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What is Net Metering? And is it Here to Stay?

Investing in a solar panel system is the beginning of energy freedom. With clear benefits to the environment and a homeowner’s economic independence, rooftop solar has reached over 2 million households. Even though state and utility companies are progressively changing the way they compensate ratepayers for solar production, those benefits are still as strong as ever. But, it’s important to understand the differences in utility companies’ approaches to compensating solar customers. Let’s start with the basics – net metering.

What is net metering?

Did you know that most solar customers produce more energy than they consume during the day? The excess energy is pushed back to the grid, for which the utility company pays the solar customer in the form of a net credit on their bill. For some utility companies, the amount that they pay for this excess energy is equal to the retail rate of that energy if purchased by the utility customer (I.e., a dollar for dollar credit). This approach to compensating for excess solar production is called net metering. Once a solar system is installed, and approval to connect to the grid is received, the electrical meter spins forward for energy being consumed from the grid, and then backward for excess solar energy being pushed to the grid. In essence, the amount charged from the utility company reflects the “net metered” energy.

Will I be paid in cash for my credits?

It is a common misconception that you will receive a reimbursement check in the mail each month due to net metering. Although each state and utility company are different, most will hold onto your credits and apply them to future monthly bills throughout the year. Depending on the utility company, any excess credits at the end of the year may be paid out in the form of a check.

Is net metering available in my area?

In 2017, 41 states provided net metering laws to encourage the adoption of clean energy. However, with solar being more affordable and available than ever, utility companies are beginning to move away from net metering by adopting alternative methods of compensating solar customers for energy pushed to the grid. Click Here to see if net metering is available in your area. If it is, you’ll still want to be sure to understand the specific rules relating to your unique utility company.

Current Utility company trends

If net metering isn’t available in your area, take heart. Although many utility companies are moving away from true net metering, most still provide some level of compensation for energy pushed to the grid. In many cases, states and utilities have performed analyses to determine what the “value of solar” is in their respective service areas. This value of solar determines the amount that utility companies choose to pay for excess solar production sent to the grid.  The future state of rates and solar credits will likely continue to progress as solar installation costs decrease, new technologies come online, and the adoption of solar becomes more widespread. No matter what happens to net metering, solar customers will always benefit from owning their own power and avoiding increasing rates set by utilities.

Control Over Your Energy Bill

Elevation Home Energy Solutions designs systems to meet our customers’ needs and still give them control over energy in their homes. Our solar experts will assess your household’s unique energy profile to create a catered solar proposal to meet your needs. They may recommend a smart thermostat, smart energy monitor, or batteries to help offset consumption during expensive billing periods while still allowing you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. No more worrying about changes in utility companies’ approach to solar. We put the power back in your hands.

Find out what you can save.

Regardless of the future of net metering, installing a solar system is still a smart investment. Start with a free, no-obligation consultation. Our professional Energy Consultants are ready to help you explore solar solutions specific to your unique location and situation.

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