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Net metering for home solar

What is net metering?

Net metering (also known as net energy metering or NEM) is a solar incentive that allows you to store energy in the electric grid. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you need, that extra energy is sent to the power grid in exchange for credits towards your electric bill. Then, at night or other times when your solar panels are underproducing, you will pull energy from the grid and use those credits to offset the costs of that energy. So you are still benefiting from your solar.

When HomeLink reviews your electrical usage over the last year and designs your new solar energy system to be the right size, your system can produce enough electricity to match your home’s electricity use for the entire year. However, the amount of electricity your solar panels produce will vary throughout the year, depending on weather and sunshine. Net metering helps you account for these differences by providing you with credits for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use it later.

While net metering is not the only way that utilities compensate homeowners for switching to solar, it is by far the most common:

as of 2016, 41 states have mandatory net metering rules, and two more have utilities that permit the practice.

How net metering works

Solar energy systems typically hit peak electricity production in the afternoon, when many people aren’t home using electricity. By contrast, home electricity use is typically higher in the mornings and evenings. Net metering helps you to account for these ups and downs in your day-to-day electricity production and usage.

With net metering, excess electricity is fed into your electric utility’s grid when your system is producing more than you need. When this happens, your meter actually runs in reverse. When your system isn’t producing enough electricity, you can draw it from your utility just as you did before you went solar. This “back-and-forth” between your system and the grid ensures that your excess production will still be used and your shortages will be met. With net metering, the excess electricity your home produces covers the times when you don’t produce enough.

When your solar power system generates more electricity than you use over the course of a month, your utility bill will receive a credit based on the net number of kilowatt-hours you gave back to the grid. If you produce less electricity than you use in a given month, you must buy electricity from your utility to make up the difference. In these instances, you would pay for the electricity you use, minus any excess electricity your solar panels generated.

With net metering, you can save by going solar

Thanks to net metering, homeowners are credited for the energy that their solar panels generate at the same rate that they would pay to their utility. As a result, you can save tens of thousands of dollars on electricity costs over the lifetime of your solar energy system.

Calculate your solar savings to get an instant estimate of just how much you can save with a solar energy system, or register your property to start getting quotes from HomeLink: Home Solar | Real Estate.

Net metering here in your state

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