Net Metering: What Is It and Why Is It Important to Solar Energy Users?

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If you are researching solar panel systems, then you’ve likely seen the term “net metering.” At Renewable Energy Design Group (RED Group), our goal is always to fully educate our potential clients on all aspects of solar energy. Our latest blog covers everything from what net metering is, to reading your Duke Energy bill (an important component of net metering), and even what may be in store for the future of net metering in North Carolina. 

Still have questions on net metering or ready to get a free solar energy consultation? We are happy to help with either of those. Simply call us at 877-432-0857 or fill out our contact form.

What is Net Metering? 

Before diving into the world of solar energy, it is crucial to understand all aspects of what it entails. One of those aspects is net metering. You might ask, what is net metering?

Simply put, net metering is a policy that determines how solar energy users receive credit for extra energy they produce. 

To describe it more fully, as the solar photovoltaic (PV) system produces electricity, the kilowatts are first used to meet customers’ own demand. If the PV system produces more electricity than the customer needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid and credited to the customer at their full retail value.

How Does Net Metering Work? 

In “net metered” systems, the meter “runs forward” when the home or business is using more power than is generated by the solar panels. It “runs backwards” when the solar panels are generating more power than is being consumed on-site. The system owner receives a credit from the utility for the value of the excess electricity sent to the grid. In other words, the solar system owner is charged only for the “net” electricity consumed.

Where Does Net Metering Show on my Duke Energy Bill?

First, it’s important to know how Duke Energy determines your Net Metering (NM). NM is the difference between the number of kilowatt-hours your PV system produces and the amount of electricity your home uses from the power grid. 

On your Duke Energy bill, under the ‘Your Usage Snapshot – continued’ section, you’ll see a breakout of energy used and energy delivered to the grid. This is the net section. It shows how many kilowatt-hours were delivered back to the grid. This is the clean energy that you will be credited back for. 

How Do I Get the Credits Back for Net Metering?

At RED Group, we take care of customers’ interconnections with utilities, including Duke’s Net Metering Rider application. Once enrolled, a bidirectional meter is installed and “excess energy” credits roll over to your next month’s bill. Monthly, “excess energy” is paid out at the current kilowatt-hour rate. Every May, Duke resets customers’ energy credits to zero. RED Group sizes systems to maximize the credits used in their homes and businesses. 

What Does the Future Hold for Net Metering? 

Like any technology or policies, net metering always has the potential to change. This podcast, The Squeaky Clean Energy, presented by North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) provides some updates and potential direction for net metering policies. 

Ready to Invest in Clean Energy for Your Future and to Save Money Long-Term? 

If you still have more questions on net metering, here is a video we put together on the topic. RED Group is here for you from answering any questions to installing your very own clean energy solar system. Call us today at 877-432-0857 to talk with one of our experienced and capable team members about your unique solar needs. 

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