Understanding Net Metering in Solar Energy

As a solar power expert, I have seen the benefits of net metering firsthand and the positive impact it can have on reducing energy costs and decreasing carbon emissions. In this article, I will explain what net metering is, how it works, and the benefits of this billing agreement between you and your electric service provider.

Definition of Net Metering

Net metering is a special metering and billing agreement between residential customers who generate energy using solar, wind, or a combination of both, and their electric service provider. To be eligible for net metering, the energy-generating system must be located on your premises and connected to the grid.

Requirements for Net Metering

To participate in net metering, you need a meter that can measure electricity flow in both directions. If your electric service provider requires two meters, they will have to pay for it. Alternatively, if you enter into a time of use billing agreement, you will have to purchase the meter yourself.

How Net Metering Works

The net metering agreement allows you to use the electricity you generate before using electricity from your electric service provider. Your meter will show the net electricity consumed, which is measured as the difference between the electricity you purchased and the electricity you generated.

Benefits of Net Metering

One of the benefits of net metering is the ability to store electricity when you’re not home and then use it when you return. With the expansion of net metering laws, you can generate electricity during peak hours and then use it during off-peak periods. Additionally, you only pay for the net electricity you use, so if you consume less than the baseline, you pay less, and if you consume more, you pay more.

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Billing and Payment for Net Metering

Even though you have entered into an agreement with your electric service provider, you will still receive monthly bills. The bill will state the amount of power you generated and the amount you consumed. On the anniversary of your agreement, you will receive a bill for the previous 12 months, although you can request monthly billing as well. It’s important to note that you will not be paid for any excess generation of electricity in a given year, although some providers may offer compensation.

Availability of Net Metering

If you want to use solar energy and participate in net metering, you need to contact your electric service provider to see if they offer this billing agreement. When the papers are drawn up, your provider cannot require you to pay for any meters beyond the bi-directional meter, and they cannot impose any requirements that do not meet existing national standards for grid-interconnected systems. You also do not have to buy additional insurance or purchase power from any of their affiliates.

Incentives for Net Metering

Net metering is not only a billing agreement but also an incentive to use solar energy. By reducing the number of kilowatts used by your electric service provider, you decrease the emissions of carbon dioxide into the air. If you live in New Jersey or Colorado, you are in luck, as they have some of the best net metering policies in the US. However, not all states have such policies in place for those who use solar energy.

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In conclusion, net metering is a valuable agreement for those who use solar energy and want to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint. By working with your electric service provider, you can take advantage of the benefits of net metering and generate clean, renewable energy for your home.

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