Smart Meter and Solar Panel Export Readings

Hi, I have just had the latest smart meter installed. I have a 4kw PV solar system too (for nearly 10 years now). I see that the IHD has a pylon symbol which shows some of the time. My questions are:

  1. does the pylon mean I am net exporting (house usage is less than I am generating and I am exporting the excess)?
  2. can I tell how much I am exporting (ie the reading is showing the amount being exported)?
  3. is there a way to see the total exports for a given period
  4. can I submit (automatically) to bulb my export readings to be paid actual exports rather than the deemed 50%. I am not with Bulb for FIT but would move if this was a feature?
  5. is it possible to get generation on smart meter too? - I doubt it at this point.

Thanks

I don’t have solar, but know a bit about it simply due to my own research and considerations. For what it’s worth:

1) does the pylon mean I am net exporting (house usage is less than I am generating and I am exporting the excess)?

Yes.

2) can I tell how much I am exporting (ie the reading is showing the amount being exported)?

I have an IHD that is the same make as the one Bulb are installing, and essentially the same model although an earlier version. Assuming it works in a similar way, which is most likely, there is a way to get it to show you the current usage in Watts. This will be correct for either import or export, with the pylon symbol telling you which direction the power is flowing. The number in Watts might also go negative for export.

I hope they’ve made the interface somewhat more intuitive on your new model. But on mine with a terrible interface, you need to put it into electric-only mode (i.e., not showing you the sum of electric+gas) and then press the calendar button until you get to “usage now”. After that, you’ll need to press the “£” button to cycle through units until you get to Watts.

3) is there a way to see the total exports for a given period

The IHD shows you only the cumulative total cost.

4) can I submit (automatically) to bulb my export readings to be paid actual exports rather than the deemed 50%. I am not with Bulb for FIT but would move if this was a feature?

I don’t believe this is currently possible to automatically submit export readings. It almost certainly is something they are planning for the future. But “the future” in this context is likely a long way off - years rather than months. They’ve got a lot on their plate getting the basics working right now.

Bulb do have a trial coming up for paying based on export, which you can join without affecting your FIT payments (free extra money). More info here.

5) is it possible to get generation on smart meter too? - I doubt it at this point.

It’s not possible, not because it’s not implemented but because that information is physically not measurable at the point in the circuit where your smart meter is installed. The import/export meter can only see what passes through it. Since your own usage of your solar happens on your “local” side of the meter, then the meter doesn’t see it and knows nothing about it.

I am also on deemed 50% for export payments. I agreed to have a smart meter installed after being told I could measure my export, if only by taking readings and doing some arithmetic. Then I would to be able to decide whether to choose to be paid for actual export (as long as it doesn’t become compulsory). I can’t see how to do it, however. I can find nothing about export in the information from either bulb or Chameleon (the manufacturer of the in-home display), and, like @Michael_with_Solar, I just worked out for myself that the pylon-and-spark symbol indicated (momentary) net export. The meter that came with my solar panels shows usage (wherever from), grid (import/export) and generation (whether importing or exporting), but doesn’t store cumulative export. Can anyone help me discover that, please?

Hi @Consument :wave:

It sounds like you’re trying to get a reading from the IHD (Chameleon) and need to look at the meter instead. If you follow these steps you’ll be able to find the export reading on the meter. Does that clear things up for you? If you have any more specific questions I can get those raised with our solar team :sun_with_face:

All the best,
Megan

Thanks, I’ve found the export total to date, so what I think I need to do is compare that with generation over time.

Just today I had an email about the Smart Things app, so I now have that, but I don’t think it can access generation data; is there any chance that in the future it will be able to do that and give me a running proportion exported?

@Consument - You could only really compare with the generation since the smart meter was installed, so it would be a bit difficult to look at retrospectively unless you recorded your historical generation?

In terms of the smartthings app I’m actually not too sure about generation being included :thinking: @Nick_at_SmartThings or @Chris_at_SmartThings might have some insight though

Yes, I was only expecting to be able to measure export from now on. I have usage and generation stored in the Holmes app since I started generating, but, even though it displays real-time import/export, I don’t think it remembers! And those readings are anyway just momentary snapshots every 3 seconds so don’t produce very accurate overall figures when extrapolated to simulate continuous reading (at least that’s how I think it works). That’s where the Chameleon readings are superior, as I presume each shows actual consumption and imort/export for the whole 10 seconds since the last one.

I’ve actually also got the Bright app from Hildebrand, and they told me that they are hoping to incorporate export data into it sometime soon.

@Consument - okay cool then you’ll definitely be able to track it moving forwards! If we are providing your Export payments as well the historical readings that you send to us for the payments will be logged in your Bulb account as well :blush:

Hopefully as renewables like solar become more ‘normal’ across homes, the apps available will start to incorporate them from the start as well :sunny:

My FiT payer is still my old electricity supplier, and they don’t have access to the export, do they? I’m wondering how I would be able to change my deemed 50% export payment to actual export if I discover that I am exporting more than 50% — by moving my FiT to bulb? Mind you, my impression is that I export far less than 50%, as I have electric (heat pump) heating, and over the first two days of measuring I have only exported 43%, and that’s in the summer, albeit not very sunny days.

Hi @Consument

So with the deemed 50% export it doesn’t matter which supplier you’re with as you’ll get the same rates - if you start at one rate you get that for 20 years. So there’s no real financial benefit for switching FIT providers. Generally the rates are good and 50% deemed could be considered quite generous, but it’s definitely worth checking this with your current supplier.

– Meg :bulb:

AIUI, you’re not supposed to be entitled to the “50% deemed export” rate if you have a meter that captures export readings.

The theory goes that you give both generation and export readings to your FiT provider on a quarterly basis (once the FiT provider is aware that there’s an export meter), and they pay you accordingly. One day, they might be able to collect the export readings automatically (like your energy supplier does [should] for consumption readings).

Alternatively, you might want to look at one of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) schemes, such as Bulb’s Export Payments. Those are paid on the basis of actual export, and if you find one that’s higher than your FiT export rate, that might work out better. Note that you have to give up the FiT export payment in favour of the SEG (but your FiT payments for generation would continue).

Hi,
This is my first year using the SEG payments with Bulb. They requested my export reading in September, which I supplied and they acknowledged and the implication was that the payment would be credited to my October statement. But I got my October statement on Friday and no sign of the SEG payment. Does anyone know when this will be paid?

According to Bulb’s Help pages on SEG, they pay in April and October (it doesn’t say when in those months).

Hi @ChrisA2107 :wave: welcome back to Community!

The SEG payments will be made between 01/10/21 - 14/10/21. So if you haven’t already heard from the solar team, you will by tomorrow.

– Meg :bulb: