What is net metering, and how does it work?
Net metering is a commonly used term in the solar industry.
As defined by the Solar Energy Industries Association, “Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.”
The surplus of electricity that is sent back to the grid is then used by the utility to power their other customers’ homes or businesses. This net metering system helps incentivize people to go solar, as it significantly reduce their power costs.
Net metering in Montana
Net metering policies vary from state to state, depending on local legislature. Here are a few quick stats on net meters in Montana, compiled by the Montana Renewable Energy Association.
- 1,567 Number of net metering systems
- 6.6 MW Total generating capacity of net metering systems
- 15 Montana utilities with net metering customers
- 88% Net metering systems using solar power
It’s been a long time concern that net meter customers in Montana might be subject to the abolishment of net metering. However, it was recently decided that any customer in Montana who is already net-metered will be grandfathered from any future changes.
The future of net metering will always be a talking point. The sooner you go solar, the sooner you’ll be protected from any future changes in the legislation.