Going Green

FEBRUARY 8, 2021  

“Can I really get paid to produce power?” is a question we get asked a lot. And the short answer is yes! There are several financial schemes available to homeowners and businesses with their own renewable energy systems. It can be difficult to get your head around them all so if you’re feeling a little confused, our handy guide should make things clearer…

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

Applies to: solar

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a Government scheme that was introduced in January 2020. It enables homes and businesses that generate their own renewable power to sell any surplus electricity that they don’t use back to the grid. As well as generating a source of income, it means you’re contributing to a more resilient energy system.


You are eligible if your renewable energy system…

  • Consists of any of the following technologies: solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind, micro combined heat and power (CHP), hydro or anaerobic digestion (AD).
  • Has a capacity of up to 5 MW, or up to 50 kW for micro-CHP.
  • Is located in Great Britain.

All you have to do is contact an energy supplier and ask to join their SEG tariff. Rates vary with different suppliers but you can expect to be paid around 5p per kWh of electricity you export. With a typical domestic solar installation, you’d be making around £100 a year. You’re not restricted to your current supplier either – your SEG tariff can be with a different energy company to that which provides your gas and electricity. Visit for more information.


The best part is that you don’t have to do anything. If you install solar panels through Cactus Energy, once you’re signed up to an SEG tariff, your solar panel system will automatically export any electricity you don’t use back to the grid so that you can be paid for it. Easy.

What’s the Feed-In Tariff? You may have come across this term when researching solar panel savings. The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) was the old scheme for solar panel payments. It was abolished in March 2019 and replaced with the SEG.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Applies to: heat pumps

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is another national Government scheme. It was launched in April 2014 with the aim of encouraging cleaner heating. The scheme covers England, Scotland and Wales – Northern Ireland has a separate initiative.


Through the RHI, people who generate heat from a renewable heating system can be rewarded financially via quarterly annual payments. The great thing about the RHI is that you get paid for all the energy you generate – including the energy you use yourself! The amount of money you receive will depend on how much energy you generate, what technology you use and the current tariff rates (they are adjusted every year).


There are different versions of the scheme for domestic (residential) and non-domestic (commercial) energy systems. These vary slightly on eligibility criteria, how the heat output of the system is calculated and how long payments last. But they are pretty similar. To be eligible for the RHI, your renewable heating system must be in line with Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) standards. All Cactus Energy installations are MCS certified.

Heating technologies covered by the scheme include:

  • Ground / water source heat pumps.
  • Air source heat pumps (air-to-water only)
  • Biomass – boilers or pellet stoves for domestic systems, and solid or solid from waste for non-domestic systems
  •  Solar thermal panels
  • Non-domestic RHI only – geothermal, biogas combustion, combined heat and power (CHP), biomethane injection
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that through the Domestic RHI, an average 4-bedroom detached house could make £2,000-2,400 a year from a ground-source heat pump and £1,000-1,500 a year from an air-source heat pump!

OLEV Grants

Applies to: electric vehicles

OLEV is the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the branch of the Government that supports the market for low-carbon vehicles. It has actually recently been renamed the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) but its job is still the same. It offers several financial schemes to reward drivers of electric vehicles (EVs).

Plug-In Vehicle Grant: Drivers receive money to cover a percentage of the cost of buying an EV – 35% for cars and 20% for vans and motorbikes. The grant is automatically deducted from the retail price when a vehicle is purchased. Vehicles must meet particular eligibility criteria, which can be found at

Other financial benefits: EV drivers get to enjoy things like lower charges in Clean Air Zones, free parking in some towns and reduced Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax for workers. They’re also excluded from Vehicle Excise Duty (‘road tax’).

Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS): This provides grants which cover up to 75% of the cost of buying and installing an EV chargepoint. Grants apply to domestic installations only and are capped at £350. The installer, vehicle and chargepoint must be authorised by OLEV. All Cactus Energy chargepoint installations are OLEV-approved.

Workplace Charging Scheme: This is the same as the EVHS (above), but for businesses, charities and public sector organisations.

On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme: There is growing demand for EV chargepoints in residential areas with no off-street parking. Unfortunately, you can’t apply for a chargepoint as an individual resident yet, but you can ask your council to apply for you. There is a pot of Government money allocated to help councils fund such installations.

Local Grants

Applies to: everything!

In addition to the nation-wide schemes described above, many councils offer their own local grants to help people install renewable technology. Our team of experts here at Cactus Energy have extensive knowledge of these and a lot of experience helping customers secure funding. Get in touch today to find out more!