Solar net metering, also known as net energy metering or simply net metering, is a billing mechanism that allows individuals or businesses with solar panels to sell excess electricity generated by their solar panels back to the grid. This system helps to offset the cost of the electricity that these individuals or businesses consume from the grid, effectively reducing their electricity bills.
Net metering works by using a two-way meter, also known as a net meter, that measures both the electricity generated by the solar panels and the electricity consumed by the individual or business. When the solar panels generate more electricity than is being consumed, the excess electricity is sent back to the grid, and the net meter runs backwards. This excess electricity is then credited to the individual or business, and can be used to offset their electricity consumption in the future. Some Utilities, Like We Energies, does this slightly differently with two meters instead of one that spins both directions, but it is effectively the same result.
For example, let’s say that an individual has installed a solar panel system on their home, and that system generates more electricity than the individual consumes on a given day. The excess electricity generated by the solar panels will be sent back to the grid, and the net meter will run backwards to reflect the excess electricity. The individual can then use this excess electricity to offset their electricity consumption on a future day when their solar panels are not generating as much electricity, effectively reducing their electricity bills.
Net metering is beneficial for a number of reasons. For individuals and businesses with solar panels, it allows them to offset their electricity bills and save money on their energy costs. This can help to make solar power a more attractive and financially viable option for these individuals and businesses. Additionally, net metering helps to promote the use of renewable energy, as it provides an incentive for individuals and businesses to generate their own electricity using solar panels.
Net metering also has benefits for the grid as a whole. By allowing individuals and businesses to sell excess electricity back to the grid, net metering helps to increase the overall supply of electricity, which can help to reduce the strain on the grid during times of high demand. Additionally, by promoting the use of renewable energy, net metering can help to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the electricity grid.
There are some limitations and challenges to the implementation of net metering. For example, not all utility companies offer net metering, and those that do may have different rules and regulations governing its use. Additionally, net metering is not available in all states, and some states may have caps on the amount of electricity that can be sold back to the grid through net metering.
Despite these challenges, net metering remains a popular and effective way to promote the use of renewable energy and to help individuals and businesses save money on their energy costs. By allowing individuals and businesses to sell excess electricity generated by their solar panels back to the grid, net metering provides an important link between renewable energy generation and electricity consumption.