In sunny peak months in Ohio, solar systems often produce more energy than a home can consume. Have you ever wondered what happens to this excess electricity? Or how you, the homeowner, benefit from the extra energy your solar energy system produces? In Ohio, Net-Metering is the process that accounts for this difference in production & use.
Net-metering allows you to store the energy you produce in the electric grid, in the form of credits. When you produce more energy than you need, excess electricity travels back into the power grid. Energy sent back into the grid goes to power your neighbors’ homes. The State of Ohio requires that the utility company credit you for the energy you produced and send along. These credits appear on your monthly electric bill to help you keep track.
During sunny summer months, when your solar system is producing more than the energy you are using, you bank up credits. During the winter months, your home uses more energy than your solar system produces, and you use up the credits you’ve earned.
You will be charged for the energy you take use from the traditional electric grid (when your solar panels aren’t producing). You can pay for that extra energy using the credits you accrue during times your solar system is producing more energy than you are using.
Know that net-metering rules change from state to state. This description of net-metering applies to the net-metering rules in the state of Ohio. Some states may be similar, but we always recommend finding local information because solar rules and regulations vary so widely.
Why is net metering important?
Net metering increases the economic benefit of solar power by crediting you for the power your solar energy system produces. The amount of energy you produce and use will vary over the course of the year. Net metering helps you account for this difference by crediting you for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use it later.
Your utility benefits from net metering because electricity is generated so close to where it is consumed. This diminishes the amount of electricity lost when power is transmitted across miles of wires. Additionally, it helps reduce strain on the grid during peak demand times: like on hot, sunny days.
Will I receive payment for the excess energy I produce?
You’ll get credits to be used on an annual basis to offset the cost of electricity that you take from the grid during times when your solar system is not producing energy. These credits rollover from month to month. A surprise to some: you will not receive a check from your utility for the excess energy you put back into the grid.
At what rate do utility companies credit me for my usage?
Electric companies credit you at a net excess generation rate. The State of Ohio’s net metering policy does not require utilities to credit energy you produce at the full retail rate.
This rate depends on your electric company. Your experienced Solar Consultant can help you understand what your utility’s net excess generation rate is.
Can my energy bill be $0?
In many cases, yes!
Some utility companies have a single fixed cost, or customer charge, that all customers are required to pay each month. However, in many cases, you can use credits to pay down the fixed monthly costs. We often see $0 electric bills sent to us by our customers!
How much energy from my electric company will I purchase annually, when I have a solar system?
We don’t design all solar systems to meet 100% of a home’s electric usage over the course of the year. Why? This depends on many factors, but primarily the amount of space a home has for solar panels. Your solar consultant will work with you to design a solar system that makes sense for your home’s annual electricity usage.