Does Your State Offer Solar Net Metering? Posted on 28 Nov 07:30
Solar net metering allows homeowners to earn credit for the excess electricity they produce with their photovoltaic systems. Have you ever heard someone say that solar power makes your utility meter run backward? They’re talking about net metering.
That depends on where you live, as state rules and regulations vary widely.
Why Is Solar Net Metering Important?
While you are at work during the day, let’s say your photovoltaic system generates 15 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and sends it to the grid. Later that evening, your household uses 15 kWh of electricity. If your state offers retail rate net metering, you wouldn’t have to pay the utility company for any energy use that day.
But what if your household uses less electricity than the amount generated by your photovoltaic system? If you live in a state with a full retail rate policy, you’ll get a credit on your bill for future use.
In states without retail rate policies, though, that 15 kWh of electricity your photovoltaic system produced during the day could be credited at much less — or not at all. In that case, the energy you generated wouldn’t cancel out the energy you used. You’d still owe the utility company money.
Which States Have Solar Net Metering?
Forty-one states have adopted mandatory net energy metering policies, requiring utility companies to offset the electricity photovoltaic energy systems produce. Two other states have no regulations in place, but some utilities have their own policies for solar customers.
Statewide net energy metering policies are not all the same. Roughly a quarter of the country offers the full retail rate for excess solar generation, with credits that do not expire. Some states have credits with expiration dates or reductions at the end of the year, while others credit the extra electricity at less than the retail rate.
But, according to the latest 50 States of Solar report through the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, 24 states took action related to their net energy metering policies just during the second quarter of 2016. Another 15 states enacted solar valuation or net metering studies.
How Can You Find Your State’s Net Energy Metering Policy?
To learn about your state’s current programs and policies for solar customers, check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE maintains a current and comprehensive listing of all statewide financial incentives that support photovoltaic power and other renewable energy systems.
Navigating the DSIRE site is simple. Just plug in your ZIP code, and you’ll see the policies and incentives available in your part of the country.
To learn more about installing a DIY solar kit, visit Solar GOODs today. You may be surprised at how much money you can save by installing your own photovoltaic panel system, with or without the benefits of solar net metering.