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What Is Net Metering?

Solar panels installed on the roof of a residence.

Homeowners interested in lowering their energy bills through a solar panel system need to know about net metering. Net metering is a tool utility companies use that allows people to store the extra energy produced by solar panels on the electrical grid. When your panels are producing plenty more power than you need during a nice sunny stretch, the excess power will go back to the grid and you will be credited for that amount. This means that during a cloudy or rainy period, you will get back energy from the grid that is paid for by the credits you’ve accumulated previously.

How Net Metering Works

With a net-metered solar panel system, excess energy produced goes back to the grid. This actually causes your meter to run in reverse. When you pull power from the grid due to unfavorable energy generation conditions, the meter runs forward like normal. At the end of the month (or sometimes at the end of the year), you receive a bill for the net of what you contributed and took from the electric grid.

Net metering exists to encourage widespread adoption of solar energy and to help utilities balance out the cost of buying energy from costly sources when electricity is at its highest demand.

How Net Metering Affects Your Bill

A common misconception regarding net metering is that producing excess electricity will earn you a check at the end of the month. Instead, you’ll receive credit for periods of excess production. These credits accumulate over the summer months, so you can draw on them during the winter. If your system is appropriately sized to cover all your household needs on average, the end goal is not having to pay for electricity out of pocket during low-production months because you’re drawing down the credits earned during production highs. You will still have to pay the access and other fees many utilities choose to tack onto energy bills.

Does Your State Participate in Net Metering?

If you’re interested in building a solar panel system with Solar Liberty, it’s important to know whether net metering is available in your area.

  • New York: NY offers net metering with an additional Customer Benefits Charge.
  • Pennsylvania: PA pays a one-to-one credit for each kilowatt-hour supplied to the grid.
  • Ohio: Net metering in OH is currently established only for investor-owned utilities.
  • Vermont: VT offers net metering with a customer charge and energy efficiency charge, and credits expire if not used within 12 months of generation.

Save on Energy With Solar Liberty

Don’t wait to take advantage of net metering in NY, PA, OH, or VT. Solar Liberty has nearly 20 years of experience helping customers like you go solar and take control of your energy bills. To learn more about net metering and how we can make it happen for you, call Solar Liberty at 866-807-3639 or get started with a free solar evaluation.