There are myths out there that insist your neighbors’ solar power system could be costing you money. Most pin this on the increased cost of power. However, studies have proven that this is not the case. In the literal sense, the solar panels in your neighbor’s rooftop could be saving you cash on top of other benefits.
Many people are aware of the advantages of solar energy, with the primary benefit being a reduction in the cost of power. As it stands, some power consumers who own solar power systems pay nothing at the end of the month via a mechanism known as net metering. Moreover, net metering also helps the neighbors. This is true even for neighbors who depend on the grid.
In this article, we inform you how net metering benefits everyone in the community.
What is Solar Net Metering?
The electricity generated during the day when solar panels are most productive may not be used entirely. Essentially, a lot of power may go to waste without solar metering.
Solar net metering is a billing mechanism that lets owners of solar power systems sell their excess electricity to utility companies.
When your solar panels output more power than required in the building, the surplus power is fed back to the grid. The power exported back to the grid earns you credit. The utility company may pay you back by enforcing credit to your electricity bill for every kilowatt-hour. This credit can be used later to offset any power you may consume from the utility company.
In some instances, solar panel users overproduce power during summer. In the USA, this is typically between April and September. There is direct sunlight during these months, which helps solar power systems achieve this. However, during winter, there is little direct sunshine. This results in less electricity generated. In this case, the credits you earn during the months when you produce surplus electricity are now used to offset your monthly bills.
The meter spins backward when power is fed to the utility company’s grid. This is how credit is measured for the power passed on to the grid.
The government and utility companies are trying to support ways of generating renewable energy among the population. For solar net metering, some owners of solar power systems end up paying nothing at the end of the month. It is due to a wide range of financial incentives and other programs.
Solar net metering policies vary across different states. A state like Massachusetts offers decent credit on surplus power produced by homeowners. The credit you receive here is almost equal to the cost of power by the utility companies.
What of power consumers whose solar power systems do not meet their demands? These customers have to supplement the power deficit with power from the grid. Depending on the use, the customer will receive a power bill at the end of the month. This is still a form of net metering.
Three ways Solar Net Metering from a Solar-Powered Home Benefits Everyone in the Community
Apart from the benefits solar power owners enjoy, the neighboring community also gets to experience some advantages. We cover three main advantages of net metering, which we consider crucial.
Economical for the entire neighborhood
Once exported to the grid, excess power produced by solar power systems is used to handle the local customer’s electricity load. This fact is especially advantageous to larger consumers because they stand to benefit from the reduced monthly bill. The distance for transmission and distribution of this power is shorter, therefore, avoiding power loss. Overall, this power becomes cheaper as compared to the power from the utility companies.
Strengthens the Power Grid
Solar net metering reduces the stress on the electricity grid. Currently, the grid infrastructure is experiencing stress due to old age and increased users.
Old age and an increase in power consumption mean frequent power outages and time for maintenance or repairs. On average, every person in the USA losses at least 3.5 hours of electricity annually.
Solar energy produced locally helps alleviate this stress on the power grid. It means that the electricity produced by solar panels in the neighborhood gets to be used locally. Therefore, the transmission and distribution of this power is manageable because it travels a shorter distance.
Our power grid faces a myriad of challenges, including age, risk of stronger weather phenomenon due to climate change, and cyberattacks. Stronger storms and hotter summers are now commonplace. Hotter summers demand more power because people want to cool themselves off. The strained power grid requires billions to upgrade.
Distributed solar power systems that are connected to the grid expand our power supply options. Even if our power grid is affected by weather or an attack, the entire system is unlikely to be overwhelmed. This makes the power system safer and saves money for the taxpayers.
Benefits to Neighbors of Solar-Powered Homes other than Net Metering.
Premises that generate and run-on solar power do not generate toxic emissions into the environment. Other “dirty” sources like gas and oil produce toxic pollutants, which eventually result in health issues. Solar-powered homes help reduce pollutants in our communities which results in reduced cases of health issues. A reduction in health issues results in a decrease in the cost of healthcare.
Additionally, buildings that depend on solar power assist in reducing the grid-supplied electricity to the neighborhood. This means a reduction in power generated through gas, oil, and coal. Solar power helps in the diversification of our energy supply. This ensures that the power we use is stable and reliable. The price of electricity also remains constant and affordable.
More so, due to reduced pollution from standby energy sources that kick in during peak demand, communities experience fresher air and cleaner water.
The solar power industry creates jobs for the local community. More people are adopting solar power due to a reduction in the price of solar panels. There is an expert installer for every solar power system installed in the neighborhood. This creates hundreds of opportunities. Consequently, as the industry continues to grow, we expect more jobs to be created.
In conclusion, net metering results in savings for both solar panel owners as well as the community. It can help the owner eliminate the monthly utility bills. Net metering also ensures a faster return on investment. Local communities also benefit greatly. This is true for the power infrastructure as well. Therefore, we recommend that you read policies on net metering in your state. If you plan on installing solar panels on your premises, ensure to incorporate net metering.