Net metering is an electric billing tool that uses the electric grid to store excess energy produced by your solar panel system. Under net metering, energy your solar panels produce that you don’t use is credited back to you. On a cloudy or rainy day when your panels aren’t producing enough energy, the utility grid will feed your home energy, and count that energy against the credits you’ve banked over time. As a solar customer, you will only be billed for your “net” energy usage. Also known as Net Energy Metering (NEM), net metering is the solar industry’s foundational policy.
Will I Get Paid?
With net metering, you can receive utility bill credits for the electricity that your solar panels produce. However, in most cases, you won’t receive a cash payment from your utility for your excess solar electricity. If you do generate more electricity than you use in a year, utilities in some states will let you carry credits over into future years, while others will reduce your credits. With that in mind, it’s important to size your solar panel system to be large enough to offset as close to 100 percent of your electricity needs as possible, but not to produce significantly more than you use.