What is Solar Net Metering?

In recent years, renewable energy has become an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to reduce their environmental impact and lower their energy costs. One of the most attractive renewable energy sources is solar power, which allows homeowners to generate their own electricity from the sun.

However, while solar power is an excellent way to reduce energy costs and increase sustainability, it can be challenging to store excess energy or generate power during times of low sun exposure. This is where solar net metering comes in.

Solar net metering is a system that allows homeowners with solar panels to earn credits for any excess electricity their system generates. This allows domestic and commercial properties which generate their own electricity from solar to ‘sell’ the electricity they aren't using back into the grid.

These credits can be used to offset the cost of electricity when the system is not generating power, such as at night or during times of low sunlight. In essence, solar net metering allows homeowners to use the grid as a virtual battery, storing excess energy for later use and reducing their reliance on traditional electricity sources.

power grid station electrical distribution station

How does Solar Net Metering Work?

When your solar panels generate more electricity than you need, that excess energy is sent back to the grid. The electric meter then runs in reverse, earning credits for the excess energy produced. Alternatively, you can store this surplus electricity in a battery should you suffer from a black out or emergency situation.

Later, when you need to use electricity but your solar panels aren't generating enough power, you can draw energy from the grid and use the credits you earned earlier to offset the cost of the electricity you use. This means that anyone with solar panels can significantly reduce their monthly electricity bills and increase the financial benefits of going solar.

life with electricity

Will Net Metering Earn Me Money?

Technically, net metering will not pay cash back into your bank account. However, you will benefit from the exchange. Essentially, you’re exchanging the electricity you generated with your utility supplier, you’re not actually selling it. By giving back your unused electricity, you receive the right to use the same amount for free at a later date. So, when it is too cloudy to generate enough power for your household appliances, you can draw electricity from your reserves.

You are not making any money from the transaction, think of it like a bank for energy. You save up excess power and use it when you really need it. At the end of each billing cycle (usually monthly), your utility supplier calculates the net energy you used. This is the difference between the amount of electricity that you consumed from the grid and the amount of electricity that you sent back to the grid.

If you used more electricity than you sent back, you will be billed for the net energy consumption at the standard retail rate for electricity. However, if you send more than you used, you will receive credit on your bill for that excess energy.

The electricity you get back is at the retail rate meaning it could be worth as much as you paid for it in the first place. Any unused credits can be rolled over to the next billing cycle or may be refunded to you at the end of the year depending on the policies of your supplier.

electricity bill and light bulb

What are the Key Benefits of Solar Net Metering?

One of the key benefits of solar net metering is that it is an excellent way to ensure that all the energy you produce is used, rather than going to waste. This is important because solar panels are most effective when the sun is at its peak, but most homeowners consume the most energy in the evenings when the sun is no longer shining.

By allowing you to store excess energy and draw from the grid when needed, solar net metering ensures that every bit of solar energy is utilised, increasing the overall efficiency of the system.

Additionally, solar net metering can be an excellent way to participate in the transition to renewable energy sources. By installing solar panels and using net metering to store excess energy, you can significantly reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and help reduce your carbon footprint. This not only benefits the individual, but it also contributes to a more sustainable future for all.

big solar plant

Net metering also takes pressure off the grid and provides stability, as it helps balance energy supply and demand. During periods of high demand, solar power can help reduce the strain on the grid making it a more stable system.

Is Solar Net Metering Worth it?

Solar net metering is an excellent way for homeowners and businesses with solar panels to maximise the benefits of renewable energy. By allowing you to store excess energy and use it later, net metering helps to increase the overall efficiency of solar panels and reduces reliance on traditional energy sources.

Overall, solar net metering gives you control over your energy bills by enabling you to generate your own electricity, reduce your energy usage, and take advantage of net metering to offset your energy costs. It can also protect you if you suffer from a power cut or any other emergency.

Additionally, net metering can be an excellent way to reduce energy costs and contribute to a more sustainable future. As more and more people turn to solar energy, solar net metering will likely become an increasingly common way to reap the benefits of solar power.

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