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What is Solar Net Metering and How Does it Work?

If you’ve ever considered renewable energy options for your home , you may have come across the term Net Metering. Today we’ll explain how Net Metering works, and why some homes have negative electricity bills, and electric meters that run in reverse.

What is Net Metering?

Put simply, in most states homes that make the decision to “go solar” are credited at retail rates for excess power or “net power” that is produced. Net metering is a utility billing mechanism that offers a credit to residential and business customers who are making excess electricity with their solar panel systems and sending it back to the grid.

How Net Metering Works

Let's say you install a net metered solar panel system in your business or residential property. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you are using at any point during the day, the electricity is sent back to the grid, running your electric meter in reverse. When you use more electricity than your panels produce, either at night or on cloudy days, your home will pull electricity back from the grid, running your meter forwards. At the end of the month or year, you are billed the net of what you put onto the grid and what you took off the grid: hence the term “net metering”.

With a solar energy system that is sized correctly, you can produce enough electricity to match your home’s energy consumption for the entire year. However, the amount of electricity your solar panels produce will vary throughout the year: you’ll use more in sunnier summer months, and less when the sun is lower in the sky and sets earlier in the winter. Net metering helps you account for these seasonal differences in solar production by crediting you for the excess electricity your panels produce so that you can use it at a later date.

Why does Net Metering Exist?

Net metering is designed for two main purposes: the first is to encourage more homeowners to switch to solar throughout the country; and the second is, because utilities–and the electricity grid as a whole–can benefit from the influx of low- to no-cost solar energy onto the grid. Solar energy can help balance the cost of purchasing electricity from other resources, especially during summer months when electricity is often the most expensive on the hottest and sunniest days of the year.

Use Net Metering to Save by Going Solar

Net metering is one of the many benefits of going solar, it allows you to store every unit of energy you produce with solar to be used at a later date from the grid. Thanks to net metering, you can save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your solar panel system by offsetting your need for electricity from the grid.

While net metering is not the only way that utilities compensate homeowners for going solar, it is by far the most common and effective solar policy. To see how much you can save with solar, Click Here to view your Solar Savings and set up a consultation with TriSMART Solar today to get connected with one of our solar experts!

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