Did you know about Net Metering?

Net Metering Concept

Net metering is a mechanism which allows domestic or commercial users who generate their own electricity using solar panels or photovoltaic systems to export their surplus energy back to the grid.

An off-grid system is generally a stand-alone system, while an on-grid system is connected to the main utility grid and incorporates the policy of net metering. The process of net metering provides system owners with the opportunity to gain extra revenue by selling their excess power to the grid while also making up for shortfalls via the grid. If the amount of energy generated is more than the amount of energy consumed, then the owner gets compensated for the excess amount. However, if the amount of energy consumed is more than the amount of energy generated, then it is imported from the utility grid and the owner pays only the net amount.

In India, net metering was introduced as an initiative to make renewable energy more economical and accessible with the regulations differing on a state to state basis.

How does the billing work?

In net metering, the owner is billed for the “net” energy that is used, which is the difference between total energy produced by the system and total energy consumed.

Net metering accounts the difference of excess power exported back to the grid and total power consumed by the owner. Hence, surplus energy earns revenue while the shortage of energy is covered by the grid.

Each state can have different regulations for the type of net meter used to record the power. Some states require only one meter to measure the net amount of power consumed by the owner. Whereas, other states require two meters to record the total amount of units consumed by the owner from the grid along with the total amount of power generated by the owner’s system.

What are the advantages of net metering?

Extra financial credit

If the amount of energy generated by the owner’s system is more than the amount of energy consumed, then the owner will receive extra credits and revenue.

Eliminates the need for battery storage and backup generator

Unlike off-grid PV systems, owners don’t require battery storage systems while using net metering since the extra power is stored by the utility grid itself. It also eliminates the need for exorbitant generators since the electricity grid also acts as a backup generator.

Inexpensive and low maintenance

Since solar panels themselves are low maintenance, the main parts of a PV system that require maintenance would be the battery and generator. However, through net metering, you can eliminate these components and further decrease the maintenance requirements.

News: The Ministry of Power has issued a draft amendment to Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, which allows net metering for rooftop solar systems of loads up to 500 kW or up to the sanctioned load, whichever is lower and net billing (gross metering) or net feed-in for above 500 kW.