Net Metering: An Earning Method?

Net Metering

Net metering is a kind of billing mechanism that allows you to transfer your excess electricity to the grid. 

People around the world are becoming more cautious about the environment. Adopting clean energy is one of the solutions for a better future.

Net Metering is providing a budget-friendly way to switch to renewable energy resources.

It is an electricity policy for the promotion of distributed energy from renewable energy sources.

Let’s understand Net-metering in an easy way:

Understanding Net Metering 

Net Metering offers credit to the business and residential customers who are making excess electricity with their systems.

In Net metering, you will be billed for the net electricity usage.

How does it work?

When the solar power system is installed either on your rooftop or land, it produces more electricity during the day time, even more than you consume at that time.

In the case of off-grid systems, this excess of energy is used to charge batteries. Still, if any energy is left, then it gets wasted.

Overall, dealing with off-grid can lead to energy loss or you have to install such a big battery. 

Also, adopting battery storage is quite expensive to deal with. You can read our previous blog to learn more about on-grid and off-grid systems.

When your house or business is net-metered, then the extra electricity will be transferred to the grid.

Thus, a net meter is used to measure the total usage. 

What is a Net Meter?

A net meter is a bi-directional meter, having one way to measure power purchased and the other way to measure power returned to the grid.

And you pay for the net usage.

Net Meter
Net Meter

That is,

Net usage = Total electricity generated  Total electricity supplied 

How can you earn from it?

When your total electricity generation is greater than the electricity you consume. Then, you can earn by transferring that electricity to the grid.

Net-Metering

The amount you receive will depend on the city and country you are living in.

Benefits

1. Energy Independence

Being independent of energy is one of the most beneficial features of solar energy.

Using net-metering, you can generate your own energy at any time of the day.

When you net-metered your home or business along with a battery backup, it will give you a complete energy dependence.

While in case you are storing energy directly to the grid. 

You can face problems during complete power cut times.

2. Low Maintenance

According to Wikipedia,

A 2012 report on the cost of net metering in the State of California, commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), showed that those customers without distributed generation systems will pay US$287 in additional costs to use and maintain the grid every year by 2020.

The report also showed the net cost will amount to US$1.1 billion by 2020. Notably, the same report found that solar customers do pay more on their power bills than what it costs the utility to serve them.

Off-Grid systems with batteries installed need more maintenance. Also, the maintenance cost is high for these systems.

While using net-metering, you can use the grid as storage.

3. Remove pressure from the grid

Net-Metering allows utilities to better manage their peak electricity loads. Also, using net-metering minimizes energy loss from sending voltage many miles from the nearest power plant.

4. No need for a battery backup

Batteries are used to store solar energy in the form of electricity. The most commonly used batteries are:

  • Lithium-Ion Batteries 
  • Lead Acid batteries
Lithium ion & Lead acid battery
Image Source: Cleanenergyreviews 

You can read more about the types of battery storage available.

There is no such need for battery backup in net metering. 

You can save a lot by saying no to batteries in your solar installation.

Challenges 

1. Non-Availability in some areas

Net-metering was born in Minnesota in the United States in1983 and it was developed in the 2000s.

It is now developed in most countries while in some countries like Benin, Burkina Faso net-metering is still not allowed.

You should first check if it is available in your area or not before installation.

2. Fluctuation in voltage

There can be fluctuation or an imbalance in the voltage.

A drastic change in the power generation can lead to rapid voltage fluctuations that can cause overheating of the power lines.

Inverters are used to maintain the voltage.

Voltage fluctuations can also take place due to the improper functioning of the inverter.

Also, a solar panel voltage regulator is used to regulate or control the voltage coming from the solar panel to the batteries and electronics associated. 

3. Problems during power outrages at night

Unfortunately, there are still areas where people suffer from frequent power outages. 

Thus, it can become an issue if you have no battery backup for emergency time.

To solve this issue, hybrid solar technology is used.

In a hybrid system, both battery and grid are connected to the inverter. It works out as a combination of both on-grid & off-grid systems.

Hybrid Solar Power Systems
Hybrid Solar Power Systems

We have already discussed the working and installation of the hybrid solar power system along with its pros and cons.

Final Words

Using Net-Metering, you can not only save on utility bills but can also make money according to the electricity generation.

Net-Metering offers real value for excess energy without any additional installation of an expensive storage system.

I have tried my best to cover each essential detail about net-metering. Still, if you have any query you can post it in the comment section below.

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Keerti Bhatnagar

Keerti is a tech geek with a vision to save the environment. She is from Uttarakhand, India. And, She is currently pursuing her MCA from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar.

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