Net Metering: Benefits and how it works
Net metering, also called net energy metering, is a program that enables those who own a solar energy system to store excess energy or power that they do not use back into the grid, so that no energy is wasted. This stored energy can then be pulled again from the grid when needed.
How does net metering work
If you have solar panels installed in your home, the amount of energy that is produced by the panels will not be the same throughout. Usually, electricity production is at its highest during the afternoon. But this is a time when most people are not at home, but rather at work or school.
On the other hand, electricity production is at its lowest at night. However, this is when most people are home and consume electricity. So, net metering helps solar power owners to account for these differences in energy production and consumption.
When you have net metering for your home, the excess electricity you do not use, usually during the day, is fed back to the power grid. This means that your meter is actually running in reverse. In other words, your utility bill is credited based on the amount of energy (in terms of kilowatt-hours) that is sent back to the grid. And when your solar panel is under-producing energy and you need more, you can pull that saved energy back from the grid. With net metering, you can ensure that energy is never wasted.
However, if you need to consume more electricity than you produce in a month, to make up for the difference, you will have to pay for electricity from your utility. In such cases, you don’t have to pay for the excess electricity produced by your solar energy system, only the amount of electricity that you actually use.
Benefits of net metering
It’s not difficult to see that net metering has a number of benefits. They are listed below:
- You get credits for producing more than you use
As mentioned before, if you produce more energy than you consume, your utility company will give you credit as per their current rate. When you don’t have energy from the sun, it means the utility company will supply you with electricity. In such cases, you only have to pay for the difference between the power from your solar panels and the electricity supplied by the company.
- It does not require a battery storage system
There is no need for a battery storage system since your excess energy is already stored in the grid. So, you can just use this stored energy every time you do not have enough electricity. This means that very little maintenance is required.
- You can easily save energy for winter
Battery storage systems can only store energy for around three to five days. But with net metering, the energy you send back to the grid during summer can be credited to you during winter, when your solar panels probably won’t be producing enough energy.
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