Net Metering: a Key Policy that Helps You Balance your Solar-Electricity Use


net metering explained

When you install solar panels at your home or business, you’re building a sustainable energy resource right on your own property. But did you know that most homes with solar panel systems still remain connected to the electric grid?

Unless you install an energy storage option like the Tesla Powerwall, you’ll need access to an electricity source other than solar when the sun isn’t shining. Thanks to a utility program called net metering, you can easily power your house with solar electricity throughout the year.

How net metering works with solar panels

Net metering solves a fundamental problem with home solar: Your solar panels can only produce electricity when the sun is shining, but you still need lights and power for your refrigerator and other necessary appliances throughout the night.

As a result, your solar electricity production won’t perfectly match your day-to-day needs. To ensure that you can cover your electricity use with solar throughout the entire year, your solar installer will design a system that produces more electricity than you need when the days are sunny and long. When you produce excess kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar electricity at your home, they are fed back into the electric grid and sent where they are needed.

For every kWh of solar electricity you send back to the grid, you receive a net metering credit on your electricity bill. You can think of these credits as electricity “in the bank.” Then, when your panels aren’t producing as much electricity as you need for your home – for example, during the night or during overcast winter days – you draw from your “bank” of solar power credits to cover the difference. 

1/12/2018 6:32:28 PM

Is there an activist group that can help reinstate the net metering in Kansas?

1/12/2018 6:32:26 PM

Net metering is not available in Wichita Kansas for the last 2 - 3 years. Do you know of any activist group that can help with reinstating the net metering?

11/27/2017 8:49:58 AM

Finally an up to date article on an important topic. It was written however by someone who you allowed a subtle advertisement in the article. That aside, there are a lot of states right now where power companies and in some cases the Dept of Public Utilities are fighting the net metering on several different fronts including the utilities who say one for one credit is not fair and Regulators who are afraid that the net metering actually increases the cost to non solar users. Please check in you state to see if these battles are going on before assuming all is well for your particular installation.

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