Page last updated 05 February 2013
Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are a Government incentive offered to homeowners who choose to power their properties using renewable energy.
Homeowners across the UK can take advantage of the scheme by generating their own power and feeding any excess electricity back into the national grid, receiving up to £1,000 a year in return.
There are two different types of FIT: generation and export tariffs. Under a generation tariff, you can receive regular payments simply by using a renewable energy source such as solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectricity to power your home.
Export tariffs on the other hand are given to those who feed their excess power back into the national grid - these tariffs pay out much more than their generation counterparts.
Simply put, those who make the most of a FIT can cut their electricity bills and also turn a profit. The amount of money you receive will largely depend on when your renewable energy system was installed.
Pre-2011, those installing solar panels to their property could expect to receive a higher rate payment of 41.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh), while new-build properties that came with the technology were given 36.1p per kWh, in addition to an extra 3p for each kWh they fed back into the grid.
If you were to take part in the scheme today, you could expect to receive 21p per kWh, with a payback rate of eighteen years, as opposed to just ten years under the higher rate system.
In addition to potentially making a profit, you'll also save money on your energy bills by generating your own power.
Those who installed their solar, wind or hydroelectricity generating device between 15th July 2009 and 3rd March 2012 will be eligible for the higher rate of 41.3p per kWh for ten years, while those who installed them between 1st April 2010 and 3rd March 2012 will only be eligible if their system was fitted by an approved installer. Anyone taking part after those dates will be eligible for the lower 21p rate, providing that an approved installer was used.
The application process you follow will depend on the type of energy source that you are looking to install, as well as on the amount of electricity that you are expecting to generate. All homeowners must first apply directly to the feed-in tariff scheme, which is open to anyone using approved technologies to generate no more than 5MW of power.
Less than 50 kW: those generating less than this amount will also need to apply to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and ensure that their system is fitted by an MCS approved installer.
Between 50 kW and 5MW: for these higher amounts, homeowners will need to apply for ROO-FIT accreditation, which involves sending details of your project and FIT eligibility to Ofgem.
Full details on the feed-in tariff scheme application process can be found at the Ofgem website.