Net metering for solar is a billing arrangement that allows solar energy system owners to receive credit for the excess electricity they generate and feed back into the grid. When a solar system produces more electricity than is being consumed on-site, the surplus power is sent back to the utility grid, and the owner is credited for that exported energy.
Here's how net metering typically works:
Installation: A solar energy system, such as solar panels, is installed on a residential or commercial property.
Electricity generation: The solar panels generate electricity from sunlight, which is used to power the property's electrical needs.
Excess electricity: If the solar system produces more electricity than what is being used at any given moment, the surplus is sent back to the utility grid.
Metering: A bidirectional meter is installed to measure both the electricity imported from the grid and the excess electricity exported back to the grid.
Credit accumulation: The utility company provides credits for the surplus electricity that is exported back to the grid. These credits are usually accumulated on the customer's electric bill.
Credit utilization: When the solar system is not generating enough electricity to meet the property's energy demand (e.g., during nighttime or on cloudy days), the owner can draw electricity from the grid. The credits earned during times of excess generation are used to offset the cost of the imported electricity.
Billing: At the end of a billing period (usually monthly), the customer is billed for the net amount of electricity consumed from the grid. If the solar system generated more electricity than was consumed, the excess credits are carried forward to future bills or may be eligible for reimbursement at the end of a specified period.
Net metering provides an incentive for solar system owners to invest in renewable energy by reducing or eliminating their electricity bills. It also encourages the growth of distributed solar generation and helps integrate renewable energy into the existing grid infrastructure. Net metering policies may vary by electric company or area so it's essential to check the specific regulations and guidelines set by the local utility company or government.