On October 1, 2023, Duke Energy moved away from the fixed, 1:1 net metering rate and launched Net Metering 2.0, which is a variable, demand-based, net metering policy based on time-of-use (TOU) rates. If you are just beginning your solar journey, you may be wondering, “What is Net Metering”?
Net metering is the interconnection policy that controls how your solar system is connected to the grid and more importantly, how your utility provider credits you for any excess solar energy that your system produces that is sent back to the grid.
As we move into October 2023, you may be curious what the current net metering rate options are and what those difference mean for you. This net metering rate shift should only affect you if your utility provider is Duke Energy, Duke Energy Progress, or Duke Energy Carolinas. If you fall under any of those categories, we are here to help you understand what your options are and walk you through the details.
1. Net Metering 2.0 Time-of-Use (TOU) Rates
Net metering 2.0’s credit value will be determined by Time-of-Use (TOU) rates. TOU rates are variable and calculated based on when Duke experiences peak consumer demand. The predicted value in credit of TOU rates is outlined by Duke in a rate schedule, typically charging more for energy during peak consumer demand hours.
TOU rates mean that your energy consumption and solar production will now be valued differently based on the hour of the day, day of the week, month of the year, and by peak usage hours deemed by Duke. This is in contrast to the prior 1:1 flat rate system where usage and solar production were valued the same during every hour of the day, year round.
2. The “Bridge Rate”
Yes Solar Solutions (Cary, NC), with two other local installers, intervened in the original request from Duke to the Utilities Commission and negotiated a ‘bridge rate’ to provide an option for customers who aren’t ready to fully move over to the variable, time-of-use (TOU) rates by ‘bridging’ the transition through a hybrid rate model.
The bridge rate hybrid model is a blend of the previous 1:1 fixed rate (where usage and solar production are valued the same every hour of the day, year round) and the new TOU rates (where energy credits will be valued differently based on the time of day and when Duke experiences peak consumer demand).
The bridge rate hybrid model will feature a monthly minimum bill charge and a monthly non-by-passable bill charge, along with a monthly netting of excess energy that your solar system produces. Based on that monthly netting, a customer would then be credited based on the current avoided cost of electricity. This bridge rate hybrid model will have annual capacity caps and will only be available as an option until December 31, 2026.
If you want to secure the bridge rate, please do not wait to reach out so we can work on getting this rate secured for you before the annual capacity cap is met. If you do secure the bridge rate, you are eligible to stay on this hybrid rate for a total of 15 years.
How Did We Get Here?
In the following clip from Solarize the Triangle‘s Net Metering Webinar, Speaker & Senior Attorney with Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Nick Jimenez, gets us up to speed on where these recent changes to net metering are coming from and then outlines what the current options entail.
Products That Can Help With Net Metering Rates
1. The SPAN Smart Panel
With a SPAN smart panel, you can control and monitor every electrical circuit in your home from a smartphone or tablet – even when you aren’t home. The SPAN Smart Panel app allows you to understand how your home is sourcing, storing, and using energy in real-time.
A SPAN smart panel does what is called ‘load management‘ which takes into account what appliances in the home are priority or non-essential (which you as the homeowner set). This allows you to take control of what home appliances mean the most to you.
The SPAN panel accomplishes this load management through ‘load-shedding‘ which will automatically turn off your non-essential appliances in order to run your essential appliances if you are nearing overloading your utility meter.
2. The Tesla Powerwall
The Tesla Powerwall is essentially a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for your home. It stores the energy collected by your solar cells and in the event of an outage, can continuously power your home for up to a week. The Tesla Powerwall can be programmed to charge (from the grid) during lower rate periods. It can then distribute the stored power during more expensive rate periods. This is a major bonus with TOU rates.
The Tesla App also helps you monitor day-to-day operations, understand the flow of energy in your home, and allows you to monitor and manage the clean energy your system produces with 24/7 remote access.
How Yes Solar Solutions Can Help
We know this can seem like a lot, and it is! Yes Solar’s leadership in the net metering negotiations gives us a good understanding of how the new rates will work, although there are still many details to be worked out by Duke Energy, including the template solar calculator that the utility has posted as a starting point. We here to help talk you through any questions you have or evaluate your home for what options may work best – for you.
Yes Solar Solutions is a locally-owned, NABCEP accredited solar installation company serving residential, commercial and non-profit customers. Turn to the experts for solar, energy storage, and EV charging.