Net metering is a powerful motivation for many solar adopters. The prospect of offsetting your energy costs by selling extra solar power back to the grid, especially when you consider today’s ever-rising electricity bills, can be reason enough to consider installing a home PV system.
Unfortunately, net energy metering (NEM) is not offered everywhere. Policies governing the practice have been under attack across the country, and many states are allowing utility companies to change or eliminate this financial incentive.
Today, the future of net metering is uncertain.
How Net Metering Works
Net energy metering rules compel the utility company to give you credit when your home PV system sends solar electricity to the grid.
Some states — including Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — have retail rate NEM policies. Homeowners in these states are credited on a one-to-one basis, getting paid for their excess solar power at a rate equal to what they pay for utility grid electricity. Some policies, however, have expiration dates or credit reductions at the end of the year.
In other parts of the country, net energy metering policies allow utility companies to pay homeowners a reduced wholesale rate. And in some states (like Idaho) the utilities offer a similar financial incentive for a solar installation, but NEM isn’t mandated by law there.
How Net Metering Is Changing
As we’ve seen recently in Nevada, NEM policies are never set in stone. At the end of 2015, Nevada made drastic cuts to compensation for home PV system owners. Then, this past June, net metering rates were restored close to the retail level.
Nevada isn’t the only state where NEM is under debate. According to the latest 50 States of Solar report from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, 21 states took actions related to net energy metering in the first quarter of 2017.
It appears that even more regulatory changes are on the horizon. As of mid-April 2017, at least 65 bills related to NEM policies have been introduced in state legislatures.
Can Your Solar Energy System Reach Payback without Net Metering?
Fortunately, solar adopters don’t need a NEM program to save money. Even if you live in a state that eliminates or reduces the rate for net energy metering, most PV solar energy systems will reach the point of payback in a reasonable amount of time.
Certainly NEM allows for a faster payback, but your investment in solar power will definitely pay off without it.
With a solar installation sized to meet your household energy needs, you won’t need much utility grid electricity. So the money you save each month with electricity from your home PV system will add up quickly. Many homeowners save well over $1,000 per year or more.
Intermountain Wind & Solar, the region’s leading photovoltaic contractor, can design a cost-effective home PV system that meets your money-saving goals, regardless of your state’s net metering policy. If you live in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming or Nevada, contact us today to schedule a free home solar installation consultation.