Net-Metering refers to a set of state rules that regulate how individuals can connect their distributed power systems (solar, wind, etc) to the electricity grid, and likewise how utilities are required to deal with these customers. Net-metering allows you to produce more power than you need at a given moment and send the excess back to the grid. Your utility meter will “spin” backwards, and the utility will credit your account for this production. In this way, your solar power system is able to produce excess power in the summer or in sunny weather that you can then use at night, on a cloudy day or in the winter when you system is less productive. The utility effectively acts as a bank for the power credits you produce. These credits remain usable for 12 months, allowing you to purchase a net-metered PV system that will produce power to cover your annual electricity costs.
Other Key Net-Metering Details
Solar Adder – In Vermont, utilities are now required to value all solar power you produce at $0.20 / kWh (15kW systems and under) and $0.19 / kWh (over 15kW) . Currently most residential utility rates in the state are around $0.15 / kWh. The difference in these rates becomes a bonus credit to your account, which means that you can purchase a marginally smaller PV system to obtain the full credit necessary to get to net-zero. Catamount Solar will take this “Solar Adder” into account when sizing your system to meet your electric load.
Group Net-Metering – Group net-metering allows holders of electricity accounts within the same utility district to share the credits of a single renewable energy system. This capability is very handy for a neighborhood group that may want to jointly invest in solar power, where only one property has suitably sunny acreage. In this case, the PV system could be built at one property while the energy benefit from electricity credits are shared among the members of the group. Similarly a farmer may have multiple electric accounts and meters at the farm. The PV system could be installed at the barn, but the credits could be shared with the home’s electrical service.
If you have questions about net-metering and how it might work for your situation, please contact Catamount Solar.