How Net Metering Works
What is solar net metering? Southern California homeowners thinking about going solar have heard the term but really aren’t sure how net metering works.
Solar net metering is a way utility providers can bill customers who generate excess electricity with solar. Utility customers who are net-metered, see their meters run backward and excess electricity is fed back to the grid. The bill you’d receive is only for “net” energy used.
When you have a rooftop solar system, it can often generate more electricity than consumed during daylight hours. The difference between the energy produced by solar panels and energy consumed over the monthly billing period. Depending upon local policies, you may get a credit to hedge against the electricity you use from the grid.
Solar net metering can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their utility bills yearly. Another good reason to make the money-saving choice and go solar sooner rather than later.
There’s another benefit from solar net metering. Since solar panels are generating electricity near the point of use, it reduces strain on the grid. The distribution and transmission infrastructure minimizes energy loss from sending voltage many miles from the nearest power plant. Some claim net metering represents an unfair burden on non-solar electricity customers, many cost-benefit studies have found the opposite.
California and NEM
Does California still offer solar net metering? State regulators and utilities have proposed new policies challenging the value of simple retail NEM. As of now, there haven’t been many changes to the rules.
Original net metering policies are designed for areas with a low number of solar users. With states like California and New York seeing rapid increases in the number of solar installations, you’ll see changes coming in the next few years. California has already started implementing what’s called “Net Metering 2.0”. One study has shown reasons to be optimistic about this new policy. At least compared to the original retail net metering approach.
To learn more about solar net metering and other related policies, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). Another resource for information and consumer advocacy programs is the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), or ask the experts at SunPro Solar for the latest on possible net metering-related policy changes in your area.
Future of Net Metering
There are many discussions taking place across the country on how to evolve the current programs. Net metering updates may factor in such things as a more accurate valuation of the solar energy flowing into the distribution grid. Rate structures charging more at certain times of the day, and credits at a wholesale rather than retail rate; and the impact of residential solar energy storage batteries.
Customers already benefiting from net metering for home solar, you’ll likely not see any major reductions. All the current NEM customers will be “grandfathered” in, regardless of the changes impacting rates of new solar customers.
So now that you know how net metering works, take advantage of current favorable policies, don’t delay going solar. SunPro Solar can walk you through all the solar and backup battery options available for your home. Call 951-678-7733 to schedule an appointment with an experienced energy consultant today.