Solar power is the latest buzzword for balancing convenience with sustainability. It’s the best way to have all the conveniences of modern electricity without contributing to global pollution levels. Everyone knows that when you make your home energy sustainable with solar panels, you save on your monthly electricity bills. But, did you know that using solar power can actually help you make your bills payable come to zero even for months when you do use power from the main power grid? This is the beauty of solar net meters or metering.
What is solar net metering?
Simply put this refers to a billing mechanism wherein the electricity generated is shared with the main power grid. This is then distributed to other houses in the neighborhood. In exchange, the system generates credits in your account. During the months when you cannot generate enough power through your own solar panels, you may take power from the main power grid but there will be no bill generated since you already have a certain amount credited in your account.
How does it work?
Solar panels produce maximum electricity in the afternoon when the sun is directly overhead. However, this is the time of the day when your electricity requirements are minimal. Thus, almost always, the amount of electricity generated is higher than the amount consumed. This excess electricity is sent to the main power grid and your meter runs backwards. At night, the house pulls electricity from the main power grid and the meter runs as usual. At the end of each month you will be billed according to the ‘net’ electricity consumed.
Benefits of net metering
Net metering doesn’t just help you save money, it has a beneficial effect on the environment as well. The power you send to the main power grid is shared with your neighbors. Thus, they get clean electricity too. What’s more, the electricity has to travel shorter distances and hence there minimizes energy loss and reduces the strain on the grid infrastructure.
Net metering also takes care of seasonal differences in electricity generation and consumption. For example, the panels may not be able to generate enough electricity during the monsoons and winters. But, in the summer, you will be able o collect enough credit so that it can balance out your electricity requirements during the monsoon and winter months.
Net metering vs Going Off the Grid
The comparison between Net metering and Going Off the Grid is a common one. Going of the grid means that your solar panels will be connected to a battery. Any excess electricity generated will be stored in this battery. At night, the inverter will pull power from this battery to run your appliances. While connecting the panels to a battery is enough to make up for the daily differences in power it does not account for seasonal differences.
Solar net metering is thus the best way to maximize the benefits of installing solar panels and a solar inverter. This does not require any additional cost on your behalf. What’s better, you get points for good karma too.