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What is Net Metering and Why It Will be Around in 2018

net metering

One of the First Questions We Ask

When we first start the conversation about adding solar to your home or business, we will ask you which utility company services your home.  Depending on the utility, we can then start to discuss different options and system sizes.  Different utilities often have different rules and policies regarding how a solar array for your home or business can be connected to the grid. using net metering.

Net Energy Metering – Overview

Also known as NEM or net metering, net energy metering is the process by which excess electricity generated from solar power can be fed back into the grid.  This process applies to both commercial and residential installations.  Laws that guarantee and protect net metering are present in many states, and in states without net metering laws, utilities may offer voluntary programs.  Benefits of net metering can vary widely for solar customers in different areas of the country based on the differences between states’ legislation and utility company policy.  We are experts in NEM in NC & SC and have experience in NEM policies in surrounding areas. We are happy to walk you through all the different programs.

From Solar Generation to the Grid – What Are Excess Energy Credits?

Net metering works by allowing excess electricity produced by solar at one point in time to offset the purchase of electricity later on. This is particularly useful because solar PV systems tend to generate the majority of their energy in the middle of the day while many of us are at work or in school.

For example, an average residential solar array might produce 20 kWh’s of energy a day (a kWh is the unit of energy used by utility companies to calculate your electric bill). Of those 20 kWh’s, only 10 kWh’s may be actually used to power loads in the home. So what happens to the other 10 kWh’s?

Through net metering, your utility will allow you to send the 10 excess kWh’s your system produced back through their meter, effectively spinning the meter backwards. This energy will then be used to power other homes or buildings in your neighborhood. Your utility will credit you for the 10 kWh’s you delivered to their grid, and these excess energy credits can be used to purchase electricity from the grid when your solar system is not producing enough energy to power your entire home, for example, at night.

Can I Offset All My Electricity From the Grid?

Yes, you can. Most utilities will allow excess energy credits to be carried over into future billing periods (think rollover minutes). However, it is important to note that with most utility companies, the credits accumulated get zeroed out once a year.  Additionally, most utilities charge a fixed rate each month for simply having your home connected to the grid. Excess energy credits typically cannot be used to offset this flat rate.

But I Heard…  HB589, Net Metering is Going Away

We have been getting that a lot these days.  Some of our competitors have been talking about Net Metering going away in North Carolina.  This statement is misleading and used by competitors to pressure those looking to install solar in to a contract quickly.  It is very important to note that there is no reason to feel pressured, here are some important dates outlined in HB589:

Mid – Late 2018: Expected timeframe for Duke Energy and the Utility Commission’s review of current net-metering rates.

Late 2018: Utility Commission & Duke Energy decision on revision of net-metering rates.

*Customers with solar PV systems installed before the date the utility commission approves new metering rates, are grandfathered into the net metering rate at the time of their interconnection.  (through 2027)

In addition, with HB589, Duke Energy customers will receive a new rebate incentive – in addition to the existing 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) beginning January 1, 2018.

For more information and to keep up to date, please visit our tax credit and solar rebates page.

To learn the exact net metering rules for your specific utility, it is best to speak with one of our knowledgeable energy specialists. Our team will help you analyze your electric bill and come up with the optimal size for a solar array on your home.

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