Net Metering is a system that allows you to send the excess electricity your system produces back to the electricity grid and receive credits that can then be applied to your utility bill. Without net metering, a homeowner must pay for the electricity they use at night, when the cloud coverage is too dense, or when snow is covering their panels. With net metering, a system can be installed that can cover the entirety of a home’s electrical needs because the system does not need to be producing the exact home usage in real time 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Of course, that kind of real time production would be impossible due to weather and daylight hours.
How do you collect credits?
When you install solar on your home, your panels produce DC (direct current) power, which is sent through an electrical converter called an inverter. An inverter converts the DC power to AC (alternating current) power that can be used by your house. Your house uses the AC power and any excess power is sent out to the grid to power other neighboring homes.
As the excess power leaves your home, your power meter credits you for this power by spinning backwards instead of forwards. These credits are then applied in full retail value as you draw from the grid at night, or in the winter months, when your panels are not producing enough to cover your usage.
How is net metering measured?
Net metering is measured over a year. If you have a system that is designed to produce 100% or more of your annual usage, your installer sizes the system to produce an excess in the sunnier months to create a supply of credits to be used in the winter months. If you produce more than your usage during a month, your utility bill will show your credits that roll forward to the next month.
If your system produces less than your usage during a month, you pay the difference (after credits are applied) to the utility. At the end of a year, if you have produced more power than you have used, your utility will convert the credits into a refund check at the wholesale rate (which is much lower in value than the retail rate). This is called the Anniversary Month. You may change your Anniversary Month one time with the utility. It makes sense to have your Anniversary Month in the spring because you start collecting credits in the sunnier spring and summer months that can then be applied through the fall and winter. It is more valuable to use your credits for electricity (retail value) than to be refunded for them at the end of the year (wholesale value).
Your electricity bill will never be $0 because you must continue to pay a monthly connection fee to the utility in order to remain connected to the grid. This fee is under $25 and supports the utility infrastructure in your community, which you use for net metering, sending electricity out to the grid and pulling electricity from the grid.
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Great customer service. Total clarity on what we were getting into. Although it was a difficult winter, the installation proceeded well. Installer team was great. All the paperwork was clear and complete. We would recommend Lighthouse without qualification. Larry L
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We couldn't be happier with our experience with Lighthouse Solar. They provided expert advice on our system design and sizing, and clearly explained the rebates, tax credits, and financing options. The installers were quick, professional and cleaned up so well when they left you would have hardly known they were there. Lighthouse handled all the paperwork for the permits and inspections. And I love the Lightgauge real-time monitoring website that lets us track both our solar production and power usage. Its nice to know that, in just under one month, we've "socked away" over 400 kWh to help carry us through the winter. Bridget B.
Our experience with the staff of Lighthouse Solar has met or exceeded our expectations in every way. From the initial system design through the final electrical permits everything went without a "hitch" You also have to appreciate their lifetime warranty on their workmanship etc.. Dave G