What Is Net Metering and How Does It Work?

Net metering is the process of your solar system generating electricity and returning the excess energy back to the grid. A standard electric meter only reads energy running through it, not the direction it comes from. You get a net meter when your solar system is installed. Also called a bi-directional meter, a net meter can determine whether the energy is produced by your solar panels or is being pulled from the power grid.

Net Metering In Maryland

Maryland’s net metering program follows a compensation program where solar production from your system will be subtracted from the consumption you are billed for each month. Many states do not offer true net metering, but Maryland is set up with the ideal net metering policy. This means that when you create excess energy in a day, it rolls over to the following day and continues to the next month and the month after until you have overproduced for a single year. At that point, Maryland state regulation requires them to pay their baseline retail rate back to you as a check. In other states without as good of a net metering policy, this may be wholesale rates which could be half the amount of the retail rate.

Net metering allows you to become your power plant without the constraints of infrastructure or times of power purchase. You can overproduce at certain times of the day, pull from the grid during the nighttime, and still offset 100% of your bill if you have a large enough solar array on your roof or ground. Maryland allows you to produce up to 200% of your usage with your solar system at your house or business.

Net Metering In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s net metering program follows a compensation program where solar production from your system will be subtracted from the consumption you are typically billed each month. The significant change PA usually has is that at the end of the 12-month billing cycle, your utility will compensate you for the excess credits by “price-to-compare,” which equals the retail price of the electricity minus the distribution component.

This “price to compare” depends on your utility company and can be found on the electric bill.

Net Metering In Delaware

The credit you receive for excess electricity is based on the retail rate for electricity in Delaware. This means the credit you receive is the same as the rate you would pay if you buy electricity from your utility. The Delaware Public Service Commission sets the credit rate and it is subject to change annually. Overall, net metering in Delaware is an excellent way for customers with renewable energy systems to save money on their electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re interested in net metering, contact your utility to learn more about the application process and requirements.

How Do I Get  net meter installed?

Net metering is available to customers of most utilities who generate electricity using renewable energy sources. To be eligible for net metering, you must have a renewable energy system no larger than 25 kW for residential customers or 2 MW for non-residential customers. You must apply with your utility to participate in net metering. The application will include information about your renewable energy system, such as its size, capacity, and location. Once your application is approved, your utility will install a net meter, a special type of meter that can measure the electricity you generate and send it back to the grid. Under net metering, you are only billed for the net amount of electricity you use each month. If you generate more electricity than you use, the excess is credited to your account and carried forward to future bills. This means you can use your credits to offset the cost of electricity you consume in months when your renewable energy system isn’t generating as much electricity.

Next steps?

If you’re living in Maryland, Delaware or Pennsylvania and you’re thinking about getting solar installed, request a free solar analysis before you do anything else.

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