What is net metering?
Net metering allows you to sell electricity back to the utility company. If you have a grid-inter-tied solar energy or wind energy system that is producing more electricity than you are using, you can "bank" electricity with your utility company, spinning the utility meter backward. You only pay your "net" bill. In some areas, you might even be paid by the utility company if over the billing period, you produce more energy than you have used.
Net metering also goes by various other names, including net billing and energy banking.
Why is it important?
Solar and wind energy systems are intermittent sources. At times when you are producing more electricity than you are using, you will be paid equitably for this, instead of having to store the excess in expensive batteries or have it go to waste.
Net metering benefits the utility company, too, by reducing administrative costs. Revenue loss is comparable to that achieved by people investing in energy efficient appliances and other items like compact fluorescent lighting, efficient heating and cooling equipment.
How do I make use of net metering?
First you need to be sure to contact your utility to let them know you have an alternative energy system. You also need to know the local and state laws concerning net metering in your area.
Who can use net metering?
Net billing is most suited to conventional spin meters that will automatically spin backward if you are producing more electricity than you are using. Some newer meters are less adaptable to net metering, though your solar installer will be able to help you.
The majority of states have net metering programs. In recent years many states have enacted net metering laws, recognizing the value of encouraging people to use solar and renewable energy.
You can find out more about net metering by contacting a wind energy or solar energy dealer (click on links nearby) or by contacting your local utility provider.