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Everything you need to know about Net Metering

Ensure you are making the most of the power you produce and reduce your monthly bill

What is gross metering?

Australia has changed from Gross Metering to Net Metering in our home solar power system’s electrical service. Home solar systems that have been set up with a Gross Metering system send all the solar power they generate to the grid, without first using it within the home. You then pay for all of the energy that is used but receive a payment for what you sent to the grid.

This payment is called a feed-in tariff, and the rate that government issues as a payment has changed over the years. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) sets the rate every financial year. For 2021/22, it is 4.6 to 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the retailer. However, the most economically advantageous way to use your solar system is to take advantage of Net Metering.

What is Net Metering?

Net Metering was introduced as a way to try to make renewable energy more economical and make solar power more accessible to homes. Net Metering solar systems use the electricity they generate first, before sending the excess to the grid. You will still receive the feed in tariff price for this excess energy, with a reduced bill when you aren’t paying for all the energy used in the household.

A Net Meter records how much solar power your system is making, as well as any electricity you may need to take from the grid. When you are using a Net Metering solar system, and you generate more power than you use, your electricity bill will be in credit, which is a nice position to be in!

However, if the house uses more electricity than the solar system has generated, then that extra required power is drawn from the grid. The owner only pays the net amount (the amount of total power used, less the amount of power generated by your solar system), which is where the name comes from.

Can I get Net Metering activated on an old solar system?

Real Electrical Solutions have a highly skilled team of technicians with experience in the installation of many types of solar metering systems produced by the leading manufacturers. Even older solar systems will have a measure that monitors the household energy consumption and production.

Most solar meters rely on cellular technology to send data from your installation to a monitoring system. Many of these meters were installed when 2G and 3G were the standard, meaning that meters installed only a matter of years ago are becoming out-dated, and need to be upgraded to remain effective. Here’s the good news: Yes, your older system can be upgraded so you can utilise the benefits of a Net Metering system.

How can I take advantage of Net Metering?

Solar panels are far more accessible to everyday business owners and families than they used to be. An analysis by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 2020 found that solar panel installations were up nearly 30% from the previous year. That is an enormous increase over a 12-month period. Solar panels may help homeowners to reduce not only their electricity bills, but to reduce their carbon footprint.

To take advantage of Net Metering, you will need to have a metering system installed that is capable of measuring the amount of power being generated, and how much electricity is being pulled from the utilities grid. This is one of the best ways to set up an economically sound solar system.

Real Electrical Solutions, based in Newcastle, NSW, can give you details about energy plans and system upgrade options available to you. With a digital Net Metering system installed, you may start to take full advantage of your solar generation straight away.

What types of metering systems are best suited to Net Metering?

'Type 4' meters are an advanced solar power monitoring system called ‘smart meters’ - a digital device that measures the amount of solar power you have generated, how much you use, and what power is being drawn from the grid. Having a smart meter installed has many advantages:

  • Measurement of volume and timing of electricity use - helps you understand and adjust your usage.

  • Option for solar battery energy storage.

  • Remotely readable – no need for a meter reader to visit.

  • Remote electricity supply control – no need for a technician to be physically present

  • Measurement of power quality at your home.

  • Ability to notify your energy provider in a power outage.

Who can Install a Net Metering system?

Electrical providers only authorise ASP level 2 electricians to carry out work on metering equipment, because disconnecting and reconnecting power supplies is a high-risk task, which includes installation of electrical meters, removal of existing metering equipment and upgrades to existing metering systems. The level 2 electrician will come prepared with all the necessary safety equipment, be up to date and adhere to local regulations and the latest industry codes.

How to get your own Net Metering system

Real Electrical Solutions is an accredited Level 2 Authorised Service Provider. You can count on our experts install a Net Metering system to help you to move away from relying on power from your energy provider. We service home, commercial spaces and businesses in Newcastle, Maitland and the Hunter Valley.

If you need a Level 2 electrician to carry out metering services, call us on 0403306842, email us click here to send us an online message and we will contact you back as soon as possible.

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