How Solar Energy Metering Works
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
How Solar Energy Metering Works
The emergence of renewable sources of energy is slowly making an impact on the energy production landscape. The awareness of the importance of energy-saving and the growing government policies towards promoting alternative sources of energy is gradually changing the energy market. As part of this, incentives are given to consumers who opt to use solar or wind power as augmentation for their energy needs. This incentive is called Net Energy Metering or NEM.
What is solar net energy metering?
Net energy metering is the incentive provided by energy companies for consumers that use alternative sources of energy, particularly those using solar panels in their homes. In many countries, including the United States, these incentives are given to homeowners who are opting to go solar. The net energy metering incentive is the credits given to homeowners who set up a solar energy system and produce more than enough energy to cover their needs.
When the energy produced by a solar energy system in a house is more than the home needs, the net energy metering system kicks in. A homeowner will be able to put excess electricity back into the grid and thus contribute to the energy generation. Credits are then calculated for the energy put back, and the homeowner can use that energy during days of limited solar use like in winter or at night.
How is solar usage monitored?
When a household uses a solar energy system, it can generate enough energy to cover the house’s energy needs. If this happens, a homeowner can opt to increase the number of batteries to store the excess energy or send the excess energy back into the grid. The effect of this is the electric meter will run backward, and the homeowner gets credits for using solar. It is beneficial both for the homeowner and the utility company as it lessens the cost of transmission.
In order to monitor the energy going back into the grid, power companies offer a net metering program to monitor the energy produced by a solar-powered home and how much electricity is put back into the system. An efficient solar panel rig that generates excess energy will result in lowered electric bills. Net energy metering is an incentive for homeowners to continue their use of sustainable energy and promote it to others as well.
Benefits of solar net energy metering
Aside from the common ecological benefits of using solar power, there are many benefits a regular homeowner can enjoy when using solar coupled with net metering.
1. Enjoying the best of both
Solar net energy metering is an option for homeowners to enjoy the best of both energy sources. At the moment, energy from fossil fuels is the most conveniently produced. However, it contributes to the pollution in the atmosphere.
It is possible to live off the grid by stacking up batteries to store excess energy produced. However, this may become impractical during winter when sunlight is not adequate. It is much more efficient to remain connected with the grid and make use of both power sources.
2. Ease electric bills considerably.
Though the initial installation fee maybe a bit expensive, the cumulative savings is worth the investment. Homeowners with solar panels able to sustain their daily energy consumption get the most out of it. Using solar energy can dramatically reduce energy consumption from electric companies.
3. Help in producing energy for consumption
A homeowner with a sizable solar panel system can produce enough energy to power not only their home but also a few of their neighbours. It is possible that if a neighbourhood has enough houses with solar panels, it can become self-reliant and contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels.
4. Help homeowners become conscious of their energy consumption.
Net energy metering can help homeowners consciously monitor their power production and consumption. It helps people make decisions on how they use electricity throughout the day. Businesses can also benefit from net energy monitoring as it can help reduce costs.
5. Become an active participant in an environmental effort
Solar net metering helps homeowners and businesses adopt an environmental-friendly source of energy. Fossil fuels have long been the primary source of energy in many countries today. The pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is making an impact on the environment. Humanity needs to start shifting to sustainable and renewable sources of energy to save the environment. Solar net metering is a simple incentive to promote the use of renewable energy sources. It is currently available in almost all states in America and Europe and some countries in Asia.
History of solar energy
Ever since the dawn of humanity, the sun has been vital for the emergence of civilizations and the survival of humankind. However, it was only late in the 20th century that scientists discovered a method of harnessing the electromagnetic radiation from the sun and turning it into usable energy. Solar panels were invented by a group of scientists at Bell Labs in 1954. They developed a silicon-based photovoltaic panel which is what we know today as solar panels. Further developments and improvements fine-tuned this technology, making it currently possible to extract more usable
energy from sunlight. Today, in places where sunshine is abundant, solar power is a viable source of sustainable energy.
Future of Solar energy
Despite some energy companies frowning on solar net energy metering as it can reduce their profit in the energy business, many places are opting to legislate for the use of renewable sources of energy. With further development in solar power technology and improvements in the efficiency of solar panels, solar power may become one of the major sources of power. Through solar net metering, consumers today can join the movement towards the use of sustainable energy without a drastic shift away from fossil fuels. Solar power is among the most abundant sources of energy and efficiently harnessing its potential is entirely beneficial for all of humanity.