Net Metering Faq’s
Net metering is part of the reason solar is so beneficial! For every kWh, you produce your utility credits your full charges. As you produce lots of energy in the summer you have credits to use and carry you through the winter. This easy FAQ has all you need to know.
How does the utility track my usage without solar?
Before you install solar panels, you are only using fossil fuel energy from the utility grid. Power companies burn fossil fuels to create electricity. You then pay for electricity based on how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you consume each month. The utility company measures your monthly usage using a single meter that only tracks how much electricity goes into your home from the grid.
What happens when I go solar?
After you install solar panels, you are using clean electricity created by the solar array. Electricity produced by your system flows directly to the devices in your home. Some homes can create 100% of their electricity needs with solar, other homes might still need to purchase a little bit of electricity from the grid.
The utility company needs to know how much electricity you are creating with solar panels vs. how much electricity you might need to still buy from the grid. The utility company will install a bi-directional meter that tracks the energy flow into your home AND tracks the electricity flow from your solar panels out of your home.
I’m not home all day. None of my devices are on to consume electricity. What happens to my solar production?
If your home produces more electricity than you need during a given timeframe, the utility company will use the bi-directional meter to store the electricity you produce, and it will credit you for that excess production at a 1:1 ratio per kWh. The excess energy credited to you from the utility company belongs to you. When you return home and begin using electricity, you will draw on your stored kWh credits from the grid.
Is there a time limit to my stored energy credits?
No. Grid storage works very well over time. Most solar arrays produce excess energy throughout the summertime. Solar homeowners store those energy credits in the summer, and then they are able to draw credits off the grid in the winter when there are fewer hours of sunlight and your solar array is producing less electricity.
So, “what is net metering?”
Net metering is the term used to describe how your utility company tracks the balance between clean electricity produced by your solar panels vs. fossil fuel energy you buy from the grid. The “net” usage is calculated and you will either be credited for kWh produced by your solar array or charged any balance you may owe the utility company.