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Net Metering To Earn Credit For Power

Learn the fundamentals of what you need to know about net-metering for a home solar panel system to make your meter spin backwards. With net metering, the electric utility gives you credit for excess power produced. Your clean energy can power your house and potentially your neighbors. It's a great way to get credit while being Eco-friendly.

When the solar panels on your roof generate energy, it will be used right away to power whatever needs electricity in your house, like your TV, computer or lamps. Extra energy is sent back to the utility grid, and as that happens, you’ll get to see your electric meter actually run backwards. The utility “net metering” program means, in most cases, that they’ve committed to buying power from you at the same rate as they sell it to you. Basically, it’s a credit for the excess energy you produce. While you’re at work during the day, you can be feeding power to the utility, and then when you come home at night (and the sun is no longer shining on your solar panels), the utility will give it back to you at no charge.

Where is net metering available?

All public electric utilities are required to make net metering available to customers, under federal law. Bills are pending in Congress to require net metering for all utilities, and the majority of states have laws for net metering. Four states don’t provide for net metering (Alabama, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee). There are differences in the programs in other states; for example, some have a limit on the number of subscribers who can be using net metering at any time. Almost all have a limit on the wattage for each subscriber.

Do I need a special meter?

Most standard meters can run both forward and backward. Some utility companies will set you up with two meters– one for each direction. Others are starting to use time-of-use (TOU) meters, which record the time electricity was used, so that the utility can charge different rates depending on the time of day.

How does billing work?

Your utility will still read your meter every month, but now they’ll only charge you for the net amount of energy used. You may also be able to choose to pay your bill every 12 months, rather than every month.

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