For many homes, solar power would not be a practical and cost effective energy alternative were it not for net metering.
Net metering turns the electric grid into a power bank, allowing you to both deposit and withdraw energy. It’s like putting money - in the form of electricity - in the bank, allowing you to get full value for your electricity by spinning your meter backwards.
During the day, when your solar electric system produces more power than you use, you actually send electricity back to the utility, spinning your meter backwards. At night, when you use more electricity than you produce, your meter spins forward again, withdrawing electricity from the utility.
At the end of the month, you are charged for the net difference. It’s a clever way for a home to ‘store’ electricity from the sun.
The physical component of net metering is an actual electric meter installed by the utility. It spins forward or backward depending on your system’s output at any given moment. At the end of the month, if your home used more energy from the grid than your system produced, you'll owe the utility some money. If your home produced more electricity than you used, you won't.
Because you are using the utility to bank your electricity, it is important to size your solar system just right. An ideal net-metered solar electric system produces enough power on an annual basis to eliminate almost all of your electric bill. Paying a tiny electric bill is a good thing, it means your solar array is designed to economic perfection.
Residential scale solar PV system owners served by the major utilities receive full retail value when they generate more power than they need. Under the Green Communities Act, utility companies must compensate most homeowners for excess electricity at the retail rate rather than the lower wholesale rate.
If you generate more than you use, you may allocate your energy credits to other customers, allowing those without solar systems to take advantage of net metering benefits as well. With this provision in place, Massachusetts has one of the strongest net metering laws in the country.
Contact SunBug to see how net metering may apply to your specific situation.
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