Understanding the concept of Net Metering
With more and more people leaning towards environment-friendly options in their day-to-day lives, there is a marked increase in those choosing to use renewable sources of energy for power generation.
For those using solar energy to produce electricity, net metering will be a rewarding experience in more ways than one. Before we move on to understand all about net metering let us get some of the basics right.
Understanding Net metering
When a grid-tied solar system produces more energy than is needed, the excess power is sent to the electrical grid to be redistributed. At night, the grid will provide conventionally created power for your consumption. A net meter records the energy sent compared to the energy received from the grid and credits or charges you according to local rates and rules.
What is Net Metering?
If you are using a solar energy system to produce electricity, the power production is bound to differ throughout the year owing to weather changes. It will be higher in summer months when the sun shines bright and lower in the winters. This is where the concept of net metering comes in. It considers the variations in solar production caused by natural elements.
With net metering, consumers can use solar power generated during the day at any other time of their choice when solar plants are not operational. Basically, the grid acts as a bank that stores the extra solar power that can be used when required. This is achieved with the help of a bi-directional meter – a meter that works in both directions. It not only measures the power purchased but also the power that is returned to the grid. The earned credits, in turn, reduce utility bills to a great extent. Alternately, the consumers can also sell the surplus energy generated by their solar system to the electricity grid and get paid for it.
An interesting bit of information you should know is that United States was the first country to introduce net metering at an apartment block and a solar test house in Massachusetts way back in 1979. Minnesota is said to have passed the first net metering law in 1983.
Things you need for Net Metering + Benefits
Solar modules that generate power and an inverter to convert DC power from the solar panels to regular AC power are the main requirements for net metering. Both these components require little maintenance because there are no moving parts in them.
Advantages of Net Metering
There are a multitude of benefits when you opt for net metering. Apart from reduced energy bills, the use of solar energy helps reduce carbon footprint by producing clean and sustainable power. It eliminates the need for a solar battery, as the utility grid itself becomes a storehouse for excess energy. The concept of net metering works as an enabler for those using renewable energy and makes it affordable for them, while also encouraging more people to set up solar power generation units.
With more people opting for solar energy, it will reduce the load on the state’s distribution system, going a long way in protecting the environment.