One of the biggest considerations to take into account when you decide to go solar is whether you want to go completely off the grid and purchase a backup battery system to store the excess power created by yous solar system during the day to power your home at night, or to simply push that extra power back into the grid using what the government is calling the net metering program for your local municipality.
Many feel that going completely off the grid is a better solution in the long run, but do not know that going that route will drastically increase the cost and payback time of your solar system. Many battery backup systems cost at least $15,000, and often times much more than that. Because of this fact, more and more solar adopters are choosing to participate in the local net metering programs available in their areas.
Simply put, net metering is a way to send the excess power you produce back to the grid in exchange for credits. These credits can then be used to power your home when your panels do not produce enough energy on a particular day.
Your electric meter will keep track of how much electricity your panels generate and is sent back to the grid, as well as how much electricity you consume through credits when your panels under deliver. Your meter can run backwards or forwards depending on whether you’re consuming or producing more energy.
How Does Net Metering Work?
Whether you are using the power your system is producing during the day or not, your system will produce power all day while under the day’s sun. Your panels may produce more or less energy than you need on any given day. The energy produced throughout the day will be fed back to the grid to power other homes. You will then be credited for that energy and able to use power back from your utility company.
How Does It Affect My Bill?
By participating in the net metering program, your utility company will continue to read your meter on a monthly basis. You will also receive a monthly statement outlining the energy you consumed and sent back to the grid during that billing period. You can also roll over any excess electricity to your next bill. You will then have the option to settle your payments to the utility company every month or every year.
You will receive credit at the full retail price to be made towards future purchases. But you will be getting lower rates from your utility when you need to use power from the grid. These rates will vary from state to state, so check into your local rates before you decide.
Biggest Net Metering Benefits
- Make money for the electricity you don’t consume.
- Get accurate performance data so you know exactly how much energy is generated and consumed.
- Offset your electricity bills completely.
The utility companies who see their profits shrinking as consumers pay less for the electricity they use from them are not too happy about the 42 states enacting net metering programs by federal law. They’re also equally underwhelmed by the idea of paying customers for the electricity their panels produce, but for the solar enthusiasts participating in the program, it is a key benefit.